• Alexander Zverev suffered an ankle injury in June
  • He was ruled out of action for six months
  • Zverev is a two-time World Tour champion

Former World No. 2 ATP player Alexander Zverev is hoping to emulate Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer's famous comebacks from injuries.

Zverev was sidelined for six months after suffering an ankle injury in June at the French Open. The 2020 Tokyo gold medallist tore several ligaments in his right ankle, which forced him to withdraw from his French Open semi-final match against eventual champion Nadal in Paris.

Despite his exit from Roland Garros, Zverev reached his career-highest ranking of No. 2, but the German player has now fallen out of the Top 10.

After returning from injury, the World No. 12 played his first game Thursday at the Diriyah Tennis Cup exhibition in Saudi Arabia. Zverev defeated Dominic Thiem, before losing to 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev 6-4 6-0.

In a recent interview, Zverev admitted that the recovery process that kept him away from the sport was a real struggle both mentally and physically.

"I've missed all this for the last seven months. It was not an easy time for me. I've missed the tennis tour, the tournaments. I'm just happy to be back on the court and with the best players in the world here. Just to be back in this atmosphere, this air. I'm happy to be back on the pitch. Hopefully, things will start going right for me here again," Zverev told Eurosport.

The two-time World Tour Final winner went on to add that the injury taught him "to be more patient and appreciate little things."

When Zverev was asked about his goals for the 2023 season, he replied, "People always say that when Rafa or Roger come back, they are back at 100%. But that's not quite true either. Rafa came back last year and I think he lost to everybody at the Abu Dhabi exhibition. Then he came back at the Australian Open, won the tournament and played the best tennis of his life."

"It was the same with Roger at the Hopman Cup. He lost to me and didn't play that well against other players. He found his form at the Australian Open. I hope it will be a similar process with me, that I won't play my best tennis right away, of course," added Zverev.

Alexander Zverev had to retire against Rafael Nadal after rolling his ankle
Alexander Zverev had to retire against Rafael Nadal after rolling his ankle AFP / Christophe ARCHAMBAULT

Medvedev will next play against Stan Wawrinka in the last four of the Diriyah Tennis Cup exhibition after the Swiss beat Russia's Andrey Rublev.