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Zverev to Alcaraz: He's a Monster

Written by Richard Pagliaro | @Itenisi_Manje | Sunday, June 9, 2024
Photo credit: Corleve/Mark Peterson

The fifth set in a Grand Slam final is survival of the fittest.

Alexander Zverev The dream of a Grand Slam was ended by a battle monster Carlos Alcaraz.

King Carlos: Alcaraz Battles for Zverev's First Roland Garros Crown

The 21-year-old Spaniard dropped the third set 5-2 and fired back to make it 12 of his last 15 matches to defeat Zverev 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6- 2 in four hours, a marathon of 19 minutes to take his first Roland Garros tournament.

Riding a 12-game winning streak into today's finals, Zverev seemed to have all the momentum as he ended a five-game winning streak from two sets to one.

Alcaraz rose to a level of intensity that Zverev, playing his third set of the tournament, could not match.

Afterward, Zverev, the man Hall of Famer John McEnroe called the strongest man in the tournament, said he couldn't match the Wimbledon winner's body in the final two sets, calling Alcaraz “an animal.”

“We are both physically strong, but he is a beast,” Zverev told reporters in Paris. “He's really an animal. The intensity with which he plays tennis is different from other people. You know, he can do a lot of different things, right?

“I think he changed his strategy a lot in the fifth set, he started to play a lot, he went too deep for me so I didn't generate energy. Especially with the shadows on the court, it was slow again. But he's a very good player, and physically he's amazing.”

Third-seeded Alcaraz made history as the youngest man to win major titles in all three Grand Slam venues: hard court (2022 US Open), grass (2023 Wimbledon) and clay (Roland Garros).

Alcaraz improved to 11-1 in five-set matches, while Zverev dropped to 10-2 in Roland Garros five-setters.

The Olympic gold medalist, who will face Alcaraz again at Roland Garros at the Paris Olympics next month, allowed 19-and-a-half hours on court today. Zverev opened the tournament by defeating the king of clay Rafael Nadal in a blockbuster opening round.

“Yes, I lost my focus, and in my practice I couldn't find the strength in my legs anymore, which is strange,” said Zverev. “Because normally I don't get tired. I don't focus, I don't get tired normally.

“But again, against Carlos it's a different intensity, so maybe it was a little bit like that. Yes, maybe I have to look at my preparation. Maybe I have to look at how I do things on a physical basis as well.

“That's right, look, I felt like I was in the finals and I was playing well and he was playing well for three sets. Then I fell a lot.”

Photo credit: Corleve/Mark Peterson<

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