By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) – Alexander Zverev drew no positives from his semi-final defeat by Stefanos Tsitsipas at the French Open on Friday after the Greek ended the German’s perfect record in five-set matches at Roland Garros.
After a poor start, sixth seed Zverev fought back to force a decider, where the odds were in his favour, the German having not lost in five previous matches that went the distance in Paris.
But he never recovered from an early break and missed out on an opportunity to reach his second Grand Slam final, after he finished runner-up in the 2020 U.S. Open, in his third semi-final appearance at a major.
With 13-time champion Rafa Nadal and world number one Novak Djokovic on the other side of the draw, Zverev had a unique opportunity to book a place in Sunday’s showdown on court Philippe Chatrier, and the German was accordingly disappointed.
While the match was a thrilling encounter, Zverev could not care less after his 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-3 loss.
“I’m not at a stage anymore where great matches are something that I’m satisfied with,” he told a news conference.
“Today nothing. I lost. I’m not in the final. Was it a good match? Yeah. But at the end of the day I’m going to fly home tomorrow. There’s nothing positive about that.”
Zverev, who has already set his sights towards Wimbledon, said his views on losing were not meant to be arrogant.
“Might sound bad in a way or might sound, I don’t know, arrogant. I’m not trying to be arrogant. I’m just saying it how it is,” he explained.
“I wouldn’t have cared about a final either, to be honest. I didn’t win the tournament. Wimbledon is in two weeks’ time and I’m looking forward to that.”
Zverev was left wondering why he has been struggling to get into his matches, after having to fight back from two sets down in the opening round here and losing the first two against Dominic Thiem in the U.S. Open final before bowing out in five.
“I started to play proper tennis in the third set. Against someone like Stefanos, it might be too late,” he said.
“Today if I break him the first game of the fifth set, maybe the outcome would be different. I didn’t. But still, I mean, I can’t go down two sets to love against a top player like Stefanos and expect to win every single time.
“I’ve done it at the U.S. Open. I’ve done it before. But the most important thing to come out of this match are the first two sets. I’ve got to play better in those.”
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)