Mischa Zverev talks of ‘incredible’ and ‘phenomenal’ feeling after emotional Eastbourne title win

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Just three years ago, around March of the 2015 season, Mischa Zverev’s mind was firmly away from his performances on a tennis court. The sequence of injury after injury was a huge weight on his shoulders, but fast-forward three years and Zverev has now claimed the first tour-level title of his career, by beating Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko in the Nature Valley International final, 6-4, 6-4.

Zverev had really hit rock bottom in the 2015 season. He suffered a fractured wrist, a lower back problem, two fractured ribs and a tear in the patella tendon of his knee, which really made the German contemplate whether it was truly worth making another go of his career. The influence, guidance and reassurance of his younger brother, Alexander, who is a   Top-5 player on the ATP tour, was something that really encouraged Mischa to put the hard work in and to battle his way back up the ATP rankings.

Not only did Mischa Zverev have no confidence that he could return to a decent level in the game, he was also finding it hard to believe that he could hit over his backhand again with the ongoing wrist troubles he was having, but slowly and surely he started to put together some match-wins in the 2016 season, but it was the first quarter-final showing at the 2017 Australian Open, where he beat top-seed Andy Murray, that really confirmed he had made a successful return, implementing his serve and volley game to perfection and now he is looking to put together that old school, vibrant brand of tennis on the grass at Wimbledon.

At 30-years-of-age, Mischa Zverev now is a first-time ATP title winner and it could not come at a better time for him. He had previously made two ATP finals, once on the hard courts and another on the clay, but the German’s game suits the conditions of a grass court perfectly and he showed just that with the aggressive nature of his game in today’s final.

“Felt amazing, yes. It was definitely one of the emotional moments in my life. Beating Andy in Australia was special, but there you win a match, you’re still in, the tournament’s not over. But here you’re the last one standing, pretty much, at the end of the week, and you have the trophy, so it’s definitely a very unique feeling. I always wanted to win at least a title. For many years I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t think I was going to do it, especially when I was ranked 1100. But thank God I have my family and my brother and the whole team, my wife who is always telling me, no, you can achieve things, you can do big things. Just believe in yourself, work hard, and it’s going to pay off one day. Luckily I have them, and luckily I was able to listen to them, believe in myself, and just keep working and wait for it. Finally, I’m here. It’s, yeah, incredible.”

It really is a perfectly sweet ending to a memorable tournament at Eastbourne as Zverev illustrates that you may feel you are at the very bottom with no real hope or ambition, but with enough fight, courage and determination, you can make a lot out of a difficult situation. The German now strives to finish the year as high in the rankings as he can after the most special moment of his long career.

“Actually, try to improve my career high ranking. Just see what I still have in me. Just be up there. I think I want to finish top 50 and try to play well and stay healthy and be ranked top 100 for as many years as possible.”

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