LONDON (REUTERS) - German Alexander Zverev eased through his Wimbledon opening round against Dutch qualifier Tallon Griekspoor in straight sets on Tuesday (June 29), leaving himself enough time to watch his country take on England in the last 16 at Euro 2020.
The fourth seed served strongly and was clinical in overpowering Griekspoor 6-3 6-4 6-1 in less than 90 minutes to advance to the second round.
“You guys have about 10 more minutes with me and then I’ve got to leave,” the 24-year-old told reporters, before breaking into a laugh.
“I mean, me and all the German boys, we already set up that we are going to watch it all in my room, because I have kind of like a small apartment where everybody can fit, so at 5:00 (local time) the match starts, I’ve got to be in the hotel because everybody is expecting to be at my place.”
Memories of England’s Euro 1996 semi-final defeat by Germany on penalties, when current coach Gareth Southgate missed from the spot, will still be fresh for some supporters and Zverev did not miss the chance to bring it up.
“I’m expecting a fun match to watch, and hopefully Germany will win. It will be fun if it goes to penalties again,” Zverev said with a smile.
US Open finalist Zverev had lost to qualifiers on his last two visits to the grasscourt Grand Slam but the 124th-ranked Griekspoor, making his Wimbledon main draw debut, did not have the game to challenge the tall German in their first meeting.
Play was suspended due to rain as the roof was closed on Court One with Zverev up a set and a break but the stoppage had no impact on the 24-year-old who continued to land a high percentage of his first serves in to dominate the match.
“It is great to see everything slowly going back to normal. The moment I walked out onto this court made me very happy, to see all the people here,” Zverev, one of the players who could challenge top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the men’s draw, said in his on-court interview.
“I felt comfortable on the court. It is great we have a roof on court one now. Wimbledon is such a historic tournament, and they keep on improving, trying to make it better for the players and the public, and that is why everyone loves this tournament.”
Zverev hit 20 aces, kept his unforced errors low and broke Griekspoor’s serve six times before sealing the match with a backhand winner down the line.
He will play American Tennys Sandgren or Norbert Gombos of Slovakia for a place in the third round.