Yesterday at the US Open, Alexander Zverev met the press on Louis Armstrong, and of course the hot topic was his hiring this week of former tennis great Ivan Lendl.
Zverev had been courting Lendl (and Boris Becker) for some time, but the will officially debut on Tuesday in New York.
“We’ve known each other for a few years now,” Zverev said. “He was working with Andy. Jez Green was also part of the team as well. That’s how it kind of started. I felt like after Wimbledon, it was a perfect time to kind of maybe try something new, try a thing like that.
“Obviously the reason I’m with him is to compete and win the biggest tournaments in the world,” he added. “That’s the only reason he would join, as well. It’s great having him here. Hopefully it will show in the results.”
Zverev went on to discuss what Lendl would bring the 21-year-old German.
“There’s a lot of tactical work, for sure. There’s a lot of mental work, as well, to kind of show me what it takes to compete for Grand Slams, to win Grand Slams. That for sure he has showed me a little bit.
“The training sessions are tough,” he said. “The training sessions have always been tough when I work. I’m a pretty hard working guy, so I know what it takes. I’m not somebody who sits on my ass when I’m alone. I’m always constantly trying to figure out ways to get better. That hasn’t changed that much. The training sessions are still tough. The training sessions are tough when I’m by myself.”
He talked at length about choosing the 58-year-old Lendl over countryman Becker, and the fact that current physio Jez Green worked with Lendl before was a huge faction.
“Obviously the two options for me were Boris and him,” said Zverev.
“One reason was because team members of mine have worked with Ivan before. They know what he brings to the table. Jez, who is also a very good friend, not just a trainer, we’ve been talking a lot who would be a great person. He always felt that Ivan was.
“And second, I just thought Ivan’s life right now is a little bit easier. I love Boris a lot. He’s a great guy. I’ve texted him and talked to him before announcing this thing with Ivan.
“I said, ‘Look, I would have loved to work with you, and maybe in the future it will hopefully work out, as well. But right now I just thought Ivan would be better’.”
He added that there was no timetable for the Lendl relationship.
Zverev, who opens play against lucky loser Slam king Peter Polansky, has struggled in New York never making it past the second round, and he has just one career Grand Slam quarterfinal. But he hope Lendl will help him change that.
“I’m doing everything I can to make it be,” Zverev said. “I’m trying to play my best tennis here in New York, which I’ve never really done before. I’ve never really played the best tennis here. I’m trying to change that. I’m trying to change it this year. Hopefully it will work out that way.”
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