Alexander Zverev begins his hunt for a first grand slam on Tuesday afternoon in Melbourne. The German is one of the favourites to win it all and is well placed as fourth seed in the half opposite Nadal and Federer. He opens up against Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia, who is hoping to pick up his first main draw win in Australia this year.
Bedene is back representing the country of his birth after a brief spell with the United Kingdom. He had a decent 2018, ending the year inside the top 70. However, much of that success came on his preferred clay surface rather than hard courts.
For Zverev, the slam early exits are not going to cut it anymore for a player who is quite clearly one of the top 5 in the world. He finally made a quarter final in Paris but did so with a lot of hard work, needing multiple 5 setters to do so. Despite this, he is relaxed and not putting too much pressure on himself. “I don’t put any on me actually, to be honest. I’ve never been past the third round, so we’ll see how it goes. But I just want to enjoy being here. I just want to enjoy playing as much as I can.” he said.
Zverev is recovering from a minor ankle injury but there are no concerns it should impact him heading forward. “I’m fine. I’m going to play with the tape. It’s just a little bit uncomfortable, but it’s nothing that can get worse or anything like that.” he added. Barring a disaster, it should be a routine first round for the fourth seed.
Prediction – Alexander Zverev in three sets