In his official return to tennis the other night in Australia at the United Cup, Alexander Zverev fell to Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-2.
Zverev is back after a lengthy recovery from a gruesome ankle injury at the French Open.
“I think feeling-wise I felt OK,” said Zverev. “But I think my tennis is far away from the level I want it to be. I think it’s also normal not playing for seven months. There are things that are different than I’m used to. I think I was getting tired a lot quicker than I’m used to. But that comes obviously with not playing.”
Zverev is taking the long term view when looking at returning to the top of the game.
“Physically I’m not at the level that I have to be. This is not even a question. I’m getting tired I think a lot quicker than I always did. I’m not as fast as I probably was,” he added. “To be honest, I’m only pain-free for about two, three weeks now, since Saudi Arabia basically. Before that I had pain and I wasn’t able to do all the different kind of things I want to do.”
Zverev is a former Australian Open semifinalist and has made the fourth round or better in his last four trips to Melbourne.
“It’s tough to set expectations high right now. It would be unrealistic and also quite stupid for me to set the expectations towards winning or something like that.”
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