Alexander Zverev's Australian Open preparations are in disarray.
Smashed racquets, on-court meltdowns and three defeats from three matches, the ATP Cup in Brisbane has been a tournament to forget for Zverev.
‘PATHETIC’: Tennis world erupts over star's 'disgusting' act
The German world No.7's preparations for the year's first grand slam are in tatters as he slumped to a 6-2 6-2 loss to Canada's Denis Shapovalov on Pat Rafter Arena on Tuesday.
While the defeat didn't contain the explosions of frustrations from his earlier matches, the performance was just as insipid for such a highly-touted player.
It seems a long time since he opened the tournament by claiming the first set of his clash with Australia's Alex de Minaur on Friday.
De Minaur roared back to take the match 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-2, with Zverev smashing his racquet to pieces at the end of the second set.
The 22-year-old's game was just as broken as his racquet from that point onwards, ending the match with 14 double faults.
On Sunday he served up another 10 double faults as he was defeated 6-1 6-4 by Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas.
German’s confidence appears at an all-time low
Zverev's frustrations were once again evident in the clash with fellow top 10 player Tsitsipas, often arguing between games with Germany captain Boris Becker and his teammates.
Tuesday's clash with Shapovalov was little better, with seven double faults and quite often knocking 50km/h off his second serve in an attempt to get the ball in play.
Viewers were quick to show their concern for Zverev's worrying dip in form and apparent lack of confidence in his serve.
Shapovalov 6-2 Zverev— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) January 7, 2020
A jarringly awful set of tennis from Zverev. It’s like it’s an imposter playing in a Zverev outfit. Serves rolled in half-pace, no conviction, half-efforts at the end.
Quite distressing to watch. Shapovalov looks like Zverev I’m their H2H 2 years ago.
Zverev is not engaged at all. I feel terrible for his team. Poor Boris has no clue what to say to him, neither does his Dad. His teammates are being let down big time.— Ezra 🇺🇸 🏳️🌈 🎾 (@ListenToEzra) January 7, 2020
Shapo is destroying him at the moment. And he's adding to it by slowly self destructing it's hard to watch.— lucefan (@lucefan) January 7, 2020
So sad to see him like this. Hope he’ll find his game back soon. 🙌— Macacha (@macacha_w) January 7, 2020
Zverev continues to show that he lacks the mental tenacity of a champion. The physical parts of the game can be worked on but not the mental part. He is moving into that group of players who have great tools to be champions but lack the mental toughness to get them there.— felipenopollous (@felipenopollous) January 7, 2020
Shapovalov d Zverev 6-2, 6-2. Not that close. Sasha’s head unfortunately is in a bad place at the moment. Happens to all of us. He will get through this. Choose to support him rather than rip him. Patience... 🇩🇪❤️🖤 pic.twitter.com/He7tAG7n21— Craig O'Shannessy (@BrainGameTennis) January 7, 2020
The most strange thing about Zverev’s form is that he looked actually quite good for one set and a half vs De Minaur. Was set and break up and then disappeared. These last two matches have been... scary bad.— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 7, 2020
Oh my lord. Zverev almost hit the baseline with that second serve. Back to back double faults to get broken and Shapovalov leads 6-2, *3-0. Won the last 6 games, so a moral bagel.— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 7, 2020
Shapovalov 6-2, 6-2 Zverev— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) January 7, 2020
Shapovalov excellent. The sort of routine-looking brilliance that could take him deep at a Slam.
Depressing performance from Zverev. He looked utterly lost. No communication between him and Becker. Watching that, you worry for him going forward.
Shapovalov leads 6-2, 3-0, double break in the second.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 7, 2020
Was saying earlier this week: it might have helped Zverev in the long run if his 2019 wasn't salvaged by scraping into London.
He needed a wake-up call of some sort to reset his game/career, I think, and he didn't get it.
A former world junior No.1, Zverev has been tipped for greatness since winning the ATP Finals in London in 2018.
Despite his talent however, his best grand slam result is a pair of quarter-final appearances in the French Open, while his fourth-round exit at last year's Australian Open is his best result at Melbourne Park.
Given how he's played over the past week in Brisbane, it appears unlikely Zverev will be bettering that result in 2020.