Actually, Alexander Zverev was quite happy with himself. “I may have made a few unnecessary mistakes in the tie-break. But I found that I played one of the best matches I’ve played here in Wimbledon in my career so far,” summed up the German number one in the tennis world after the defeat. Too bad that in the third round he faced an opponent in the Italian Matteo Berrettini who was even better that day and whose serve was an incredibly precise weapon. “I played very well and lost in three sets. I think that speaks for him,” said Zverev after the 3: 6, 6: 7 (4: 7), 6: 7 (5: 7) against the 2021 Wimbledon finalist.

The lawn classic is over early for the 26-year-old. Twice he was in the round of 16 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club – that’s it. Wimbledon remains his weakest Grand Slam tournament. In Melbourne, Paris and New York, Zverev was at least in the semifinals, and at the US Open 2020 even in the final. Only in Wimbledon does it not really work out for him.

“Apart from the break in the first set, it was a great match. I can’t blame myself for much today,” said Zverev. In fact: for 2:27 hours, Zverev seemed to be constantly on the defensive, especially when Berrettini served. If the 2021 finalist didn’t hit an ace, Zverev had trouble returning the ball well. The hamburger also served very well – but Berrettini, number 38 in the world rankings, brutally exploited his few wobbles. “What should I do? Sometimes I don’t even touch the ball. I knew that he would serve outstandingly. But if he serves the match ball on the line at 225 km/h, then he’s just too good,” said Zverev.

Powerless against the thundering serves, angry about the rain that Zverev saw coming, but the referee still left the roof on Court 1 open. When the score was 4:4, 30:30, heavy rain set in from one second to the next. Both players had to go to the dressing room and the place was covered.

Zverev complained to the referee after he had obviously warned beforehand to close the roof because rain was coming. “Matteo and I agreed to close the roof when it started to rain. But they wanted us to play outside until 8:30 p.m. because they said it was an outside tournament. But it was already so dark, I don’t know how they would have wanted to pull it off,” says Zverev.

About six months after returning to the tennis tour after a serious foot injury, he still sees himself on the right track. “Yes,” was his brief answer at the press conference when asked whether he was satisfied with the development since his comeback. “I remain very positive about the coming weeks. I’m close to the top ten,” said Zverev, who had no more points to defend this season because of the six-month break last year, shortly afterwards at “Sky”.

After a few days’ break, Zverev’s next tournament will be in his native city of Hamburg from mid-July. “Of course I’m looking forward to it,” said the German number one about the short return home and on clay before the hard court season in the USA begins in August with the US Open (August 28 to September 10) as the highlight. “The semi-final in Paris was a key moment for me. I feel good and ready for the next tasks that are coming up,” said the former world number two.

Berrettini now meets world number one Carlos Alcaraz from Spain in the round of 16. The Zverev conqueror was asked how he was preparing for it. “A little pasta, lots of rest – and then it’s against Carlos,” he replied.