ATP Firsts: Mischa Zverev

Germany’s Mischa Zverev, who faces countryman Peter Gojowczyk in the semi-finals of the Moselle Open on Saturday, tells about his imaginary tennis matches with Andre Agassi and his most emotional moment on court.

First moment I realised I loved tennis?
Subconsciously, maybe when I was like zero years old and my Mom gave birth to me! I was always around tennis courts and I was always enjoying being around tennis courts. My Mom was telling me that when I was very little, when I was less than two years old, I would grab like a brush or something that had the shape of a tennis racquet and clear my room and play imaginary matches against Agassi, like five-set matches. I think that’s when I realised that I really liked tennis!

First coach and the most important lesson he/she taught me?
My Dad. The most important stroke he taught me was the volley and the most important lesson was: ‘If you make the right decisions on court, you’re going to get rewarded.’ So, no matter what you feel like doing, or if you’re nervous or up and down, just try to do the right thing.

First pinch-me moment on the ATP World Tour?
I don’t know… Because I feel like now I enjoy tennis more than I used to. The most recent and most special one was actually beating Isner from two sets to love down (in the 2017 Australian Open second round). That was so emotional because I’d been two sets to love down, match point down, break point down in the fourth. It was the most incredible match and the most emotional moment by far.

First time I was recognised?
I want to say it was a while back in France, because I feel like French people enjoy tennis. I think I was at an airport in Nice or something and the person who was checking my passport I think he recognised me. I want to say that was in 2009, or something like that. A while back. It was really surprising!

First time I travelled to a tournament abroad?
I was 11 or 12 years old. I don’t remember where we went, but it wasn’t a fun trip! Back then there was no wifi. I’m sure it was not a first class ticket. It was probably by car or by train for like 10 or 11 hours just reading a book.

First thing I bought with my prize money?
A house in Florida. That was the first big purchase. But I’m not giving out the address!

First autograph I got?
This might sound so funny, but I think I was in Hamburg and my club was the training facility for the Rothenbaum tournament. And the first guy whose autograph I got, and I asked ‘Who is it?’, was Daniel Nestor! He was ranked like 90th in singles back then and that was around 1997, or something like that. I don’t still have the autograph!

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