Novak Djokovic (L) and Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev defeated Lloyd Harris in straight sets on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals of the 2021 US Open. The German will next take on World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for a spot in the final.
Zverev is currently on a 16-match winning streak, having won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics and the title in Cincinnati last month.
Considering his recent form, he is expected to pose a stern test to Djokovic, who is bidding for a Calendar Grand Slam.
Speaking to reporters after his win against Harris, Zverev stressed that he has to play a “perfect” match to stand a chance of beating the Serb. The German believes he has to take the attack to Djokovic and control the rallies, while committing very few unforced errors.
“Yeah, against him (Novak Djokovic) you prepare that you have to play the best match that you can. You have to be perfect, otherwise you will not win,” Zverev said. “Most of the time you can’t be perfect. That’s why most of the time people lose to him. Against him, you have to win the match yourself. You have to be the one that is dominating the points. You have to do it with very little unforced errors.””He is the best player in the world. He is very difficult to beat,” the German added.
The 24-year-old has enjoyed his time in New York over the years. Last year, he reached the final, where he lost to Dominic Thiem in a thrilling five-set contest despite leading by two sets and a break.
When asked about the difference between last year’s event and this year’s edition, Zverev pointed out that the presence of fans this fortnight in New York has brought a different atmosphere to the tournament.
“Well, I mean, we have 20 plus thousand people in the stadium. That’s how it’s different. The atmosphere is different,” he said. “Last year I think the match we played with Dominic, the crowd would have gone insane. But there was no crowd. That’s the difference. That’s what I’m talking about. It’s so much more fun, so much more entertaining I think for everybody to be there when there are big numbers of spectators there.”
I was the first player to beat Novak Djokovic in a big match this year: Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev has lost 5 of his last 6 matches against Novak Djokovic
Alexander Zverev ended Djokovic’s bid for a Golden Slam earlier this year when he defeated the World No. 1 in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics.
The German claimed that the victory in Tokyo will give him plenty of confidence going into the US Open semi-final on Friday. Zverev feels he can take heart from the fact that he is the only player to have defeated the Serb in a “big match” this year.
“I mean, it’s the biggest tournament in the world, Tokyo. It’s the Olympics. Winning there against the world No. 1, especially that I was down a set and a break, being kind of out of the match, then coming back, it was different than the other matches. The emotions were different,” Zverev said.”This year it seems like nobody can beat him in a big match, nobody can beat him at the Grand Slams. I feel like I was the first player to beat him in a very big match this year. That does give you something. To any person it would give you something,” he added.