Alexander Zverev Australian Open 2022

‘Never hear Nadal, Federer or Djokovic mention money’ – Wilander questions Alexander Zverev’s motivations

Mats Wilander questioned Alexander Zverev’s drive after a shock Australian Open defeat but still predicts him to “win a Slam this year.”

After breezing through the first three rounds without dropping a set, Zverev suffered a shock straight-set defeat of his own when he lost to Denis Shapovalov in the fourth round.

This loss earned him heavy criticism from both Germany’s greatest male player ever Boris Becker and seven-time Grand Slam champion Wilander. Becker slammed Zverev for “lacking effort,” whilst Wilander feels Zverev won’t dominate.

Should Zverev have beaten Shapovalov he would have faced 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals.

Zverev is yet to win a Grand Slam, coming closest in 2020 when he reached the US Open final, but has previously outlined his ambitious goals to start winning Slams and overtake Novak Djokovic as the World number One.

When asked by Eurosport presenter Alize Lim about the sacrifices players have to make, Zverev mentioned the financial aspect of elite level sports.

Zverev responded “it’s a sacrifice but it’s something I enjoy doing. I can make good money from it, and good living with it.”

Such a comment made Mats Wilander question the German star’s motivations and drive.

Speaking with Lim, Wilander said “I thought it was interesting when you asked him about sacrifices that you make when you’re on tour.

“I’ve never really heard Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic mention money and Sascha [Zverev] actually mentioned that ‘yeah being away from home blah blah blah, but it’s a good job, I’m gonna make a bunch of money’ and I’m like, whoa, that is interesting.

“Ranking points, championships, I get it. So I hope Sasha gets it together that he actually just doesn’t want to be [World] number one, but actually needs deep in his heart to be the best player that he can be and doesn’t hope that it just comes to him automatically.

“We’re used to this with Rafa and Roger and Novak. They have set the bar. They set the bar so high, these three, that we come to expect that’s what you have to do. It’s so tough to do,” Wilander claimed.

“Sascha will find it I think. He will still be [World] number one. I think he will win a Slam this year. It just wasn’t a good day today and we need to figure out why.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.