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Novak agrees with me about ATP Tour being too long, says Alexander Zverev

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Novak agrees with me about ATP Tour being too long, says Alexander Zverev

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SportsCafe Desk


21-year-old Alexander Zverev has pointed out that even world No. 1 Novak Djokovic shared his views about the ATP Tour being too long with him. This came after the likes of Roger Federer and Tim Henman chose to differ from the views of the German World No. 5, stating it is always in players’ hands.

Zverev has been standing at the other end of the criticism after he came out to state the 11-month long ATP season as “ridiculous”, after his defeat to Novak Djokovic a few days ago. However, the player hasn’t found many sympathizers in the tennis fraternity with Federer and Henman downright rubbishing those claims.

While the Swiss ace chose to keep it short by stating that he “really can’t complain” about it for the players enjoy complete autonomy in prioritizing their schedule accordingly, Zverev was of the opinion that Federer’s priorities differed highly than his.

“Roger is older, so he has different rules from the ATP. He can skip two Masters Series. He doesn’t have to play all the 500 events. I have to play all the four Grand Slams, all the nine Masters events, and I have to play four 500 events outside of that. Actually, I even played a 250 event as well,” said Zverev, who defeated John Isner to book a spot in the semi-finals. 

Henman, however, more vociferous about it claiming Zverev’s complaints “fall on deaf ears” and that the German was way too young to complain about hectic schedule. Speaking in a BCC coverage, Henman stated, “They’re saying the season historically is too long so they try to shorten the season and then there are a few exhibition events where they’re going to get paid some serious money at the end of the year and then they end up and play in those sorts of events.

“So you can’t have your cake and eat it. When you hear Federer talk like that, it’s something he’s got absolutely spot on. He’s learned how to prioritize certain events and his injury prevention is done so he stays healthy. Zverev is a young guy, he say he’s tired at this time of year, aged 21, I think that’s going to fall on deaf ears. He has to learn how to manage his schedule so he’s giving himself the best opportunity to play his best tennis at the best events.”

Retorting to that, Zverev clarified that he was stressing on the lack of off-time between the events and even went on to reveal that Serbian World No.1 Djokovic had agreed to him and confided into him that he had the same opinion for the last 10 years.

“It’s not about the amount of tennis we play inside of that year, it’s how long we have off. Even if you’re not playing for a week in a tournament, you can’t take that week off. You have to be training, you have to be preparing. My argument is always we don’t have time to prepare. I mean, we finish here, we go for a 10-day holiday, then we train for two weeks, then we go to Australia. That’s more my thinking behind it. It’s not the amount of matches that we play inside of those weeks, it’s more about how much off time we can actually have.

“If you ask Novak, I had this conversation with Novak, he agrees with me. He’s been thinking the same way for the past 10 years but he’s never really talked about it. Now that players are coming through about the subject, he’s also more vocal about it,” he added.

When asked how long an ATP season should be, the German stated that two weeks would be too less a resting period for any player and suggested it to be extended to two months.

“I mean, I’ve done it a few times where I ended my season in Stockholm, to give myself two months when I was younger, to build my body. I had four weeks of physical and four weeks of tennis before the season started.

"I think if we get that, that is very, very good for us. Like this now, we get two weeks for everything. Obviously we take some holidays, but we need them.We need the holidays to kind of recover. Having two weeks to prepare yourself, body and mentally for the new season, is not in my opinion enough. If you ask any coach out there, I don’t think they’ll disagree with me,” he concluded.

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