‘I can’t breathe…I had fever,’ says Zverev after shock defeat

Alexander Zverev raised health concerns after losing in four sets to Italian wonderkid Jannik Sinner

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US Open finalist Alexander Zverev revealed that he had been feeling ill before and during the match against Italian wonderkid Jannik Sinner at the French Open on Sunday.

The German sixth seed, looking out of sorts on the day, went down 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 3-6 to the 19-year-old in the fourth round at Roland Garros.

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“I was completely sick after the match with (Marco) Cecchinato in the night,” Zverev told reporters after the defeat.

“Yeah, what can I say? I am completely sick. I can’t really breathe, as you can hear by my voice. I had a fever as well. It was 38. It was 38 in the night or in the evening.

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“I am not in the best physical state, I would say. I think that had a little bit of an effect on the match today.”

A coughing Zverev had the doctor and the trainer on court during the first set, showing them his throat. At the following change of sides, the German again had them at his side and took a pill, being told by the doctor to take another one 30 minutes later.

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The French Open, which is usually played in May-June, was rescheduled to start in September this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The novel virus is still well and truly around and the immediate concerns were whether Zverev had contracted it.

But the 23-year-old assured that he and his team had tested negative for Covid-19 and apart from the fever he had no other typical symptoms.

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Meanwhile, Sinner became the youngest male player since Novak Djokovic in 2006 to feature in the last eight at Roland Garros.

Having made his first Grand Slam quarterfinals, he faces the sternest test as he takes on 12-time champion Rafael Nadal next.

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The Italian, winner of last year’s NextGen ATP Finals, dropped a set for the first time in the tournament when he lost the third set against Zverev. But he continued to take the ball very early, making his 23-year-old opponent look old at times.

Sinner wrapped up victory on a windswept Court Suzanne Lenglen with a booming forehand that Zverev could only return into the net.