Alexander Zverev has been severely punished for being too ambitious and is again being forced to take a longer break from tennis. Instead of making his comeback in the Davis Cup intermediate round in Hamburg this week as planned, the Olympic champion is doomed to watch because of a new injury. The 25-year-old said on Monday in Hamburg that he contracted bone edema in his foot during his intensive training. Healing is “not a matter of days, but weeks and months”.

There is a risk that the bones in the foot could break when used. “Then I would have a lot of problems for my career and for a very long time,” said Zverev. Because of the pain in his foot, he was recently unable to really walk or walk. “Of course I’m disappointed, but I can’t do anything.” He will now cheer on the team from the bench. His new role: “I’ll be a cheerleader in the best sense of the word.”

It was different: in the semi-finals of the French Open on June 3, he twisted his ankle during the match against Rafael Nadal and tore all three lateral ligaments in his right ankle. The doctors had told him it would take him four months to get back on the pitch. Healing was faster.

The US Open came too early for the comeback, the Davis Cup in his hometown of Hamburg was the new goal. His injury has healed, said Zverev. But: “I trained too intensively.” That led to the new injury.

“It was a shock for all of us,” said team boss Michael Kohlmann about the moment during practice on Sunday. “That took a while. You don’t shake it off that easily.” Nevertheless, he had to react and nominated Yannick Hanfmann. The 30-year-old actually wanted to play in a Challenger tournament in Szczecin this week.

Despite the failure of their number one, the German team was confident before the games against France on Wednesday, against Belgium on Friday and against Australia on Sunday (both DAZN and ServusTV) – even if it sounded like optimism. “I believe in it and I’m convinced that we’re good enough to get through to the next round,” said Kohlmann. “We still want to be successful.”

The next round is the finals in Malaga from November 22-27. The first and second place winners from the four groups travel there. The new number one in the team is now Jan-Lennard Struff. “My role hasn’t changed,” he said. “We will step on the gas right from the start. We have a good team.” At least the hosts have the most famous cheerleader.