Alexander Zverev entered 2019 having won the season-ending championships in London. He'll enter the French Open in Paris having won just six matches over his last eight tournaments.
The soon-to-be former No. 5, whose ranking was as high as No. 3 in January, lost to Matteo Berrettini on Tuesday at the Rome Masters, 7-5, 7-5. This was a tough opening-round draw for Zverev; there's no denying that. An Italian opponent ranked in the Top 40 is a difficult task for anyone at the Foro Italico.
But Zverev has lost the benefit of the doubt, along with a slew of matches he's been expected to win, in what's been an extremely disappointing season. Defending Rome finalist points from 2018, Zverev will take a nose dive in the rankings.
More to come on Zverev, from Steve Tignor, later today.