Roland Garros

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Paris, France

Alexander Zverev

Press Conference

A. ZVEREV/A. Davidovich Fokina

6-4, 6-1, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You said I think in Australia you thought you played better there when you had that great fight with Novak, better than you played at the US Open in the final. How would you evaluate your play so far during this week? What are your expectations moving forward?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Good. Look, I mean, I'm in the semifinals of a Grand Slam and I played solid so far. I know that the matches before the semifinals on are not going to get easier. I think the opponents there are extremely difficult to beat, so I got to play the same or raise my level even higher to have a chance.

But I'm comfortable. I'm happy. We'll see how it is on Friday. But for now, it's great to be here.

Q. The past couple of years you've been quite consistent at the slams. What have you taken from those experiences in the big tournaments? Have you learned anything in particular?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I mean, I think, look, it's fairly obvious that all tennis players are playing tennis for the slams. Obviously the Grand Slams are the tournaments that we want to win the most. Before, maybe the last few years, I was putting too much pressure on myself. Also obviously in the media I was seen, before Medvedev and Tsitsipas arrived, I was seen as this guy that was going to all of a sudden take over the tennis world. I was putting pressure on myself as well. I was not very patient with myself, which I feel like now maybe I learned how to deal with the situation a little bit better, I'm maybe a little bit calmer at the tournaments.

But the end goal hasn't changed.

Q. What has it been like to play this Grand Slam with Novak and Rafa on the other side of the draw? Does it allow you to relax any, knowing that you won't play either of them until the finals? How does it change your psychology?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I mean, they're in the same part of the draw because they're No. 1 and No. 3 in the world. No. 2 is Medvedev right now. You also have to respect that.

Of course, on clay, even though he's playing here incredible, playing a 13-time champion in Rafa Nadal is always very difficult. At the end of the day anyone who is going to be in the semifinals deserves to be there. That's because they're playing great tennis.

Yeah, I mean, I don't know how to answer that. Yeah, it's nice that I didn't play Rafa or Novak in the quarterfinals. I think playing Rafa here in the finals, for example, is even worse. It's even more difficult. But I also got to get there first.

Q. When you were talking about putting pressure on yourself at the majors, how did that manifest? What was happening? What were you feeling? Was it feeling like a ton of bricks that you had to perform, the attention was on you?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Look, I mean, for a long period of time I was winning Masters Series, the World Tour Finals, but I couldn't get quite deep in Grand Slams. Yes, I was putting bricks on myself. In a way I was not performing to the level that I was in other tournaments. I was not playing the same level. I was very unpatient with myself.

In the Grand Slams, they're still a different animal. Two-week-long tournament, you play every other day, you play five sets. It's very different. You got to learn how to play them, as well. Very rarely does anybody come in and all of a sudden perform his best at Grand Slams. Yes, we've seen Rafa do it, but Rafa is sometimes not human what he's achieved.

I think for young guys it is a learning curve. I think, yeah, hopefully I can say that slowly but surely I'm starting to get the hang of it.

Q. You've made it to the semis pretty smoothly, winning five matches. Your last opponent is ranked 46. How do you get a read of your quality of tennis around those matchups? Does it even matter that you haven't played an opponent ranked 13 or...

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Ranking says one thing, but they're also there for a reason, right? I think Nishikori, for example, if he's not injured, over the last few years he was a solid top-10 player. I think I performed well.

Yes, you can look at statistics, you can look at a million different things, put a million different thoughts in your head. At the end of the day I played the players who were in front of me. I can't choose the players that I play. The players that are in front of me, they are there for a reason. Davidovich Fokina played quarterfinals for a reason, because he was playing incredibly well.

For me, Nishikori is somebody that is going to do well this year. I mean, if you look at the clay court tournaments, he lost to players, to Rafa in Barcelona in a three-set match, and three times to me. Everybody else he beat. He hasn't lost any bad matches or anything like that. Sometimes you got to take that in perspective, as well.

Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day it's a draw and I don't really choose who I play.

Q. I want to ask you about the first round here in Paris. Did not get off to the greatest start. But from the 0-2 hole, you haven't dropped a set since. Is that something that sort of freed you up? Was there maybe a benefit to having to deal with that problem in the first round?

ALEXANDER ZVEREV: I mean, it was obviously nothing that I planned. I don't want to go down two sets to love. But it was nice to come back from that when I needed to.

Also my opponent played well. He had three matches before. I'm also somebody that does not necessarily play his best tennis in the first round. I'm somebody that develops my game during the tournament.

So, yeah, I mean, the circumstances and the match wasn't easy. Also I saw Dominic lose right before I stepped on court, which also in a way does give you mental pressure because you know he's in your part of the draw, you know he's in your section, you know he's one of the toughest clay court players to beat. Now that he's gone, you can see what can happen. You have those kind of thoughts going into the match. Of course, you try not to have them, but at the end of the day you do have them.

Yeah, I mean, after the first round, it kind of started to go very smoothly. I'm happy about that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
108548-1-1004 2021-06-08 19:40:00 GMT

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