The German is adamant that although the euphoric feeling from achieving Olympic glory has not fully faded he is ready to get back to business at the Western & Southern Open.
“Am I still on Cloud Nine now? Yeah, a little bit,” Zverev said in his pre-tournament press conference. “Winning that medal is the biggest thing that can happen in any sport, because the Olympics are very special. You’re not only competing for yourself, you’re competing for a lot of people.
“It is a very special feeling. But I’ve got to get back to playing so I’ve got to forget that feeling a little bit and I’ve got to start working again and start competing again. I am extremely hungry. I’m not satisfied yet.”
The Western & Southern Open has not been the 24-year-old’s favourite tournament in terms of results, as Zverev is yet to win a match at the event in the six years that he has participated. Despite the poor record, the four-time ATP Masters 1000 champion is feeling confident heading into the week.
“I’m happy to be here. I’m happy to hopefully change how Cincinnati has usually gone for me. I’m looking forward to competing and proving that I’m still one of the best players,” Zverev said. “Yes, I know that I’m having a pretty good year, so I am extremely happy with that, but there is a Masters coming up and there is a Grand Slam coming up. Those are two very important and big tournaments.”
Zverev, who has a 33-11 match record in 2021 including three titles (Acapulco, Madrid and Tokyo Olympics), will play his opening match against the winner of South African Lloyd Harris and Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka. The German is overjoyed that a crowd will be in attendance for the event, as he believes fans are vital to the sport.
“I’m extremely happy to see so many people, because I have always said that live sports and sports in general need spectators, because the spectators bring emotions,” Zverev said. “I think it’s great to see the crowd back. It’s great to see that life is slowly going back to normal. I think a lot of people have missed that.”