Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, the supposed next generation of men’s tennis, were shock casualties in the first round at Wimbledon.
Novak Djokovic’s potential path to the final looks even clearer after the young guns, both in the defending champion’s half of the draw, fired blanks.
Sixth seed Zverev went down in four sets to qualifier Jiri Vesely, the world number 124.
The 22-year-old slipped at a crucial moment to give away two match points, and then netted the first as Czech Vesely celebrated a surprise 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 triumph.
Zverev, who has endured a poor year so far, admitted his confidence has taken a battering and alluded to issues off the court.
“When I get to the important moments – and I had five or six break points in the fourth set alone – I can’t take any of those,” he said.
“I’m down one break point myself and he takes it immediately, where I miss an easy volley. I didn’t lose this match on tennis. It’s just my confidence is below zero right now.
“The last two days, I would say (were) very rough for me personally. I’m not going to get into details, but I’m just saying. I have to fix that to play well on the court.”
Around 20 minutes later Tsitsipas, having saved two match points in the fourth set, succumbed to the third as he was turfed out 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (8), 6-3 by Italian Thomas Fabbiano.
Zverev and Tsitsipas are supposedly at the head of the pack attempting to chase down Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. On this evidence the big three are still a long way in the lead.
Tsitsipas said: “We’ve seen players my age, many years ago – I would like to name Rafa, Roger – seemed very mature and professional what they were doing. They had consistency from a young age. They always did well, tournament by tournament, without major drops or inconsistency.
“Something that we as the Next Gen players lack, including myself, is this consistency week by week. It’s a week-by-week problem basically, that we cannot adjust to that.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
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