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Zverev does not want to be upset by the referee's wrong decision

Zverev does not want to be upset by the referee's wrong decision

Zverev discusses with referee Renaud Liechtenstein in the French Open finalPhoto: IMAGO/UPI photo

It could have been a victory, but instead Alexander Zverev walked off the court in Paris disappointed. The referee's error may have had a decisive impact in the French Open final

Christoph Köln/T Online

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t online

Sunday could have been a day of celebration for Alexander Zverev. The German tennis star finally wanted to win a Grand Slam final in Paris. After a strong performance in previous matches, Zverev reached his first major title in the French Open final against Carlos Alcaraz.

But nothing came of it. He lost the match 3:6, 6:2, 7:5, 1:6, 2:6. Poor decision making in the fifth set may have played an important role in the defeat, when Zverev had two break points at 1:2 and 40:15. Alcaraz served – and hit the ball out of bounds. At least that's how the linesman saw it. Chair referee Renaud Lichtenstein saw it differently, even getting out of his chair and looking at the imprint of the ball in the sand on Court Philippe Chatrier. Zverev tried in vain to change Liechtenstein's mind and spoke to the referee. But he stuck to it and corrected the assistant referee's decision.

As Hawk-Eye photos later proved, it was a bad decision indeed. The ball missed the goal line slightly. Then Zverev lost his balance in the match and ultimately the match. He couldn't believe it. After match point, he sat on the sidelines and stared into space. Tears in my eyes for the missed opportunity.

Falcon Eye in Paris only from next year

After the final, the German's reaction to the error was calm. Although it was “frustrating”, “at the end of the day, of course there is a big difference whether you are down 1:3 in the fifth set or 2:2 and then the match is open again. But it is what it is. The referees are only human.” “And they make mistakes.” But he also stressed: “In situations like this, you hope there are no mistakes.”

Doubly annoying: Hawk-Eye images were not available for Liechtenstein. Unlike other Grand Slam tournaments, ball tracking technical aids have not been used (yet) at the French Open. At the US Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon and many other tournaments, so-called electronic line calling has replaced the line judges, and the call out is issued automatically. The system will be used across the board on the ATP Tour from 2025. Then also in Paris.

For Zverev, the French Open could have ended differently if the technology had already been in use. The German, who lives in Monaco, said after the match at Roland Garros: There were “many unfortunate moments.” “If I can break my serve, the fifth set could be completely different.” However, he did not want to use the wrong decision as an excuse for defeat: “Carlos played great tennis. He played better in the fourth and fifth sets. I also think he deserved to win.”

Zverev: “A very important person and I want to see him.”

However, the ruling's decision angered most social media users. “Roland Garros must finally introduce calligraphy technology. This is unforgivable.” Another wrote on X: “Brutal. This is what decided the match.” Another said: “Zverev was robbed. R.G [Roland Garros] “She should be able to do better.”

Zverev gave a different explanation for the defeat. Accordingly, he would have missed the physical requirements at the end of the match against Alcaraz. I should have started the fourth set differently, but I lacked the power and ability to serve the ball. The lesson I'm learning is that I have to go to a completely different level physically.

His girlfriend Sofia Tomala will soon be able to console him over the bitter defeat in the final. Zverev announced that he will travel to Switzerland on Monday and then to Berlin, where Tomala lives. There is “a very important person in the German capital that I want to see. Then we will see,” the 27-year-old explained on Sunday evening in Paris. He also wanted to take a break for a few days.

The tournament in Stuttgart is cancelled

The organizers of the tennis tournament in Stuttgart probably won't want to hear that. Because Zverev is registered there in the grass tournament that starts on Monday, and he is ranked first in the field of participants. And although he wasn't supposed to enter the tournament until the round of 16 in midweek thanks to the bye, it's likely he won't start in the grass tournament. He joked that it was “like the possibility of me going out again and winning the final.”

Instead, the Olympic champion wants to start the short grass season with highlights from Wimbledon (July 1-14) in Halle/Westphalia (June 17-23). Shortly after Wimbledon, he returned to Paris: the Olympic tennis tournament will be held at the Roland Garros facility from July 27 to August 4. Before that, there is the ATP 500 clay court tournament in his hometown of Hamburg, where he will defend the title.

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