Alexander Zverev charmed an English tennis crowd on the day his country hoped to end the hopes of the nation in football’s Euro 2020.
Wimbledon is such an historic site and they keep on improving. Keep trying to make it better for the players and the public and that’s why everybody loves this tournament for 150,000 year or whatever it is already! Alexander Zverev
The German made short work of Tallon Griekspoor, defeating the Dutch qualifier 6-3 6-4 6-1 in 94-minutes on No.1 Court to reach the second round of Wimbledon.
And when asked by the BBC’s Lee McKenzie: “You have had the crowd on your side for the best part of two hours so I’m going to ask this question carefully. I know you are a big football fan…will you have time to actually see the start of the match and give us your prediction?”
He smiled and earned cheers and laughter said: ‘I’m going to get booed off the court! I just hope it goes to penalties (in reference to his country’s success in them when playing England)”
Fun-loving Zverev also made reference to Andy Murray’s tongue-in-cheek comments about ‘doing a No.1’ when he and opponent Nikolos Basilashvili had to take a break at the end of the third set for the Centre Court roof to be put on the previous evening.
Zverev and his opponent were also forced off court for the same reason when rain began to fall in London SW19.
He said: “I felt comfortable out on court. The Andy Murray interview about when he went to the toilet, just did a No.1 and all that! I’ll leave that to Andy for that kind of stuff. It’s great we’ve got a roof on Court One now. Wimbledon is such an historic site and they keep on improving. Keep trying to make it better for the players and the public and that’s why everybody loves this tournament for 150,000 year or whatever it is already!”
Zerev also spoke about his pleasure at seeing the fans return to the stadium as part of a government’s scheme after sporting stadia had been largely empty for events due to the coronavirus pandemic for more than a year.
He said: “It is great to see everything is slowly going back to normal. A lot of people here. Without a mask. The moment I walked out on this court it made me feel very happy to see everybody here. I know a lot of people around the world have been struggling for the last 18 months, I hope everything goes smoothly for the next two weeks. That we can go back to normal. Hopefully live life. Thank you for coming out and supporting.”
It was a cruise for him against an opponent who held break points in the opening game he was unable to convert.
Fourth seed Zverev has only made the second week once in his previous five campaigns (in 2017).
But the way the 24-year-old began bid No.6 showed, he has the potential to get to the later stages once more.
Zverev, still searching for his first Grand Slam triumph, outplayed and outclassed his opponent.
The 6ft.6in ace’s ball striking was exemplary and he secured 20 aces against an opponent world-ranked 124. He also claimed 77 per cent of his first-service points.
Zverev allied his big serving with powerful baseline groundstrokes and built up a 5-1 lead in the opening set. His 24-year-old debuting opponent rallied to make it 5-3 before Zverev served out the set, having struck 12 winners.
Griekspoor appeared to hit the ball well, but he had difficulty handling his groundstrokes when play resumed under the roof early in the second set. The Dutchman committed ten errors as he was broken twice while his German rival doubled his lead with the help of impressive returning.
It was a one-way street as Zverev, a semi-finalist at the recent French Open, ploughed on, securing 81 per cent of first-service point to take a 4-1 lead and ease to victory.