Zverev - Bad decision making is costing him massively

REKX

Rookie
As a Federer and Nadal fan, I have found myself watching less and less tennis. I'm not sure if we will see matches like Wimbledon 2008 again.

Zverev had the hypothetical game to beat Alcaraz today (on this surface).

His base game works quite well. Like a prime Thiem or Wawrinka or Soderling at the French, he has to hit very hard and play through players. It's the only way with his ability and body type I would say. Any tentative shot will get punished, especially a player with the mobility and range of skill like Alcaraz.

I don't understand some of his decision making.

When he had time and openings, he would hit hard but in areas which allow Alcaraz to come back.

He missed a lot of 1/2 opportunities on his serve. Serve would be good, follow up shot would give Alcaraz openings.

His net play had issues today, he kept giving Alcaraz opportunities.

Return of serve let him down.

When the big 3 found issues, they worked with their coaches to sort them out - surely Zverev could look at these issues, work on them and become a favourite for Roland Garros in the future?

He's not far off.
 

Sport

G.O.A.T.
As a Federer and Nadal fan, I appreciate the subtle artistic value and seriousness of former horror movies like Steven Spielberg's Jaws. No CGI BS, which started around the time the Wimbledon 2008 final was disputed. John Williams executed with brilliant precission Jaws' score, resulting in one of the, if not the, scariest movie I've ever witnessed.
 
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BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
As a Federer and Nadal fan, I appreciate the subtle artistic value and seriousness of former horror movies like Steven Spielberg's Jaws. No CGi BS, which started around the time the Wimbledon 2008 final was disputed. John Williams executed with brilliant precission Jaws' score, resulting in one of the, if not the, scariest movie I've ever witnessed.
Sport's finest post ever. (y)
 

Open Stance

Professional
Too much pushing from Z in the 4th and 5th sets. He was very effective taking time away from Alcaraz in the 2nd and 3rd by playing hard down the middle and forcing a bunch of errors. Z also needs to learn how to S&V so he can take away the returner standing at the back fence.
 

TennisBro

Professional
His net play had issues today, he kept giving Alcaraz opportunities.
When Carlos began with his moon-balls in 4th and 5th sets, Alex should've gone to net rather than counter the moon with the moon. If you tall, take your height as an advantage!
 

MeatTornado

Talk Tennis Guru
It may be a dumb, simplistic take, but I think he just ran out of gas. It's hard to keep cracking the ball and be in the right position for each hit when you're 3-4 hours into the match after a long 2 weeks of matches. You could see he was starting to slow down in the 4th, and even more so in the 5th he was hardly moving compared to earlier. Alcaraz' serve became way more effective because Zed was suddenly late on a lot of them.

The backhand never really let him down, but he was hitting a lot more of them from an off-balanced position compared to the first couple sets.
 

mental midget

Hall of Fame
It may be a dumb, simplistic take, but I think he just ran out of gas. It's hard to keep cracking the ball and be in the right position for each hit when you're 3-4 hours into the match after a long 2 weeks of matches. You could see he was starting to slow down in the 4th, and even more so in the 5th he was hardly moving compared to earlier. Alcaraz' serve became way more effective because Zed was suddenly late on a lot of them.

The backhand never really let him down, but he was hitting a lot more of them from an off-balanced position compared to the first couple sets.
i think that's a part of it, didn't look like he was overflowing with energy, even at the start. couple thoughts:

- looked like the ball was playing him for long stretches in the match. when he stepped up to it, it became a different match.
- not saying he needs to become edberg but he stays back on WAY too many balls after he's clearly hurt his opponent. let alcaraz out of jail with point-resetting squash shots etc. far too often.
- something about his forehand, he doesn't seem to be able to lay the racket back to hit dtl while making contact out in front...weird. when he lays into his cc forehand though it's great, very heavy, was yanking carlos off the court...just not enough of it.

in general though, i mean...alcaraz is the better player, on this surface at least almost certainly. not sure how he won those sets tbh he did ok given he was almost certainly a little gassed as you said. and kudos for his absolutely outrageous 1st serve %...he does that a lot, it's pretty extraordinary really for somebody going 130+ most of the time. maybe that will pay dividends at the uso.
 

urban

Legend
Alcaraz indeed stood way back on the return, almost in the stands, and gave Zverev a lot of free room on the court. Becker noticed on Eurosport early on, that Zeverv should shorten the points, by coming in more. Zverev himself is playing imo too far back from the baseline, he should go a meter or so more into the field, he has long arms and can handle high bounces with his long reach. When the return was played, Alcaraz did move in and was the more offensive player.
 

No_Kwan_Do

Semi-Pro
Put it this way, someone on this forum called out Zverev's subpar net game and 2nd serve over 7 years ago. Guess what? He still has a subpar net game and 2nd serve, and that sub-par net game arguably cost him a crucial break in that final yesterday.

Either he's tried to improve those aspects of his game and couldn't, or he's that arrogant that he doesn't think he needs to in order to win the biggest tournaments. Either way, it's not the sign of a major winner.
 

ey039524

Professional
He plays a lot of doubles, usually w Melo. They can compete w top teams. I don't know why he doesn't end more points at the net.

The double faults will continue w his current form (he has a hitch in his serve that becomes a full pause under pressure).
 

Kralingen

Bionic Poster
I don’t think people on TV quite understand how much intensity it takes to stay in a rally with Raz, and why basically every opponent he plays has gassed out by the 5th. The intensity of his rally ball, the amount of explosion needed to sustain a rally with him, the own weight you need to put in your own shots, it adds up.

On the other hand, Zverev has a crap forehand has always had a crap forehand*, and always will have a crap forehand

*spring 2017, some indoor seasons, and Summer 2021 aside
 

NeutralFan

G.O.A.T.
I don’t think people on TV quite understand how much intensity it takes to stay in a rally with Raz, and why basically every opponent he plays has gassed out by the 5th. The intensity of his rally ball, the amount of explosion needed to sustain a rally with him, the own weight you need to put in your own shots, it adds up.

On the other hand, Zverev has a crap forehand has always had a crap forehand*, and always will have a crap forehand

*spring 2017, some indoor seasons, and Summer 2021 aside

His FH was just fine till 3rd set.
 
When you look at how badly Zverev struggled with the high balls, I wish Nadal used that tactic in their R1 match...
And Nadal served for the 2nd Set at 6-5, and was up a break early in the 3rd Set, so a small adjustment tactically would have won him at least 2 sets.
Even though Nadal's match was indoor, you can still keep Zverev pinned back with the high ball, and Nadal played with more height in their 2022 RG meeting which was also indoor.
Trying to out-hit Zverev with power, is not a good idea, at least not early in the rally...
 

a10best

Legend
Zev was lucky to be gifted the 3rd set and then he lost like Nadal's past FO opponents in the last two sets.
Zev has a lot to work on like confidence and memory in closeout sets of a slam final.
He should stop looking at his coach every point he loses complaining what do I do? If he can't figure out at age 27 what he was doing wrong against an opponent he's played 10 times and beat 2 yrs ago soundly at the same tournament with a full day of rest I don't know what he can do.
 
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TheSlicer

Hall of Fame
Problem is Alcaraz also had the hypothetical Game to beat zed, and just played better for longer, its really that simple, also he has more tools, so when something isnt working he can use something else, you cant just say, oh why didnt he play his best for 4 hours? He could have won... Yeah well, not everybody IS likethe Big 3, its not only about working on your weaknesses with your coaches, sometimes you just cant keep improving, each player has their strenghts and weaknesses
 

ibbi

G.O.A.T.
I don't think it's his decision-making as much as it's his confidence, his cajones. Especially the 1-2 punch on serve. Split-second decision-making is important, sure, but guts help you to do that.

As you say, he knew the gameplan, but he couldn't sustain it over the course of 3 sets. That's what makes this form of the game hard. He was incredible in sets 2 and 3 except for literally one game, but that's not enough. I literally said at the end of set 2 in the match thread, 'it is not possible for him to sustain that', and it wasn't.
 
He’s a mental midget that goes brain dead in finals (The US open already showed this). There’s really nothing technically or gameplay wise you can fix when you get stage fright or taking a finals match over and step on the accelerator even more. Sure he could have done some things different but that the important thing he cant replace. His brain. There’s a reason he’s still slamless

Oh sure he has the game to beat anyone without the pressure of the finals. Mentally he would probably collapse and lose to a high school player in a slam finals

He plays good enough to get to the finals then forgets what brought him there to begin with. Damn near every time

Medvedev is the same way. But at least he won a slam
 
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I don't think it's his decision-making as much as it's his confidence, his cajones. Especially the 1-2 punch on serve. Split-second decision-making is important, sure, but guts help you to do that.

As you say, he knew the gameplan, but he couldn't sustain it over the course of 3 sets. That's what makes this form of the game hard. He was incredible in sets 2 and 3 except for literally one game, but that's not enough. I literally said at the end of set 2 in the match thread, 'it is not possible for him to sustain that', and it wasn't.
I agree, Zverev had the confidence to "hit through the ball" in the 3rd Set, but began nursing the ball in the 4th Set because he got nervous about the finish-line.
 

beltsman

G.O.A.T.
Issues:
1) His mentality wilts in big matches that are tight
2) His FH turns into a push shot
3) He doesn't utilize his serve+1 well, thus partially negating his big serve
4) His net play leaves something to be desired
5) His second serve is weak
6) He ran out of gas today

Pros:
1) His BH is lethal
2) His big serve
3) His FH CAN be very effective
4) He doesn't give up
 
His base game works quite well. Like a prime Thiem or Wawrinka or Soderling at the French, he has to hit very hard and play through players. It's the only way with his ability and body type I would say. Any tentative shot will get punished, especially a player with the mobility and range of skill like Alcaraz.

I don't understand some of his decision making.

When he had time and openings, he would hit hard but in areas which allow Alcaraz to come back.

He missed a lot of 1/2 opportunities on his serve. Serve would be good, follow up shot would give Alcaraz openings.

His net play had issues today, he kept giving Alcaraz opportunities.

Return of serve let him down.

When the big 3 found issues, they worked with their coaches to sort them out - surely Zverev could look at these issues, work on them and become a favourite for Roland Garros in the future?

He's not far off.
He cannot hit his FH like those three can. If he could, he’d already be #1 and a mulitple slam champion.
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
He cannot hit his FH like those three can. If he could, he’d already be #1 and a mulitple slam champion.
It's hilarious that anyone thinks Zedrot has a FH like Soderling. Peak Soderling FH is literally at Wawrinka's peak level BH. Zverev in his entire career hasn't hit as many massive FH's as Soderling did in his 2009 victory over Rafa at RG.
 

Al Czervik

Hall of Fame
It may be a dumb, simplistic take, but I think he just ran out of gas. It's hard to keep cracking the ball and be in the right position for each hit when you're 3-4 hours into the match after a long 2 weeks of matches. You could see he was starting to slow down in the 4th, and even more so in the 5th he was hardly moving compared to earlier. Alcaraz' serve became way more effective because Zed was suddenly late on a lot of them.

The backhand never really let him down, but he was hitting a lot more of them from an off-balanced position compared to the first couple sets.
That's how I see it. The only thing that cracked in my opinion is the three of four volleys he should have made in the fifth set. His game plan was fine. I thought he was taking control after the third. He just got a little tired. I think they were both somewhat wobbly at the end.
 

The Blond Blur

G.O.A.T.
As a Federer and Nadal fan, I have found myself watching less and less tennis. I'm not sure if we will see matches like Wimbledon 2008 again.
cf3.gif
 

ojo rojo

Legend
As a Federer and Nadal fan, I appreciate the subtle artistic value and seriousness of former horror movies like Steven Spielberg's Jaws. No CGI BS, which started around the time the Wimbledon 2008 final was disputed. John Williams executed with brilliant precission Jaws' score, resulting in one of the, if not the, scariest movie I've ever witnessed.
download (1)
.
 

socallefty

G.O.A.T.
Zverev reverts to passive mode most of the time and is the Andy Murray of his time. The only times that Murray won Slams was when Lendl badgered and bullied him into playing more aggressively. Djokovic lost a bunch of Slam finals playing passively between 2012-2014 before he hired Becker also. Djokovic has been at his best playing under big-serving offensive ex-player coaches like Becker and Goran.

When Zverev plays aggressively throughout a match, he will win Slams and has the game for it on clay and hard courts. But he won’t unless he finds the right coach to push him. He played aggressively when behind in the 3rd set and then reverted back to form (passive mode) in the fourth which cost him. By the fifth, Alcaraz was back to being super-confident mentally and Zverev could not keep up. Alcaraz also caused him a lot of problems with his variety including moonballs because Zverev is a rhythm player who likes to hit the same shots over and over while waiting for errors. That kind of style gets you into the second week of Slams, but doesn’t win the semis and finals typically against the elite players.
 
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urban

Legend
I read a stat, that Alcaraz had 39 forehand winners to Zverevs 24, while he trailed by 13-14 winners on the backhand. Overall Alcaraz won 153 points to 139 points, after 3 sets Zverev was leading the points score by 10 points. The massive difference in forehand winners (15 more) tells something about the more aggressive player. Especially in the fifth set, the attacking forehand was falling in.
 
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ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
My key to the game was that Zverev absolutely needed his best serving day because there isn't a single area outside of that he is better than Alcaraz. That would at least keep the sets close. We saw serious drops in focus for Alcaraz that allowed Zverev in as well. Otherwise, there isn't and hasn't been any version of Zverev that can consistently match up with Alcaraz in my book.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
My key to the game was that Zverev absolutely needed his best serving day because there isn't a single area outside of that he is better than Alcaraz. That would at least keep the sets close. We saw serious drops in focus for Alcaraz that allowed Zverev in as well. Otherwise, there isn't and hasn't been any version of Zverev that can consistently match up with Alcaraz in my book.
Even that is not a viable strategy as serving is nullified on clay.
 
My key to the game was that Zverev absolutely needed his best serving day because there isn't a single area outside of that he is better than Alcaraz. That would at least keep the sets close. We saw serious drops in focus for Alcaraz that allowed Zverev in as well. Otherwise, there isn't and hasn't been any version of Zverev that can consistently match up with Alcaraz in my book.
Isn’t his backhand a little better than Alvarez’s?
 

Quaichang

Professional
As a Federer and Nadal fan, I have found myself watching less and less tennis. I'm not sure if we will see matches like Wimbledon 2008 again.

Zverev had the hypothetical game to beat Alcaraz today (on this surface).

His base game works quite well. Like a prime Thiem or Wawrinka or Soderling at the French, he has to hit very hard and play through players. It's the only way with his ability and body type I would say. Any tentative shot will get punished, especially a player with the mobility and range of skill like Alcaraz.

I don't understand some of his decision making.

When he had time and openings, he would hit hard but in areas which allow Alcaraz to come back.

He missed a lot of 1/2 opportunities on his serve. Serve would be good, follow up shot would give Alcaraz openings.

His net play had issues today, he kept giving Alcaraz opportunities.

Return of serve let him down.

When the big 3 found issues, they worked with their coaches to sort them out - surely Zverev could look at these issues, work on them and become a favourite for Roland Garros in the future?

He's not far off.
He started too passive and it set the tone for the rest of the match. I think this was a big missed opportunity for Z because the level of play from Carlitos was not great.
 

Robert C

Rookie
Put it this way, someone on this forum called out Zverev's subpar net game and 2nd serve over 7 years ago. Guess what? He still has a subpar net game and 2nd serve, and that sub-par net game arguably cost him a crucial break in that final yesterday.

Either he's tried to improve those aspects of his game and couldn't, or he's that arrogant that he doesn't think he needs to in order to win the biggest tournaments. Either way, it's not the sign of a major winner.

Maybe the sign of a major winner is someone who takes a future ATG to 5 sets in the final of a major?!

The idea that someone could get so close and yet be incapable of ever winning a major is not the most capable thinking.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Maybe the sign of a major winner is someone who takes a future ATG to 5 sets in the final of a major?!

The idea that someone could get so close and yet be incapable of ever winning a major is not the most capable thinking.
Don't see why not.
 

Robert C

Rookie
It seems as though Zverev is a very poor five set player against top competition. Losing a slam final after being 2 sets up and another, being up 2-1 sets, is very sad for any player.
It’s foolish to find conclusive patterns from 2 matches.
 

SonnyT

Legend
Zverev has the right weapons to beat Carlos, but just choked. Winning 3 games in the final 2 sets? But what's new, this wasn't the first time in a slam final! Remember his 2020 performance against Thiem!

Just like Sinner choked, just as badly as Zverev.
 

fedfan24

Hall of Fame
He’s 6”6 or something but pushes his FH like a little guy most of the time. Didn’t come in behind the serve enough and missed a few easy volleys when he did. Mentally weak.
 

Tano

Semi-Pro
It's simple, Zverev is a specialist in best-of-three-set matches.
He will probably never win a GS title in his career.
 

Steve Huff

G.O.A.T.
Personally, I think he should model his game after, or similarly to, Ivan Lendl. On a good shot, come in a little, and punish the next ball from inside the baseline. Don't worry about volleying (especially on clay).
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
When you said “bad decision making is costing Zverev massively”, I thought you were talking about his personal life, in which case I’d say his poor decision making isn’t costing him enough.
 

Robert C

Rookie
Zverev has the right weapons to beat Carlos, but just choked. Winning 3 games in the final 2 sets? But what's new, this wasn't the first time in a slam final! Remember his 2020 performance against Thiem!

Just like Sinner choked, just as badly as Zverev.

It’s very bizarre, this strong desire to see everything as a “choke”. As though all but about one or two players in the world have severe mental problems. It’s some sort of psychological issue, wanting to look down on people.
 

Rafa4LifeEver

G.O.A.T.
My key to the game was that Zverev absolutely needed his best serving day because there isn't a single area outside of that he is better than Alcaraz. That would at least keep the sets close. We saw serious drops in focus for Alcaraz that allowed Zverev in as well. Otherwise, there isn't and hasn't been any version of Zverev that can consistently match up with Alcaraz in my book.
Alcaraz let him off the hook in set 3. It could've been an easy 4 sets win for the Spaniard but he made life harder for himself.
 
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