Alexander Zverev says Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are just different when it comes to returning to tennis from injuries. Nadal, 36, has been struggling with injuries and setbacks for pretty much his entire career but still the Spaniard has always been able to find a way to return to his best.
On the other side, Federer had knee surgery after 2016 Wimbledon. When Federer returned to action, the Swiss won three Grand Slams between January 2017 and January 2018. Zverev, 25, tore several ligaments in his ankle during last year’s French Open semifinal match against Nadal.
Zverev returned to action at the start of the 2023 season but the German is not anywhere near his best level.
Zverev: Nadal, Federer are just different
“I don’t know how they do that. But they’ve been doing it for 20 years now.
I needed time but I think also my injury was maybe a little bit different. I was not able to walk really for two months. You have to learn your movements again, you have to learn how to walk again, you have to learn how to run again.
These are all factors that may play a little bit of a part in tennis. But you can’t compare Rafa to me because Rafa comes back and starts winning and not only winning against everyone but beating them 6-0 6-1 6-2,” Zverev told Eurosport.
Zverev and Nadal were leaving it all out there when the German crushed on the court and started screaming in pain. Recently, Zverev returned to clay for the first time since the injury. Slowly, Zverev is regaining his confidence and feeling on clay.
“This year, maybe it was a bit different. I still had to get the injury and the accident out of my head in a way to be able to really feel comfortable sliding again and really feel comfortable moving again on the clay court.
But I feel like that’s going to go with time and I feel like the more matches I’m playing on the surface, the better it’s going to be and I also have to remember the good memories I had on this surface,” Zverev said.