Alexander Zverev admitted on Saturday his comeback from a June ankle injury will not be a quick fix.
The German learned that lesson as he took to the court for the first time since being stretchered off in a semi-final at Roland Garros against Rafael Nadal, losing in his first return match 6-4, 6-2 against Czech Jiri Lehecka.
The disappointment in Brisbane at the United Cup was a hard lesson for the one-time ATP No. 2 now ranked 12th.
“My tennis is far away from the level I want it to be,” he said. “But that’s normal not playing for seven months.
“I was getting tired a lot quicker than I used to. Physically I’m not as fast as I probably was.
“I’ve only been pain-free for about two, three weeks now, before that I wasn’t able to do all the different kinds of things I want to do.”
The German said recovery will be slow: ” don’t think it will be a matter of tomorrow, the day after tomorrow.
“It will be a few weeks until I’m back to the level I want to be.”
Zverev is keeping his hopes for the Australian Open in check.
“It’s tough to set expectations high right now. It would be unrealistic and also quite stupid for me to set them towards winning or something like that.
“Of course, I want to win, everybody wants to win. For me, it’s about getting back the form that I’m used to.”
Main photo:- French Open Alexander Zverev is taken from the court in a push chair, watched by opponent Rafa Nadal. Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd