PARIS (Reuters) - Alexander Zverev rolled into the French Open semi-finals on Wednesday a year after leaving the Grand Slam in a wheelchair and said his injury issues in the last 12 months made his achievement a little sweeter.
Zverev was in excruciating pain after suffering a serious ankle injury during his Roland Garros semi-final against Rafa Nadal in 2022 and had surgery to repair his ligaments.
The German's return was further delayed in September due to a bone edema issue and he only began playing pain-free earlier this season.
Zverev showed glimpses of his peak form on Wednesday as he beat unseeded Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4 in the quarter-finals and the 22nd seed said the agony of last year was not on his mind anymore.
"I don't think about it. I'm going on court to win tennis matches. I'm not thinking about what happened last year. I have to talk about it a lot obviously, that's fine," Zverev said.
"That's everybody's job, but I'm here to win tennis matches. I'm here to go deep in a Grand Slam.
"Grand Slams are tennis history. That's what you play for. I think the two most important things in tennis are Grand Slams and the Olympic Games.
"When you're in a semi-final or final of either of those, I think that's very different than being in a final of another tournament."
Zverev said Roland Garros was a tournament he increasingly looked forward to as his comeback gathered pace.
"I'm happy to be playing the way I'm playing here in Paris," the 26-year-old said. "I'm extremely happy with how things are going, but the tournament is not over yet.
"There are still potentially two very difficult matches ahead, and I'm looking forward to that."
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Paris; Editing by Toby Davis)