Zverev explains horror injury turmoil as star thought career was over

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Alexander Zverev has revealed that he feared his career was over when he went down screaming on the court as he suffered a horror injury during the French Open earlier this year. The world No 12 made his comeback at this week’s Diriyah Tennis Cup exhibition and opened up on the turmoil of his lengthy layoff after a second injury prevented him from coming back at the Davis Cup in September.

Zverev made his return to competition on Thursday at the Diriyah Tennis Cup exhibition, beating good friend Dominic Thiem 10-8 10-7 in two match tiebreaks before losing 6-0 6-4 to Daniil Medvedev. The 19-time title winner had been out of the game for six months after he got injured during his French Open semi-final clash with Rafael Nadal, needing a wheelchair to be taken off the court before he re-emerged on crutches to retire from the match.

It was the last time he was seen on a tennis court at an official tour event this year, as issues with his bones prevented him from playing his original comeback tournament of choice at Germany’s Davis Cup tie in September. And the 25-year-old has now lifted the lid on just how tough his time away from the game was as he admitted he thought his career could be over after going down at the French Open.

“That was a bit difficult for me mentally,” the current world No 12 said after winning his first match at the controversial Saudi Arabia exhibition over Thiem. “Because then I had to start again and was told that now I can’t do anything for six weeks. That was not so nice and not so easy.”

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And explaining just how worrying his initial injury was, Zverev added: “But when the accident happened, the first thought was, ‘Your career is over. What if something is broken that you can never come back from or will never come back from?’” It was later revealed that the German had snapped several ligaments in his ankle and he quickly underwent surgery.

Despite the scare of his French Open injury, Zverev admitted it was his setback ahead of the Davis Cup that became one of the lowest points of his six months away from competition. He explained: “Definitely, I think there were a few of them.

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“But the one was really when I thought I was healthy and when I thought I could come back in the Davis Cup. And the actual injury was also healed, but then I was told that the bones are not ready for the strain. Because I had extreme bone damage, had bone edema, and also a stress fracture in my bone at some point.”

After being knocked out in the singles quarter-final at the Diriyah Cup, Zverev joined the other singles match losers in a consolation doubles draw on Friday and was partnered up with Thiem as the pair lost to Matteo Berrettini and Andrey Rublev. The German will now prepare for another exhibition tournament at the World Tennis League in Dubai, being held from December 19 to 24.

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