Alexander Zverev will be facing either of Rafael Nadal or Dominic Thiem in the Australian Open semi-finals on Friday and after his quarter-final victory on Wednesday, he joked that he wanted both Nadal and Thiem to spend all their energy and get tired before the semi-final.
Zverev fought off from a set down against Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-final to emerge victorious 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 in two hours and 18 minutes to book his place in his first ever Grand Slam semi-final.
Zverev has long been tipped as the successor to the legacies of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic but despite winning Masters 1000 and ATP Tour Finals, the German could not break grounds in a Grand Slam event but that changed in Melbourne this year. Zverev has dropped only one set on route to the semi-finals and is one of the most fresh players in the men's singles section.
Perhaps that is why Zverev joked that he wanted his last four opponent to tire himself out.
"I would sit in my hotel room with my coke (watching Nadal and Thiem play) and hope they play for 6 hours and get really tired in the match," Zverev chucked in the on-court interview.
Zverev was elated having made it to his first Grand Slam semi-final and expressed that it meant a lot to him.
"It feels awesome. I don't know what to say. I could never break that barrier in Grand Slam, I am happy to be in the semi-final. Stan played a great tournament, I honestly don't know what to say. Thank you so much. You don't know how much this means to me."
Zverev said that he brought changes to his routine in order to take a more relaxed approach and not put himself under undue pressure.
"I worked very hard on it, a lot on it. This is Grand Slam where you're supposed to play your best tennis. I was struggling with everything even waking up in the morning, not just my serve," Zverev said on court.
"I was doing things in a way too professional way. I was not talking to anybody. I wasn't going out with friends. I wasn't having dinner. I was just really almost too focused."
"I changed that a little bit this week," he added.
"I'm doing much more things outside the court. I also was playing that bad at ATP Cup that I didn't have any expectations. I wasn't really expecting myself in the semi-finals or quarter-finals.
"Maybe this is a stepping stone. Maybe this is how it should happen," he said in the post-match press conference.
Zverev was absolutely crushed in the first set by the former Australian Open champion but the German explained how he turned it around.
"I was getting ready to talk to the press after straight sets loss. But I managed to turn it around. I was not used to his ball because I played in the night when it's much colder so I needed a set to get used to it."
Zverev also had a few words for his father-cum-coach. "He's like a normal coach who doesn't like his player much off the court to be honest. We spent a lot of time on court and on the side and then I don't see him till next day. There's a lot of opinion that I should get a new coach but everytime I work with my dad, we prove with my results. He has made me the player I am so I don't see a reason to change. If he tells me he is tired, we can see but he will be a part of my team for a very long time."
Zverev confirmed of his intention to donate all his Australian Open prize money if he wins the title.
"Yes, it is still true... I will keep that promise."@AlexZverev provides an update on his #Aces4BushfireRelief pledge - to donate every single cent of his prize money if he becomes #AO2020 champion.#AusOpen pic.twitter.com/SsWUA9x8k5— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 29, 2020
"I hope I can make it happen. I made the people of Australia a promise. I will keep that promise if it happens. I am not a money-driven person, my parents always taught me to help others with it. Four million Australian dollars would be very nice, I could buy myself a new car but there are people who could build homes and wildlife with it. It is much more important that they get that money."