Alexander Zverev admitted that his heart just wasn’t on court Tuesday as the second seed at the Swiss Indoors crashed out in the opening round 7-6(7), 6-4 to American Taylor Fritz on Tuesday.
The exit came swiftly for the German who won the year-end ATP Finals a year ago but is now in danger of not qualifying into the eight-man field.
The danger signals will only be amplified next week at the Paris Masters, when the world No. 6 will hope to gather his resources in a final week of qualifying battles.
Zverev hit the wall in the Basel first round after playing the Shanghai Masters final only days ago, where he lost to fast-rising Russian Daniil Medvedev.
“I was completely flat for some reason,” Zverev said, “I was tired and not focused at all. It was a weird feeling.”
Zverev was defending a Basel semi-final but showed zero spark in his game.
“The way I played today, in my current mental stage, I’m not gonna beat anybody,” the German said. “I’m very disappointed but it’s more about myself than the result.”
Zverev stands provisional seventh in the London points list but is being challenged by Italians Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini, a Tuesday winner in Basel 6-2, 6-4 over Alexei Popyrin of Australia.
Zverev lost to Fritz in 86 minutes.
“Normally I really enjoy it on court, the tough moments, the fighting,” Zverev said. “But today I was completely out of it. I may go home for a few days and clear my mind.”
London-bound third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas came through with a 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) win over Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
The Greek is the latest man to qualify for London, starting on November 20.
For his part, Fognini seems to be indifferent as to whether he reaches the year-end spectacular for the first time in his career.
“I’m 11th and that is still far away. If I qualify – fine. If not, then I can spend more time with the family, that’s the most important thing anyway.”Moldovan Radu Albot earned a second match this season with top-seeded nine-time Basel champion champion Roger Federer through a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Dusan Lajovic.
Riley Opelka of the US produced 27 aces in a 7-6(7/5), 7-6 (12/10) defeat of Chile’s Christian Garin and will face either sixth seed David Goffin or Marin Cilic.