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Zverev: “Most open Wimbledon in 20 years”

“I can win it”: Alexander Zverev (CARMEN JASPERSEN)

“I can win it”: Alexander Zverev (CARMEN JASPERSEN)

Alexander Zverev was one of the serious contenders for the Wimbledon title on Saturday and stressed that this year’s showpiece was “the most open of the last 20 years”.

The fourth-ranked player in the world has never made it past the round of 16 at the All England Club.

However, with Roger Federer retired, Rafael Nadal resting and both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray injured, the 27-year-old predicts a power vacuum in southwest London.

“I think this is the most open Wimbledon tournament we’ve had in the last 20 years in terms of favorites and potential winners,” Zverev said.

“I think there are several guys who have a very good chance to go far and win the tournament.

“I don’t think it was like that in the last 20 years before Roger started playing, right? After Roger came Rafa, Novak, Andy. I really feel like it’s different this year.”

Since Lleyton Hewitt won the Wimbledon title in 2002, the tournament has been dominated by Federer (eight titles), Djokovic (seven), Nadal (two) and Murray (two).

Carlos Alcaraz’s victory over Djokovic in the 2023 championship match finally broke the dominance of the “Big Four”.

Djokovic and Murray are 37 years old and both come to the tournament fresh from operations – Djokovic on his right knee, while Murray had to undergo surgery for a cyst on his back.

“It’s the first time I really feel like I’m here to be a competitor, maybe to win the title,” Zverev said.

“When I came here in the last few years, I didn’t have that feeling. I felt like I wasn’t capable of doing that. I didn’t believe I was capable of doing that.”

Zverev has suffered two heartbreaking defeats in Grand Slam finals.

At the 2020 US Open, he gave up a two-set lead against Dominic Thiem, and at this year’s French Open, he came from two sets to one behind to slump to a five-set loss to Alcaraz.

His two fourth-round losses at Wimbledon were also five-set defeats to Milos Raonic in 2017 and Felix Auger-Aliassime in 2023.

“This is a tournament where I might need a little more luck and where a few things have to go in my favor and a few things have to happen,” he added.

“More than maybe other Grand Slams. If all these things come together, if all these things maybe work in my favor for once, do I think I can win? Then yes, I can.”

After completing his Wimbledon campaign, Zverev will return to Roland Garros in Paris to defend his Olympic title.

“The Olympics are probably the hardest trophy for us to win in tennis because we host this tournament every four years,” said Zverev.

“If you don’t perform that week, you have to wait another four years. But with Grand Slams or other events, we have several per year.”

DJ/EA

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