Outsiders often have no idea what tennis professionals have to do without.

The holiday is manageable, because each season lasts about ten and a half months, after which there is only a short window of time for a relaxing trip to Bali or the Maldives, before the preparations for the following tennis year start again.

In the daily grind, free time is also severely limited because the players are constantly flying around the world, are on the pitch at tournaments day after day, there is also preparation and follow-up work such as body treatments and duties with sponsors or the media.

This Saturday in Paris, however, abstinence is particularly difficult for many tennis professionals: while they are playing for one of the four most important titles of the year in Roland Garros in the south-west of the metropolis,

Thomas Klemm

sports editor.

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Die-hard Real supporter Rafael Nadal has announced that he wants to go to the stadium - provided he feels good in the evening and his round of 16 match against Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime allows it on Sunday.

Other tennis stars who are also football fans have received tickets through their sponsors but let them expire with heavy hearts.

After all, the final could last until around midnight before you were in bed, even more time passed, explained Alexander Zverev from Hamburg: "I'm playing a Grand Slam tournament here and have a match the day after the final." In other words: If you want to become a champion, you have to do without the Champions League.

Hotel room instead of Stade de France

Of course, Zverev will still watch the football game, in the hotel room on TV so that he can sleep as early as possible before his round of 16 match against a Spaniard whom he knows as little as most of the others on the tour.

Bernabe Zapata Miralles is the name of the last man standing in the way of Zverev's dream quarter-finals against the Spanish young star and tournament favorite Carlos Alcaraz.

The 25-year-old German should not underestimate him.

"He's having the week of his life here," says the third in the world rankings, who is playing for the first time against the professional from Valencia who is 128 places lower than the same age.

It is not known whether Zapata Miralles will also stay up late to watch the Champions League final.

What is certain is that the Spaniard is probably more tired than Zverev.

Zapata Miralles already has six matches in his bones: first three in the qualifiers, which he had to go through, then three in the main draw, curiously only against Americans.

Zverev, on the other hand, didn't leave much strength except for his five-set match against Argentinian Sebastian Baez in the second round;

unlike before, when he had to go the full distance in early rounds in Grand Slam tournaments and ran out of breath when it mattered.

For Zverev it is always important to find the emotional balance on the pitch.

On the one hand cool and concentrated to play his game, but on the other hand not to suppress his feelings.

In his Paris two-lap marathon against Baez, he had lost his balance for a long time and was almost beside himself for the first one and a half sentences.

On Friday in his three-set win against the American Brandon Nakashima (7: 6, 6: 3, 7: 6), he was quite solid in style and emotional balance from the start.

"I wanted to be more active than in the previous round," explained Zverev.

"I'm a big Klopp fan"

The Olympic champion from Tokyo will also sit in front of the television quite balanced when he watches the Champions League final.

Because his favorite club FC Bayern is not there, he keeps his fingers crossed for some Germans.

On the one hand, Real professional Toni Kroos, who is a big tennis fan and who Zverev knows very well.

And on the other hand, Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp: "I'm a big Jürgen Klopp fan, so I'm a bit at Liverpool FC," admits Zverev.

From a German perspective, the nice thing about this year's "premier class" of football is that in the end, a compatriot will definitely hold the trophy in his hands.

A few kilometers further at the Roland Garros clay court tournament, all hopes rest solely on Alexander Zverev.

He definitely wants his first Grand Slam title, whether in Paris or elsewhere: "Where I win the title," he says, "is relatively late for me."

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