Mischa Zverev is finding motivation in his younger brother Alexander’s success as he attempts to restart his career.
The 29-year-old underwent wrist surgery in 2014, and has also had back problems and other injuries. Having been outside the Top 100 for most of the season, he is now on the verge of the Top 50. Zverev has qualified at eight of his previous nine events, and reached the quarterfinals or semifinals at three of his last four tournaments.
“I’m very, very happy," he told the ATP website. "It’s been five years since I’ve seen myself in the Top 100. It’s been a long road with physical and mental injuries."
It has also been a big season for 19-year-old Alexander, who just reached the Top 20 for the first time and is among the ATP’s top young prospects.
“A big factor was my brother," Zverev said, "because he really pushed me, and he made me work hard again and try to do the best I can. I didn’t want to be too far behind hi ... I think we helped each other because we practiced a lot together, and tried to challenge each other and make each other better … He’s a big support too, because in his mind he says, ‘No, you’re not quitting tennis. You’re going to play as long as I play.'"
Having Alexander on tour also motivates him.
”I wouldn’t want him to travel by himself, and me sitting at home doing nothing," he said. "I enjoy traveling and practicing with him."
His desire to return was also boosted by traveling to smaller events with two teenage players during his injury layoff.
“There were times when I just didn’t feel like working hard or playing because I wasn’t very successful,” Zverev said. “...[It] helped me realize how nice tennis is, how important it is. It made me work even harder.”
He is now aiming for his career-high ranking of No. 45, which he reached in 2009. Though he has relatively few points to defend in the first half of next season, the German net-rusher still describes climbing further as ”a tough and long way, and tennis is improving every couple of years.”
“But I want to do it,” he said.
The Zverevs are currently the highest-ranked brothers on the ATP tour.