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Alexander Zverev’s ankle injury may have been caused by a “clump of clay” at the back of the court, according to Chris Evert. Nadal and Zverev was facing off in a pulsating semi-final with the Spaniard taking the first set.
They went back and forth in the second though with both players dropping serve four times before a tiebreak looked likely. Nadal ended up winning the final point to force a tiebreak, but it came after Zverev appeared to twist his ankle badly.
The world No 3 hit the floor in agony, writhing around and crying in pain with the crowd inside Court Philippe-Chatrier audibly silent. The severity of Zverev’z injury was quickly apparent and he ended up needing a wheelchair to exit the court.
After several minutes in the treatment room, Zverev returned to the court on crutches and retiring from the match. Replays of Zverev’s incident showed that his foot got caught on the clay surface before buckling under his body.
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And Evert has suggested that a “clump of clay” could have caused Zverev’s horrific injury.
“When you heard those cries you knew it was serious and you knew it was serious,” she said on Eurosport. “My mind wandered to that big summer of Wimbledon and US Open and whether he is going to be able to play or will he miss those.
“The thing with Zverev is that he was really coming into his own, he was playing so well this whole tournament, the wins he had – what about Alcaraz, what a big win for him. He had chances in the first set against Rafa, Rafa looked a little bit tired which is understandable.
“It could have been a clump of clay, who knows? Towards the corners where they don’t move as much sometimes you can get clumps of clay just like on grass where it is more slick in the corners.
“You could tell right away that this man was not going to finish the match. He was really in it, he was playing well. Even in his own mind, he was saying in the press that he is not 21 any more, ‘I am ready to win a Grand Slam’.
“You thought that this could be his chance.”
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