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Zverev searching for Grand Slam 'mentality' in Melbourne

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Zverev searching for Grand Slam 'mentality' in Melbourne

Zverev searching for Grand Slam 'mentality' in Melbourne

Alexander Zverev believes finding joy in playing on the big stages will be key to a Grand Slam breakthrough

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Zverev searching for Grand Slam 'mentality' in Melbourne

SHOWS: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (JANUARY 12, 2019) (TENNIS AUSTRALIA - FOR NEWS PURPOSES ONLY.

NO ARCHIVE.

NO RESALES) 1.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ALEXANDER ZVEREV SAYING: "I always enjoy playing, I always enjoy competing and playing the sport that I love but there's always high pressure to it and there's always the question 'when are you going to win a Grand Slam?'

And stuff like that.

You know, I came to London and I wasn't playing my best and I lost to Karen Khachanov 6-2 6-1 (at the Paris Masters) and I lost to other guys and I was really not playing well and I came to London and I was saying: 'look, it's the last tournament of the year, we're all tired, we all want to go on holidays and I'm just going to enjoy it as much as I can, I'm playing the best players in the world and I'm just going to see how it goes and at the end of the week I won the tournament.

So I kind of learned out of that and I kind of figured out that I have to have the same mentality when I play at slams and I hope that I can achieve that." 2.

WHITE FLASH 3.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ALEXANDER ZVEREV SAYING: "The ankle's fine, it's just a little bit swollen.

I didn't actually twist it, I just kind of went over it a little bit and what happened was a bone pushed against another bone and there was like inflammation between those two bones but I'm fine, I'm going to play with the tape.

It's just a little bit uncomfortable but it's nothing that can get worse or anything like that so I'm actually quite relaxed about it." STORY: Alexander Zverev believes finding the joy in playing on the biggest stages will be key to his hopes of a Grand Slam breakthrough at the Australian Open after struggling with the pressure of being branded the next big thing of men's tennis.

The 21-year-old German has proved repeatedly he has the weapons to upset titans like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic but has only a solitary quarter-final appearance at the Grand Slams to his credit, at last year's French Open.

Wielding a monster serve and renowned as one of the game's purest shot-makers, the German is still regarded as the most capable of the next generation of players to break the Grand Slam cartel of the old guard.

But he admits he will need a change of mindset when he marches out onto the blue hardcourts at Melbourne Park and play with the same freedom that saw him claim his maiden ATP Tour Finals crown at the end of the 2018 season.

Zverev has never made the second week at Melbourne Park and there was little joy in his third round exit to South Korea's Chung Hyeon last year.

Zverev is now coached by Ivan Lendl, who helped Andy Murray break his long drought at Grand Slams, and has already credited him for helping raise his game.

He has not had an ideal preparation for Melbourne, however, and comes into the tournament without a competitive match under his belt since the November Tour Finals.

He was forced to pull out of the World Tennis Challenge exhibition in Adelaide last week and rolled his ankle during practice at Melbourne Park on Thursday.

He said the ankle had still not completely healed but did not feel it would affect his tournament ahead of a first round match against unseeded Slovene Aljaz Bedene.




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