Boris Becker has warned Alexander Zverev that the ATP Tour doesn’t sleep and that his long injury layoff will be tough to overcome.
Zverev was injured in the French Open semi-finals, arguably at the peak of his game but Becker says he cannot afford to reflect on that too much.
Becker says that Zverev will need to find a way to get back up to speed with tennis next generation threatening to deprive him and his peers of major wins.
The former Wimbledon champion told Eurosport: “Sascha [Alexander Zverev] has been injured for seven months now, so it will take another seven before he’s where he was 14 months ago.
“That’s an eternity in sport and the locker room doesn’t sleep.”
Becker says that the 2022 season was a demonstration of how quickly things move in tennis.
He used the example of the incredible rise of US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz.
“Carlos Alcaraz hardly had a match until 14 months ago won, then he became number one in the world,” Becker said.
“Youngsters are coming and a 25 or 26-year-old now has to deliver because all too often you don’t get the chance anymore.”
Becker has backed Zverev to come back and challenge for Grand Slam’s again given his drive to succeed.
The former world No 1 feels that patience is the key for Zverev who might be inclined to push himself a little bit to hard.
“It’s going to be a long way back,” Becker went on to say.
“I think it’s possible because he has the right attitude. However, it will be more difficult than two or three years ago. Sascha needs patience, has to play tournaments.”
At the Australian Open, Zverev admitted that he isn’t physically where he was before injury struck.
Zverev told a press conference: “My foot is healthy, but I’m not at the physical level that I was. I’m not as fast. Definitely, my conditioning is not as good as it was. So I think I still have a long way to go to there.
“I think the last weeks I was getting better and better, and that is something very positive for me.”
Zverev was happy to win a match and play nine sets of tennis at the Australian Open even if fans were disappointed that he wasn’t on top of his game.
He said: “I didn’t have any expectations. I didn’t have any goals, and it was a good test for me. I played a five-setter, and I know where I am physically. That’s about it.
“I guess I still have a long way back to where I was.”
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