US Open runner-up Alexander Zverev on Sunday revealed his parents tested positive for COVID-19 and couldn’t be with him during his extended stay in the tournament.
During his postmatch speech Sunday — after the 23-year old German lost to Dominic Thiem 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6) — Zverev was emotional as he accepted his finalist trophy on the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
While addressing the television audience and the small crowd in attendance, he thanked his parents for their support from afar, before sharing the reason they had not come to New York.
“[My parents] were there with me for every tournament,” he said through tears. “But my dad and mother tested positive before the tournament and couldn’t have gone with me. I miss them. This is tough.”
During the ensuing news conference with reporters, he provided an update on his family, before explaining why he appeared so upset while speaking about them.
“They’re fine,” he said. “They’re actually negative already. That’s the reason they didn’t come here. But, yeah, I mean, look, losing 7-6 in the fifth after being two sets to love and a break up is not easy.
“At the speech, I mean, I got emotional. I couldn’t put two words together. I don’t actually remember what I said. It was a difficult moment for me.”
It was a disappointing day for the world’s No. 7 player. Zverev was seeking his first major title and was up by two sets and a break in the third set at 2-1 before Thiem made a comeback and became the first man at the tournament since Pancho Gonzales in 1949 to win the title after losing the first two sets.
Zverev’s parents — Irina Zvereva and Alexander Zverev Sr. — were both professional players from the Soviet Union, and frequently attend tournaments with him. His brother Mischa also plays on the ATP Tour.