Zverev hands gift to Federer with extraordinary meltdown

An Alexander Zverev meltdown in the second round of the Barcelona Open grants a huge opportunity for Roger Federer to take advantage of his long absence from the clay court season and climb the world rankings.

Federer, 37, kicks off his clay-court season for the first time in three years in good form after taking out his 101st career title at the Miami Open.

But the Swiss maestro could look at his long absence from the red clay as an advantage, in the long run, helping him climb the ATP ranking as he has no points to defend.

Roger Federer (pictured left) and Alexander Zverev (pictured right). (Getty Images)

Planning on competing in Mutua Madrid Open and Roland Garros the No.4 ranked men’s player could see a boost in his ATP rankings.

Rafael Nadal, who is currently World No.2, has a whopping 4,680 points to defend from his outstanding clay-court season last year.

Alexander Zverev,  World No.3, is only a few points ahead of Federer in the ATP rankings and has admitted he is “in a hole” as he looks to turn around his poor form.

But Zverev will also be defending 2,570 points after a good clay court season last year that saw him win the Madrid Open.

Federer, on the other hand, will look to pick up a handful of points on the red clay over the next couple of months.

World No.1 Novak Djokovic is also in a good position, already well ahead on the ATP rankings and only defending 855 points.

Zverev: ‘I’m in a hole’

Alexander Zverev has admitted he is at a loss to explain his dip in form after the world number three was beaten by lucky loser Nicolas Jarry in the second round of the Barcelona Open on Tuesday.

Zverev spurned a match point at 6-5 and then a 3-0 lead in the final-set tie-break before going down 3-6 7-5 7-6 (7/5) to Jarry, ranked 81st in the world.

The German had taken a late wildcard in Barcelona in search of both matches and form after a string of surprise defeats.

“I just play bad, it’s not a secret,” Zverev said afterwards.

“The tennis was very low-level. Most of the points that I won were unforced errors by him. I’m in a hole and I don’t know how to get out of it.”