Todd Woodbridge predicts Alexander Zverev will win the 2022 Australian Open
Former doubles World No. 1 Todd Woodbridge believes it is about time Alexander Zverev won his first Grand Slam. The 16-time doubles Grand Slam champion anticipates that the World No. 3 could accomplish the feat as early as the 2022 Australian Open.
Appearing on the latest episode of The AO Show podcast, Woodbridge asserted (18:00 on the podcast) that Zverev has improved a lot over the past year.
Now that the German has finally grasped what it takes to win five-set matches, Woodbridge feels that tennis fans might finally see Zverev take the next step in his career – winning a Grand Slam.
“I think we’re gonna see Alexander Zverev win a Major and I think Australian Open could be that one,” Woodbridge said. “He has matured as a player; he now understands what it takes to win seven Best-of-5-sets matches.”
The 50-year-old reasoned that Zverev’s most significant improvement has been his consistency when it comes to best-of-five matches. Woodbridge remarked that earlier in his career, the Olympic gold medallist often ended up losing his focus, thereby allowing his opponents back into the game.
But over the last year, the German has learned how to completely overwhelm his opponents and Woodbridge believes it might prove to be the difference for Zverev.
“I think his consistency within a five-set match has improved,” Woodbridge said. “Whereas Zverev used to lose concentration and let opponents back in, he’s now learned how to finish people off quicker.”
Todd Woodbridge looks forward to watching Carlos Alcaraz and Emma Raducanu at the Australian Open
Emma Raducanu waves to the crowd
Todd Woodbridge picked 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz and US Open champion Emma Raducanu as the players he’s most looking forward to watching at the 2022 Australian Open. However, he cautioned that both players will be under “a lot of pressure.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing two players in Australia – Carlos Alcaraz at the Grand Slam level and Emma Raducanu,” Woodbridge said. “They’re both under a lot of pressure.”
Woodbridge asserted that for Alcaraz, living up to the ‘Rafael Nadal’ comparison “is almost impossible.” He further added that Emma Raducanu should “play freely,” even if she doesn’t make it far in the Slam.
“Carlos is touted as the next Rafael Nadal. Trying to be the next Rafa is almost impossible,” Woodbridge said. “For Emma to live up to this massive expectation and play freely, that’s what we have to look for. I don’t really mind if she doesn’t go deep in the tournament as long as she plays freely.”
Although Emma Raducanu recently tested positive for COVID-19, the Brit is expected to participate at the Australian Open next year.