Although Alexander Zverev is back on the practice court, he was never expected to be ready in time for the U.S. Open. Zverev confirmed that on Monday, when he officially withdrew from the season’s final Grand Slam because of the ankle injury he suffered in the French Open semifinals against Rafael Nadal.
The world No. 2 rolled over his right ankle while running to hit a forehand late in the second set. He tore multiple ligaments and had surgery a few days later.
“After further examination in Germany, we received confirmation that all three of the lateral ligaments in my right ankle were torn,” Zverev wrote at the time. “To return to competition as quickly as possible, to ensure all the ligaments heal properly, and to reclaim full stability in my ankle, surgery was the best choice. My rehab starts now and I’ll do everything to come back stronger than ever!”
The 2020 U.S. Open runner-up is back on the practice court, where he was first seen two weeks ago. “Happy kid back at his favorite playground,” Zverev posted via Instagram on August 7.
However, a real tournament–especially one that involves best-of-five-set matches–is a whole different story. As such, the 25-year-old joins a U.S. Open withdrawal list that also includes Gael Monfils and Reilly Opelka. Novak Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, will be forced to withdraw if the United States government does not change its travel restrictions sometime this week.
Zverev’s absence means Nadal will be the No. 2 seed in New York, opposite top-seeded Daniil Medvedev in the draw. Cincinnati runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas, ranked fifth, now gets a top-four seed. Tommy Paul, Maxime Cressy, and Nikoloz Basilashvili will be seeded as a result of the three recent withdrawals. Miomir Kecmanovic will get a seed if one more top 32 player–likely Djokovic–is unable to play.
The U.S. Open begins next Monday and the main draw will be revealed on Thursday.