German tennis legend Michael Stich thinks Alexander Zverev hasn’t really managed to take his game to another level over the last couple of years but highlighted to the German tennis star that his criticism is well intentioned.
Zverev, 26, was tipped to be the next great champion when he won two Masters tournaments in 2017 and also reached a career-high ranking of No 3 that year. Six years have passed since then and Zverev has yet to win a Grand Slam or reach the world No 1 ranking.
However, Zverev has been to one Grand Slam final and he has been ranked as high as No 2 in the world. “In most cases the judgments of many observers are well-intentioned; they actually wish that he would take this next step so that he could become an even better tennis player.
I think he always sees this as criticism of himself and his game – which it really isn’t. In the last three or four years – from my perspective – he hasn’t managed to really develop his game further.
Whether he can and wants to do that, only he knows,” 1996 Wimbledon champion Stich said on Sky Germany Tennis Podcast, via Tennishead.
Stich praises Zverev’s 2023 comeback
After tearing several ankle ligaments during the 2022 French Open semifinal and then missing the entire second half of the 2022 season, Zverev returned to action at the start of the 2023 season.
In his return, Zverev won two ATP titles and returned to the top-10 in the world. Also, Zverev was a semifinalist at the French Open and he also competed at the ATP Finals. Stich maybe criticized Zverev for failing to take his game to another level but praised the German for his 2023 comeback.
“It was a strong comeback year. That was not to be expected, that has to be said very clearly. He was there at the finals. If in the summer someone had said: ‘Come on, boy, you’re in the Top 8 in Turin,’ he would have looked at them a bit strange at first. But he did it,” Stich said.