It wasn’t glamorous, but Alexander Zverev made a happy impression. After the tennis Olympic champion missed Wimbledon last year due to a serious foot injury, he celebrated a successful comeback on Thursday at the classic lawn. Against the Dutch qualifier Gijs Brouwer, Zverev won 6: 4, 7: 6 (7: 4), 7: 6 (7: 5) and also put away the days of waiting because of the rain.
“He was a tough opponent. The rain was a tough opponent. I’m just happy to be back in Wimbledon,” said Zverev, who is now dealing with the Japanese lucky loser Yosuke Watanuki this Friday. “It’s going to be a tough few days. I’ll play tomorrow, I’ll probably play on Saturday too – of course only if I win,” said Zverev, who has never made it past the round of 16 at Wimbledon in his career. “Wimbledon is the most historic tennis tournament in the world, perhaps one of the most historic sporting events in the world. I’m just happy to be able to play here again.”
The return had been delayed several times. The game was supposed to take place on Tuesday. However, due to bad weather, it was postponed twice. Zverev only made his first appearance on the fourth day of the tournament – later than ever before in a Grand Slam tournament.
And the long wait was definitely noticeable to Zverev. The 26-year-old was still looking for his rhythm and had some difficulties against the largely unknown left-hander from the Netherlands. In the second set, the German number one even had to fend off two set balls before he secured the passage in the tie-break. In the third set, too, the decision was only made in the tie-break. With his 19th ace in total, Zverev converted his third match point after 2:15 hours and was then able to start preparing for his next game this Friday.
Like Zverev, Jule Niemeier had to wait a long time for her first appearance in Wimbledon. But when the time finally came on Thursday, the 23-year-old from Dortmund was immediately into it. Niemeier won against the French Open finalist Karolina Muchova 6: 4, 5: 7, 6: 1 and was the second German player to survive the first round after Tamara Korpatsch. Niemeier, who only lost to Tatjana Maria in the quarter-finals last year, converted her first match point after 2:53 hours against the number 16 seeded Czech. She is now dealing with the Hungarian Dalma Galfi.
In finally rain-free London, Niemeier was the dominant player from the start. However, the Dortmund player was unable to take advantage of many chances in the first round. Only with the 13th break ball and seventh set ball did Niemeier win the first half after 56 minutes with 6:4. At the beginning of the second set, however, her concentration dropped for a moment, which Muchova used to equalize the set.
But Niemeier was unimpressed and took the serve from the favored Czech early on in the deciding set. After that, Muchova slipped and had to be treated twice. The Paris finalist was visibly restricted in her movement. Niemeier took advantage of this and deservedly won in the end.
Maximilian Marterer is already in the third round. The qualifier from Nuremberg won against the American Michael Mmoh 7: 5, 7: 6 (7: 5), 6: 4 and is thus in the third round of the grass classic for the first time. The 28-year-old now meets Kazakh Alexander Bublik, who recently won the tournament in Halle and defeated Zverev there in the semifinals. “You can say that I’m in a little flow. I haven’t had five wins in a row for a long time,” said the Franconian with satisfaction.