Alexander Zverev said letting his best chance so far at Grand Slam glory slip through his fingers at last year’s U.S. Open has not discouraged him but instead provided extra motivation to get the job done this year.
The 23-year-old German, who for years has been touted as the future of the sport, came tantalizingly close to hoisting the championship trophy at September’s final in Flushing Meadows but ultimately fell to Dominic Thiem in a five-set thriller.
“That loss made me in a way even hungrier,” he told reporters ahead of the Miami Open.
“I was two points away from winning my first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open, but I didn’t at the end of the day. You have to look at those things as well,” he said.
“In a way, this year I feel like I’m more motivated than ever to do well. I’m trying to improve every single aspect of the game to give myself the best chance that I can have.
“I feel like I’m building towards that.”
Zverev’s improved game was on display on Saturday when he dug deep to dispatch fellow young gun Stefanos Tsitsipas to win the Mexican Open.
The big-serving Zverev, who is ranked seventh, said he was not too picky about which Grand Slam title he would like to win first.
“I would like to win them all,” he said with a smile before adding that he is most comfortable on hardcourts and clay.
But he said he was determined not to get too far ahead of himself.
“I’m looking forward to the next weeks. I’m not trying to think of the Grand Slams right now because the Grand Slams are … still a little bit far away,” he said.
“We have four Masters 1000s events before that. I have other big events before that, as well. I’m trying to focus on that, trying to compete in those events, trying to do the (best) job that I can.”