Two days after gaining the most important win of his career against world number one Andy Murray, Mischa Zverev's dream run at the Australian Open ended in the quarterfinals against Roger Federer, match booked by the Swiss with a clear 6-1, 7-5, 6-2 score line.
The loss didn't prevent the German to consider is run in Melbourne as very positive, as he had learned a lot of things and surely gained confidence for the tournaments to come.
"There's a lot of positive things I can take with me."
The match against Federer surely had gone differently than the one against Murray, not only looking at the score, but at the differences between the two players he had faced.
"I think he [Federer] did not really let me play," Zverev commented. "It's more like his shot's a little bit different than Andy's. It was definitely hard to read where he's going, where he's returning."
"He just has so many more options," he added. "How he can, like, outplay me or pass me. It was different, definitely different."
Despite the tough loss, the German could still be proud of his campaign in Melbourne, where he had reached the last 8 in a major for the first time in career; following this result, he will reach his career-high ranking of 35 at the end of the week.
"There's a lot of positive things I can take with me through the whole season," Zverev said, "use the confidence to do well in many more tournaments to come."
"I think it was a great 10 days in Melbourne. I really enjoyed it here. The whole family was there. I played, I think, decent tennis."
"If you believe, all things are possible."
Zverev's run had been even more impressive considering the rise in the rankings he had had in the past months, with achievements such as a Masters 1000 quarterfinal in Shangai and the semifinal in Basel, where he collected a win over world number 3 Stan Wawrinka. Asked about what he had learned in Melbourne, Zverev answered that "if you believe, all things are possible."
"That you can still win a couple matches with serve-volleying against different players, against someone like John Isner or Andy Murray," he said. "If you stay in the tournament and focus, if you work hard, eventually you'll get your chance to prove yourself."
Zverev's next stop in his schedule will be the Davis Cup in Germany, where his team will face Belgium in the World Group first round. After that, there will be Montpellier, Rotterdam, and Marseille. "So I'll stay in Europe," Zverev said.
As what are his goals for this year, Zverev mentioned "staying healthy, playing well, and then, I don't know, that's about it".
"If I stay healthy, then a lot of things are possible."
He didn't want to think about goals in terms of ranking.
"Half a year ago I was hoping I could maybe be, like, in the top 100. Now I'm ranked a lot higher. So you never know where the game's going to take you."
After his breakthrough in 2009, where he had reached his career-high ranking of 45, Zverev had slowly slid out of the top 100, eventually making a return only at the end of 2016, where his career seemed to have taken a new turn. His major goal, nevertheless, remains to stay healthy.
"If I stay healthy, then a lot of things are possible, I think, this year," he said. "You never know, you might get hurt two days later after a tournament, like Roger did last year. It changes. It's very hard to foresee for the future."
"I want to stay healthy," he added, "look at the last couple days, look at the matches, see what I did, how I trained, and try to do the same for the rest of the season."