Mischa and Alexander Zverev were picked to be the siblings that would dominate world tennis. But the eldest, Mischa, was plagued by injuries, causing him to drop to the 67th place in the World Rankings. Wrist injury, herniated disc and rib fracture were the “nuisances” that plagued Mischa in 2015.
The German’s family knows no other craft besides tennis. And Mischa, who in the eyes of anyone should have retired due to injuries, has not done so. He relies on inspiration from his younger brother, Alexander, who is better positioned in the ranking.
“A big factor [to go back] was my brother because he pushed me and made me work hard again and to try to give the best I had. He is doing very well in recent years and I did not want to be left behind.”
Mischa’s best position in the ranking was 45, he got that in 2009. He always wanted to overcome that spot and he succeeded: this year (2017) he closed out at number 33. Also in January he defeated the number 1, Andy Murray. A tennis player with no titles knocked out the very best. Classic David versus Goliath.
Mischa made history. He became the player with the worst ranking to beat a first place. Thirteen years have passed since Marat Safin defeated Andy Roddick. Marat was 86th due to injuries but it was not a spot he was supposed to occupy since the Russian tennis player was an elite tennis player.
In the Australian Open 2017, the first Grand Slam of the year, the Zverev brothers got into the third round, something that had not occurred since 1998 when the Byron brothers and Wayne Black were placed among the tournament’s Top three.
The oldest of the Zverevs is one of the tennis players among the top 50 without a title, but that has not prevented him from competing. Although his younger brother has been picked to become the number 1 in the world, Mischa does not shrink away and keeps playing tennis.
When the injuries did not go away, Mischa traveled along with two young 18 year old tennis players that were getting started. As a result, he realized that he wanted to return to the sport and that’s where the improvement began. “Training young people helped me to see how beautiful tennis was, how important it is and how much I missed it while injured. It made me work harder.”
In 2018, Mischa will visit Acapulco with his brother to compete in the Mexican Tennis Open. This tennis family travels everywhere, including the dog. That’s why, says the eldest Zverev, they never miss each other because everyone travels together.