Alexander Zverev: I told Novak Djokovic he is greatest of all time
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German tennis star Alexander Zverev was thrilled and delighted after securing a medal for Germany at the Tokyo Olympics. Zverev, ranked at No. 5 in the world, stunned world No. 1 Novak Djokovic 1-6 6-3 6-1 in the Tokyo Olympics semifinal.
"It's an amazing feeling, knowing that you're going to bring the medal back to your house, back home to Germany," Zverev said, per the ITF website. "It's incredible beating the best player in the world undoubtedly right now, and in this season.
It seemed it was impossible to beat him at this event, so I’m very happy right now. But there's still one match to go." After the match, Zverev stopped Djokovic at the net and had a few words for him. "I told him that he's the greatest of all time, and he will be," Zverev said of the duo's exchange at the net.
"I know that he was chasing history, chasing the golden slam and was chasing the Olympics, but in these kind of moments me and Novak are very close. Of course I'm happy that I've won, but at the end of the day I know how Novak feels."
Zverev completed a big comeback
Djokovic earned two breaks in the first set to easily win the opener and then broke in the fifth game of the second set.
After taking a 6-1 3-2 lead, Djokovic's game suddenly shut down as Zveev won eight games in a row to completely overturn the deficit. "I was playing his game, I was rallying with him a lot, so I needed to change it up, I needed to swing through the ball a little bit more," Zverev explained of his part in the turnaround.
"I started playing much more aggressive, and yeah, I tried to dominate that way." Zverev will be fighting against Karen Khachanov for the gold medal. "You're not only playing for yourself," Zverev explained. "You are playing for the whole country, for the people here, for everybody watching and supporting you." In the first semifinal of the day, Khachanov beat Pablo Carreno Busta.
“It was so important to win today because at least you know for sure that you’re guaranteed a medal, which is one of the dreams come true,” admitted Khachanov. “But obviously, you need to find motivation and excitement, and I will try to be prepared for the final and fight for the gold”.