By Richard Pagliaro | Thursday, July 1, 2021
Alexander Zverev knows reigning champion Novak Djokovic is first-rate Wimbledon favorite, but the US Open finalist isn’t playing for second place.
Zverev zapped 13 aces and did not drop serve defeating Tennys Sandgren 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 to roll into the Wimbledon third round without dropping a set.
The fourth-seeded German, who will face either Taylor Fritz or Steve Johnson for a trip to the round of 16, said he’s not conceding anything to world No. 1 Djokovic, who stands halfway to the calendar Grand Slam as he chases a record-tying 20th major title.
“I do believe I’m at a stage where I come to a tournament to win it,” Zverev said. “I think it’s no secret that Novak is the favorite. I think he’s an even bigger favorite here than all the other Grand Slams simply because of the surface.
“I think I said that before. I think the young guys still need to learn how to play on a grass court. But we are doing that with each year. We need to learn how to move on it, we need to know the position of the court.”
Though the 24-year-old Zverev has played just four grass matches in the past two years and SW19 is the only major where he’s yet to surpass the fourth round, his heavy first serve is a massive weapon on lawn.
Contesting his 24th major, Zverev has been a consistent performer in recent Grand Slams backing up his US Open final run with an Australian Open quarterfinal and Roland Garros semifinal appearance and he’s in the bottom half of the draw opposite top-seeded Djokovic.
“But I think I’ve said it before, I’m not in a position right now where I’m satisfied with just a quarterfinal or a semifinal, something like that,” Zverev said. “I am here to compete and at least give myself the best chance to do so.”
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