A shot at a third ATP Masters 1000 trophy in 2021 is on the line for Alexander Zverev as he prepares to open his BNP Paribas Open campaign. After triumphs in Madrid and Cincinnati, it would break new ground for the third seed should he claim three in the same season for the first time.
The German has good reason to expect he will. Since a fourth-round exit at Wimbledon he has been on a tear on hard courts, claiming the Tokyo Olympics gold medal, his fourth title of the season at the Western & Southern Open before a semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic at the US Open.
“I think the second part of the season for me has been incredible so far. I’ve only lost one match so far [and] I’ve won 17, so it is going good,” Zverev said. “I think everybody is happy to be back here. This is a tournament that everybody enjoys even though I didn’t have a lot of success here yet. I’m hoping to change that this year. I’m hoping to be able to find my rhythm, find my form here, we’ll see how the tournament goes.”
In four main draw appearances, Zverev has won just five matches in the desert. His sole run to the round of 16 came in 2016, when as an 18-year-old he took down seeded players Grigor Dimitrov and Gilles Simon for a showdown with three-time champion Rafael Nadal.
Zverev twice broke the Spaniard in the final set and held a match point, but came up agonisingly short. It was a performance from which Nadal deemed him “a future No. 1”.
“I played the fourth round here against Rafa, had the match point in 2016. I was 18 years old back there and since then I haven’t reached the fourth round again,” Zverev said. “This year I can obviously go past and beyond what I’ve reached here so far, but it’s an interesting week because we’re obviously not used to playing in this heat here in Indian Wells.
“Normally it’s a lot cooler, conditions are very different. I think everybody needs to adjust and to be honest I think it’s going to be a very interesting tournament.” Zverev faces a potentially tricky opener against either #NextGenATP American Jenson Brooksby or a qualifier and could meet #NextGenATP Spaniard Calos Alcaraz in the third round.
Source: Tennis – ATP World Tour