Alexander Zverev finally feels pain-free again after nine months

Alexander Zverev finally feels pain-free again after nine months

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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday 20 February 2023

Alexander Zverev has returned to the Tour in 2023 after suffering a shattering ankle injury at Roland-Garros last June. But the real Zverev – the player who ranked No. 2 in his career and owns 19 titles on tour – hasn’t quite emerged yet.

Tennis Express

It’s normal for a player who tore three ligaments in his right ankle and then suffered a setback during his rehab (which Zverev had in September last year) to need time to find his form.

For Zverev, who still can’t declare himself completely pain free, the process will take some time. The fact that he’s on the pitch and competing in his fifth competition of the season – after United Cup, Australian Open, Davis Cup and Rotterdam – is already a great sign.

In Doha, where he will face Andy Murray in the second round, Zverev was asked if the pain is still in the back of his mind every time he steps on the pitch.

He says the pain is still there, but it’s getting better every week.

“I don’t have it in the back of my mind,” he said. “A few weeks ago I was still getting signals from my foot. I used to have pain from time to time. But it’s going in the right direction and I feel like I can play pretty freely now.

“That’s how I felt in Rotterdam. I thought I played a lot better in Rotterdam than in the previous weeks, although I lost in the second round, I think I lost in the second round to a very good player who played well this week.”

Zverev says he’s looking forward to gradually improving as the season progresses.

“Of course I’m looking forward to the next few weeks and hope that things will always get better in the right direction.”

A setback that helped him to recover

No athlete wants to suffer a setback during rehabilitation, but Zverev said that in his case, a setback proved to be the perfect tonic.

Zverev told reporters that a low point in his season last September actually gave him the impetus to rest his ankle, which later paid off.

“At that moment I thought maybe I could already play, and then they said to me, ‘No, it’s going to be two or three months,'” he said. “That was a bit tough for me mentally. I packed my bags and went on vacation. I didn’t do rehab or anything like that anymore.

“But at the same time it helped me a lot because I think my foot needed rest. I tried really hard to come back and maybe I did a little too much.”

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