Alexander Zverev has admitted to snubbing the hotly-contested Australian Open final between Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev. After a gruelling five-set affair, it was the Spaniard who came out on top to pull clear of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic by claiming his 21st career Grand Slam.
Even after Djokovic’s controversial deportation from Australia, Nadal was not considered the front-runner to take the top prize in Melbourne.
His final three matches reflected that, playing a whopping 14 sets out of a possible 15 as the 35-year-old battled through a tough route to victory.
More adversity came Nadal’s way in the final, having to fight back from two sets down against second seed Medvedev, who was broadly fancied to claim his second Grand Slam title.
As fans, players and pundits lapped up the veteran’s triumph, Zverev claims to have taken a different approach.
“I didn’t watch the whole final, but the end yes [I did],” he admitted, according to We Are Tennis.
“I prefer to play the finals rather than watching them on television.
“What Rafa did on Sunday is incredible, he is extraordinary.”
Indeed, Zverev is still likely to be feeling the disappointment of what many felt was a premature exit from this year’s Australian Open.
The German had won nine sets out of nine en route to his fourth-round clash with Denis Shapovalov.
Few people expected the Canadian to then sweep him in straight sets before taking Nadal to five in the subsequent quarter-final.
Zverev is still searching for his first Grand Slam title despite spending the last four years ranked inside the top seven, and the last few months inside the top three.
The 6ft 6in star’s major hopes will now turn to the French Open where he reached the semi-final last year. But he has committed to self-reflection between now and then.
“At the end of the day, I’ve got to do better,” he said after defeat to Shapovalov.
“I came here with a goal to win, and maybe to become No.1 and all that.
“But if I play like that, I don’t deserve it. It’s as simple as that.
“I think after a match like this, [No.1] is very silly to talk about. I think I need to figure myself out first.”