Ferrero attacks Zverev's ill-discipline

Former world No.1 and French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero says his ex-charge Alexander Zverev is too distracted by social media to win grand slams.

ALEXANDER ZVEREV of Germany.
ALEXANDER ZVEREV of Germany. Picture: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Former world No.1 Juan Carlos Ferrero has reopened old wounds, lashing German ace Alexander Zverev for his inability to break the grand slam domination of tennis's big three.

Ferrero worked with Zverev for eight months in 2017 and 2018 before the pair split in acrimonious fashion following a bust-up at the Australian Open.

At the time, Zverev - then 19-year-old and the game's hottest young talent - accused Ferrero of being disrespectful towards members of his team including his father and coach Alexander Snr.

"That's why I had to stop that relationship," Zverev said.

While believing Zverev would one day get there, Ferrero has previously claimed the German lacked the necessary discipline to break through sooner at grand slam level.

But, in a savage attack, the Spaniard has now blamed the 22-year-old's work ethic as well as the younger generation's obsession with social media over hard work.

"In order to overcome Federer, Nadal or Djokovic, Zverev and the rest of the guys who come after them must improve off the court: from food to fitness," Ferrero said on the 3iGuales podcast.

"I trained Zverev for eigth months and I noticed that. He used to go back and forth a lot in the same match and that's why I think he couldn't win a grand slam yet.

"That irregularity leads him to play the fifth set heads or tails."

Long earmarked as the most likely young star to knock Federer, Nadal and Djokovic from their grand slam perch, Zverev has slipped from third to seventh in the rankings.

But he did reach his maiden grand slam semi-final, on his 19th attempt in Melbourne in January, after just two previous quarter-final showings - both at the French Open on clay.

"Earning a lot of money when you are young can get you dizzy. At that time, the player's environment and their role are key factors," said Ferrero, a three-time grand slam finalist and 2003 Roland Garros champion.

"They have too many distractions off the court - phone calls, social networks, friends who suddenly appear.

"I watch them fooling around on Instagram and not thinking about tennis as it was in our time.

"Zverev was, for example, three hours on the court, but he could not perform quality training for an hour and a half. There were protests. Stops. Anger. Distractions.

"At the time, we collided due to his lack of punctuality and lack of respect for the team members, even though his father helped me a lot."


AAP