MADRID (AP) — Alexander Zverev has criticized the ATP Tour for its late-night match schedule and said he was at a disadvantage in Sunday’s final against Carlos Alcaraz at the Madrid Open.

The third, Zverev, was overpowered by the 19-year-old Spaniard in straight sets.

Zverev conceded he probably would have lost to Alcaraz even if he was ‘fresh’, but said at least it would have been a ‘better final’ if he hadn’t had to go to bed after 4am , local time, the previous one. nights.

He said it was a problem that happened every week and he was “tired” of it, adding that the tour needed to do better to avoid being unfair to the players.

“The ATP job was an absolute disgrace this week,” Zverev said. “To play a final against Carlos Alcaraz, who for me is the best player in the world at the moment, in a Masters 1000… it’s difficult. I had no coordination today. I had no coordination on my serve, I had no coordination on my groundstrokes I missed two overheads that were super easy because I see the ball and everything moves in my eyes.

He said that during the warm-up he already knew he would struggle.

“I was a bit late all the time. My first step wasn’t so fast,” Zverev said. “If you’re playing the best players in the world, you have to be on top. Otherwise, you won’t stand a chance. Today I had no chance.

Zverev started Saturday’s semi-final match against Stefanos Tsitsipas around 11 p.m. local time and the three-set match ended after 1 a.m. He returned to center court “Caja Mágica” after the match to practice his serve for a few minutes and then had to work. with his physios and eat before returning to the hotel.

Scroll to continue

“I think we’ve all stayed up late, maybe we’ve all partied sometimes, but if you stay up until 4 a.m. the next day, you’re dead,” he said. “I played the next day. If you start again, the next day until 5 am, you will have a hard time even being awake.

Zverev also played the night session against Félix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals, where he won in straight sets.

“I don’t want to take anything away [from Carlos]”, said Zverev. “I’m sad for the final we played, because it could have been a very good match. It could have been a great game. »

The regular scheduling of high-profile late games has been a major source of frustration for the German player.

“It’s quite upsetting because it takes away from a great game. It takes the sport away from tennis. Everyone wanted to see a great fight. Everyone wanted to see high level tennis. But I am also human. I am not a robot,” Zverev said. “I can’t. I just can’t be on my level when this happens every night.

Zverev also had to play late in Acapulco earlier this year.

“The chances are taken away from me,” he said. “In the end, everyone forgets these things. Nobody talks about it, you know. Everyone says, ‘Yeah, it was a bad game, I double faulted, I didn’t play well’ and all that. But look at what happened the previous days. Also, watch what’s really going on behind the scenes. That’s not quite fair, I think.