‘Real deal’ Alexander Zverev still won’t trouble Rafael Nadal at the French Open, says Greg Rusedski

Alexander Zverev might be “the real deal” but the German star won’t be able to touch Rafael Nadal at the French Open, believes Greg Rusedski.

Zverev has long been marked out as a future star of the men’s game after his impressive 6-4 6-4 victory over Dominic Thiem in the final of the Madrid Open on Sunday.

Zverev, who collected his third ATP Masters 1000 title, is now one of five active players to have won three, the others being Roger Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

But Rusedski has dismissed the 21-year-old’s chances of becoming a major threat to Nadal at the French Open later this month, with the world No 2 having beaten Zverev on all four occasions they have met.

“With Rafa, he’s going to get into that forehand side of Zverev and make him play a lot more balls. He returns so much better than Thiem does standing from a deep position, so that is still a big question mark,” said Sky Sports’ expert, Rusedski.

“With Zverev’s five-set record at majors, there’s still a big asterisk there from everything that he’s accomplished. I don’t think his tennis at the moment is quite good enough at the French Open. Possibly in two out of three sets, but not in three out of five.”

Highlights of Zverev's victory against Thiem in the final of the Madrid Open

Annabel Croft is in agreement and says Nadal is better at neutralising a point from his position at the back of the court, where he is able to dictate points.

“When you watch Rafa Nadal do what he does and stand so far back but put enormous height on it, he kind of floats that ball back to the baseline and kind of neutralises the point from there on in and it would be much more difficult for Zverev to really dictate and control from that first strike after the serve.”

Rudeski was impressed with Zverev’s display in Sunday’s final against Thiem, though, and said the 21-year-old showed everyone why he’s world class.

“Everybody talks about this guy being a world No 1 one day. Three Masters titles already at this age. He’s world class and looks the real deal.”

The Masters 1000 Series continues with our coverage of the ATP Italian Open on Sky Sports Arena from 10am on Tuesday.

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