Teacher and pupil: The differences in Ferrero's outlook and that of Zverev proved impossible to reconcile

Per information gleaned by the Spanish newspaper, Marca, Juan Carlos Ferrero is no longer coaching Alexander Zverev, owing to an ‘insuperable situation’ that sparked an impasse between the two.

Ferrero teamed up with Zverev in the seventh month of what was a banner year for the 20-year-old, and together the two got off to the best possible start. At his first tournament with Ferrero in the engine room, the Citi Open, Zverev landed an ATP 500 title. A week later, he won the second Masters 1000 trophy of his career at the Rogers Cup. This is when his partnership with Ferrero, which had begun on a trial basis, became an arrangement intended to last for the long term.

Unclarities about the precise content of the disagreement that separated Zverev and his erstwhile coach persist. It has been reported that Ferrero didn’t believe Zverev’s professionalism, on the match court and away from it, was up to snuff. Rumours of Boris Becker’s involvement with Zverev have also been bandied about by the German media, and Becker’s sporadic presence in the youngster’s box has surely added to the speculation. More realistically, Becker’s role as the head of German men’s tennis would render him unlikely to move to the forefront of Zverev’s coaching team any time soon. Zverev’s father will revert to being the fulcrum of his youngest son’s coaching setup in the wake of Ferrero’s departure.

Although Zverev is still ranked fifth in the world, he has not looked anything like himself since pulling off that pair of coups during the 2017 North American hard court season. At the previous two Grand Slams, Zverev has slumped to limp defeats against his age-mates Borna Coric and Hyeon Chung, players whom he is thought to have passed up, but hasn’t found a way to beat yet. In addition to those losses, Zverev has gone down to Frances Tiafoe, Damir Džumhur, Nick Kyrgios, Juan Martin del Potro, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Robin Haase, Roger Federer, Jack Sock, and Andreas Seppi over the past six months. Not once has Zverev won a tournament in the last ten that he has played; in only three of these did he manage back-to-back wins.

Sascha and elder brother Mischa are slated to appear at Acapulco next week. Mischa too is in need of an upswing in the win column, having come out the victor in just two of his eight matches for the year to date.

Edited for readability.