Alexander Zverev appeared to have the perfect draw for a deep run at the US Open, but now the 20-year-old German star can only ponder what might have been.
Fourth-seeded Zverev, the highest-ranked player in his half of the draw after Britain’s second-ranked Andy Murray withdrew on Saturday, crashed out of the year’s final Grand Slam event on Wednesday, falling to Croatia’s 61st-ranked Borna Coric 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (7/4).
“It’s upsetting. Today was upsetting. The way I played was upsetting. The tournament so far is upsetting for me,” Zverev said.
“I was the highest-ranked player in the bottom half of the draw after Andy retired. Now I’m out of the draw.”
Zverev reached the New York hardcourts off his best Grand Slam result, a fourth-round run at Wimbledon, and his five ATP titles this year included back-to-back US Open tuneup crowns at Washington and Montreal, beating Roger Federer in the Canadian final.
“I know that I could have done some big things here. I know that I could have done something that I haven’t done before. But I won’t. It’s just as simple as that,” Zverev said.
“It’s upsetting because the draw is pretty open in the bottom part. I felt like I should have been the favorite there. I just played a very, very bad match, so it’s unfortunate.”
Zverev said the major expectations upon him with such a wide open field, aided by injuries to Murray and other top stars, did not impact his play.
“I’ve been dealing with expectations from a very young age,” Zverev said. “I don’t think about it. I just try to play every match the same way. Luckily for me most of the time this year I was winning.”
On the Grandstand court, nicknamed the “Graveyard of Champions” after past upsets, Zverev made 58 unforced errors with 22 aces and 43 winners.
“Physically I’m fine. I just played very, very bad in the second and third set,” Zverev said. “I should have won the third. I definitely should have won the fourth.
“My level wasn’t high today, so that’s more the problem.”
Coric won the last five points of the 12th game in the final set after Zverev was one point from breaking to force a fifth set.
“He played really well on the breakpoints. Maybe had a little bit of luck on his side as well,” Zverev said. “Caught the line, had a few let cords and stuff like this.
“Everything was just a little bit against me.”
Zverev was inconsolable when it came to having him ponder the season-ending ATP Finals or other future events.
“I just lost the second round of a major where I shouldn’t have lost, so I’m not thinking about the rest of the year,” he said.
“For me, nothing changes. I still have to go back to work and then try to win this title maybe in the future years.”