Alexander Zverev has made the heartbreaking admission that he was only days away from being fit enough to compete in the US Open.
Zverev’s fans were left shattered by the German’s announcement this week that he had to pull out of the year’s final grand slam due to injury.
The World No.2 hasn’t played since June after tearing ligaments in his ankle in his French Open semi-final clash with Rafa Nadal.
The 25-year-old said he simply couldn’t risk doing more damage to the troublesome ankle, but revealed on social media just how close he was to be able to compete at Flushing Meadows.
Zverev conceded that if the US Open was in “another week or two”, he almost certainly would have been able to play.
“The recovery is going extremely well. And I am super happy where I am right now,” Zverev posted on Instagram.
“But unfortunately I will not come to New York this year.
“It was a very tough decision, but the way the recovery is going – and how well everything is going – I just don’t want to take the risk, and play a best-of-five set match as my first match back.
“Of course, I will miss it and, of course, I will be watching from far away.
“Unfortunately I did not have another week or two where I would have been 100% ready but it is how it is.
“I am looking forward to seeing everybody at the Davis Cup. And I am looking forward to being back as soon as possible.”
Zverev left the court at Roland Garros in a wheelchair and subsequently underwent surgery to repair three torn ligaments in his right ankle.
Alexander Zverev set to play in Davis Cup later in the year
The German lost the 2020 US Open final to Dominic Thiem, having led by two sets, and reached the semi-finals last year.
He is still waiting for a maiden Grand Slam title, despite winning five Masters trophies and the ATP Finals twice.
His place in the main draw of the August 29-September 11 tournaments will be taken by American Stefan Kozlov.
Zverev had played in 27 consecutive Grand Slams since his 2015 debut before the injury forced him to miss Wimbledon.
He has been named in Germany’s team for the group stage of the Davis Cup finals next month.
Zverev might not be the only top-10 men’s player absent from the year’s final Grand Slam. Novak Djokovic is unlikely to be able to play because of his refusal to get vaccinated against Covid.
The 21-time major winner was forced out of last week’s Cincinnati Masters and Montreal earlier this month for the same reason.