During the US Open quarter-final loss to Alcaraz, the German faced a glute issue.
One of the prominent narratives of the 2023 season has centered around the rivalry between Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic. Alexander Zverev, having experienced the exceptional form of both players during the American hard-court swing, provides insight.
After a close defeat to Djokovic at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati last month, Zverev suffered a straight-set loss to Alcaraz in the quarter-finals of the US Open, concluding his promising run. Zverev couldn’t definitively distinguish a superior player between Alcaraz and Djokovic in terms of their performance level, but he is certain that other players in the circuit have some ground to cover to reach their caliber.
“I played Carlos here and I played Novak in Cincinnati. I think they are very, very similar in terms of their game level,” Zverev shared in his post-match press conference at Flushing Meadows. “Carlos succeeds in some areas, whereas Novak does in others. I believe they are in a league of their own at the moment. The other players need to catch up. It’s as straightforward as that.”
Title defense is in full swing for Alcaraz at the US Open.
In New York, Alcaraz showcased an impressive quarter-final performance as he continued his US Open title defense in impressive fashion. However, Zverev’s challenge against the Spaniard faced setbacks from the second set onward due to a left glute issue.
Zverev reflected on his match, stating, “I was in the match in the first set. Although it could have, it didn’t go my way. Then, in the second set, I felt something in my left hamstring glute. I couldn’t push off on my serve anymore, and my serve speed decreased significantly compared to other days. Especially against him, I needed a strong serving performance, and losing that made it difficult.”
He clarified that his physical struggle was not related to his grueling four-hour, 41-minute fourth-round victory against Jannik Sinner. Despite his exit in the quarter-finals against Alcaraz, the 26-year-old can look back on a solid two weeks in a season where he has been making an impressive recovery following a serious ankle injury in 2022.