Alexander Zverev says he's turned around his reputation for being a Grand Slam under-performer and is now showing he's a contender.
The 23-year-old German had never reached the semifinals of a major before this season, though he had won three Masters titles and the ATP Finals. But that's changed.
"I feel like I’m proving them wrong this year," he said following his first-round win. "I think this started back at the Australian Open this year. I’ve been much calmer during the Grand Slams."
Zverev noted he was "probably the third-best player this year" behind Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic at Grand Slam events, having reached the semifinals of the Australian Open and the finals of the US Open.
And while he's still "frustrated" at allowing a two-set lead slip at Flushing Meadows, Zverev also has new confidence that he can win these events.
"I had one hand on the trophy," he said. "I was two points away on multiple occasions in New York."
The world No. 7 came into the French Open having played no warmup events, instead taking a break following his run at the US Open. "I was on a boat in Monaco doing nothing at all," he said.
But he's got used to the courts since arriving in Paris, winning his first round easily before going five sets in the second round. And having played 23 five-setters in his career, he isn't concerned about playing long matches either.
"I did that at the US Open," he said, having played back-to-back encounters at the event.
The two-time quarterfinalist will next play Marco Cecchinato.