Alexander Zverev is set to play through swelling and discomfort at the Australian Open after hurting his ankle during a practice session.
Arguably the best hope of ousting top seeds Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at Melbourne Park, world No.4 Zverev has not played a tour match since November when he beat Djokovic to take out the ATP Finals in London.
After losing the Hopman Cup final with Angelique Kerber to a Roger Federer-led Switzerland, Zverev pulled out of the World Tennis Challenge in Adelaide with a hamstring issue.
The German then had another setback during a Margaret Court Arena hit-out on Thursday.
The 21-year-old was forced to call time on his practice match with Australian Jason Kubler after tumbling and landing on his ankle.
Congrats to Team Switzerland ???????? for defending the title! Not quite the result that we hoped for but what a fun week playing for Team Germany ???????? Thanks to Alex Zverev for being such a great teammate ???? @hopmancup #HereToCreate pic.twitter.com/dU6l40Vtwy
— Angelique Kerber (@AngeliqueKerber) January 5, 2019
Zverev played down the injury ahead of Tuesday’s match against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene and a possible fourth-round showdown with Nick Kyrgios or Milos Raonic.
“The ankle is fine. It’s just a little bit swollen,” he said.
“I didn’t actually twist it, I just kind of went over it a little bit. Actually what happened was a bone pushed against another bone. There was inflammation between those two bones.
“I’m fine. I’m going to play with the tape. It’s just a little bit uncomfortable but it’s nothing that can get worse or anything like that. I’m actually quite relaxed about it.”
Someone asked Sascha Zverev if he was considering playing mixed doubles at Grand Slams…
“That’s the best question I’ve gotten as a first question ever. In Olympics, I probably will, with Angie hopefully. But, no, not in tournaments.” pic.twitter.com/RuFjrXx8oH
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 12, 2019
Considered the future of men’s tennis since his stunning defeat of Federer as a teenager, Zverev is yet to reach the final four at a major.
He hoped to apply the lessons learned from his year-end triumph in London at Melbourne Park, where he has not progressed beyond the third round.
“There’s always a lot of pressure to it, the question of ‘when are you going to win a grand slam?’,” Zverev said.
“I came to London before, and I wasn’t playing my best … (but) I want to enjoy it as much as I can. I’m playing the best players in the world, I’m going to see how it goes.
“At the end of the week, I won the tournament.
“I kind of learned out of that. I figured out I have to have the same mentality when I play at slams. I hope I can achieve that.”
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