Alexander Zverev, one of tennis’s two juvenile prodigies, claimed a tough win over Jan-Lennard Struff today and left the court on a pungent note. After beating his fellow German in this Munich Open quarterfinal, Zverev gestured at the clay and said, unmistakably, “This is my fucking court.” By the sport’s prudish norms, he might as well have have dropped a load onto the red dirt.
Despite his upside, the world No. 20 has stumbled through the early clay season. Zverev got washed by the king of the surface—6-1, 6-1 to Rafa in Monte Carlo—and also by a fellow 20-year-old upstart—6-1, 6-4 to Hyeon Chung in Barcelona. So he was presumably relieved to grind out this third-set tiebreak win over No. 48 Struff, who recently upset Grigor Dimitrov, and play the Munich semifinal for the second-straight year.
A game this staid would clearly benefit from more unvarnished, colorful expression on court—short of this—and the next generation seems more than capable of providing it. We welcome, and ignore, all of John McEnroe’s comically hypocritical finger-wagging from the commentator’s booth.