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Quote of the Day: Alexander Zverev opens up about diabetes struggles at Roland Garros
“If I don’t do it, my life will be in danger,” the German told press earlier in the week, before the tournament appeared to change its stance regarding his on-court insulin injections.
Published Jun 08, 2023
WATCH: Alexander Zverev defeats Tomas Etcheverry in the 2023 Roland Garros quarterfinals
Alexander Zverev is now free to use insulin to manage his type 1 diabetes as needed—even while a match is in progress—at Roland Garros, after successfully lobbying the tournament to change its stance on his on-court injections.
The German, who was diagnosed with the chronic condition at age three, has opened up about the difficulty he’s experienced throughout his run to the semifinals in Paris. Zverev revealed that he had been asked to inject insulin off the court—using up a bathroom break to do so—and received conflicting instructions from supervisors which he said varied day to day.
"During my last match, they told me this would count as a toilet break," he told Eurosport Germany after his fourth-round win.
"I replied: 'Guys, come on! I only have two toilet breaks in a match but in a best-of-five-match sometimes I have to inject four, or five times…"
“They said it looks weird when I do this on court. But this is not a clever take because if I don’t do it, my life will be in danger. But they said it looks weird," he added.
“I said, ‘What does it look like? That I’m doping?’ This argument makes no sense.”
When the German player revealed his type 1 diabetes diagnosis in 2022, it had already been a talking point among fans and media for similar reasons. Zverev had received scrutiny in 2019 after appearing to check a device inside his gear bag during matches—which would have been against the rules preventing players from communicating by phone. The device turned out to be a glucose monitor.
Insulin is considered a prohibited substance by WADA, and Zverev has been granted a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) from the International Tennis Integrity Agency to use it to regulate his blood sugar levels.
During ATP matches, Zverev occasionally injects his medication on court during changeovers—and now, he’s finally been granted the same permission at Roland Garros, too:
Q: There's been many talks about your injections. What is the situation now? Do you know exactly what you can or can't do on and off the court?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Now I can do whatever I want.
Q: On and off?
ALEXANDER ZVEREV: Yes, that was the ruling. For this week, and then they're going to decide about Wimbledon again.
No. 22 seed Zverev took down Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the semifinals at Roland Garros for the third year in a row. On Friday, he will take on last year’s finalist Casper Ruud for a place in his second Grand Slam final.