Alexander Zverev has voiced his support for fellow top ten player Dominic Thiem, revealing that he is also finding life in tennis bubbles difficult.
Zverev, who has just reached the quarter-finals of the BMW Open in Munich beating Lithuanian lucky loser Ricardas Berankis, expressed empathy for the world number four in his post-match press conference.
Thiem, who won his first Grand Slam at the end of last year, has openly admitted to feeling like he is 'in a hole' and stated that 'all of the good things in tennis had gone' through the coronavirus pandemic.
All tennis players are subject to strict safety protocols at each tournament they play at, including regular COVID testing for them and their team, social distancing from other players, and restrictive 'bubble' environments limiting their movements between hotel and venue.
And Zverev has added his voice to the discussion, saying he too has been struggling with the impact of COVID on players' mental health and motivation.
“We have been in a bubble for nine months,” Zverev said.
“In Rotterdam I was freaking out. We only stay at the hotel and on court. There is no fresh air to breath. We have no contact with the outside world.”
“I understand Dominic Thiem. I have been struggling with motivation too.”
The German skipped the Barcelona Open last week due to an elbow fracture which saw him take an early exit from the Monte-Carlo Masters, but he is top seed this week in Munich.
After his match he admitted he still has work to do to get back to his usual level.
“I haven’t played much tennis the past few weeks, so I know I’ll need to improve for the next match,” said Zverev who will take on Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka in the quarter-finals.
“I’ve had success in the past and I feel good here. I’ve played well in the practice and hopefully I can do better on the match court.”
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