Alexander Zverev was left dumbfounded by a moment of ingenuity from Daniel Altmaier in their first-round match at the Australian Open on Monday.
The German world No. 3 is one of the favourites to win the Australian Open. The 24-year-old – the reigning Olympic and Tour finals champion – has assumed the role of second favourite behind Daniil Medvedev after Novak Djokovic had his visa withdrawn.
The 24-year-old opened his campaign with a match against world No. 87 Daniel Altmaier and was making fairly serene progress, opening up a two-set advantage. However, in the second game of the third set, Altmaier produced an audacious moment that left Zverev stunned and confused.
Australian Open
Tennis Australia reveal 'summer of tennis' calendar ahead of Australian Open
YESTERDAY AT 09:49
Having opened the second set with a hold to love, Zverev delivered a drop shot that appeared to have Altmaier on the run. In fact, the Olympic champion had put so much spin on his return that when it hit the hard court it jolted back towards Zverev's side of the court.
Altmaier thundered towards the net, getting there just in time to extend a deft flick of the wrist while literally hanging over the net to slap the ball away to win the point.
A perplexed Zverev looked at the umpire – perhaps in hope more than expectation – to see if Altmaier had infringed the rules. He hadn’t it turned out, leaving Zverev first to smirk and then laugh.
"Did he reach over?" asked Simon Reed on commentary. "I don’t think he did," added Reed before Miles Maclagan interjected to say:
"I think he did, but he is allowed to because it [the ball] bounced on his side. But it caught out Zverev, who was a little annoyed - he gave up on the point because he could have run that one down.”
A replay showed that Altmaier did well not to touch the net which would have involved him losing the point. All that was left for Zverev to do was ruefully laugh.
- - -
Stream the 2022 Australian Open live and on demand on discovery+. A subscription for discovery+ is now £29.99 for the first year for UK users, down from £59.99
Tennis
Djokovic to begin 2023 season at Adelaide 250 event
30/11/2022 AT 21:57
Tennis
Exclusive: 'We need him' - Ferrero says Djokovic presence crucial for Alcaraz development
29/11/2022 AT 16:47