Alexander Zverev was full of apologies after crashing out of his home tournament, the Munich Open, in the first round against teenage wildcard Holger Rune.
Zverev has had a disappointing start to his season, only going as far as round of 16 at the Australian Open and reaching just one final in Montpelier which he went on to lose against Alexander Bublik.
Despite losing in the first round at Indian Wells, the Olympic Champion seemed to be making progress, making the quarter-finals at the Miami Masters and semi-final at Monte-Carlo, before heading to his home country to compete at the Munich Open.
However, things didn't go to plan for the world number three, with an early exit dispatched in just 99 minutes by the young Norwegian winning 6-3, 6-2.
Zverev was outwardly emotional in his post-match conference as he apologised to fans for his performance.
“I was incredibly nervous today before the match,” Zverev revealed. “It was my first time in Germany in front of a crowd for years.
“I can hardly speak now either. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the spectators, I’m sorry for the tournament. It was my worst match in the last five, six, seven years.”
Zverev is a two-time winner of the ATP 250 tournament but admitted afterwards that his performance just wasn't good enough.
“I played without a forehand today. A performance like today’s isn’t enough even in a tournament in the 250 category.
“There are no excuses. Anyone who finds excuses today is not the smartest person.”
The result is a huge blow to Zverev who is hoping to defend his Madrid Open title this week against a highly competitive field including both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
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