Six-time grand slam winner Boris Becker was simply ravenous watching the US Open men’s semi-final between Alexander Zverev and Pablo Carreno Busta.
Zverev progressed to his first grand slam final by coming back from two sets to love down in a 3-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 6-3 win, but the action on the court wasn’t what made Becker hungry.
Commentating for EuroSport Germany, the 52-year-old reportedly came distracted when the camera focused on chair umpire Marijana Veljovic.
“I have to say, the umpire is extremely pretty,” said Becker, according to tennis journalist Petra Philippsen.
He added: “You eat with your eyes.”
Becker hasn’t been far from the headlines in 2020 — he’s butted heads with Nick Kyrgios, freaked people without with a huge growth on his arm and been embroiled in a WAG feud.
And it’s the second time in as many slams Veljovic has partly overshadowed the participants on court after she stole the stage from Roger Federer at the Australian Open earlier this year.
Some fans couldn’t take their eyes off the Serbian official and even female player Eugenie Bouchard tweeted: “The umpire in this Roger/Tennys match is super pretty.”
There was similar commentary on social media during today’s match but tennis journalist Jose Morgado stayed inside the lines with his tweet.
Zverev also kept the ball where it needed to be to go one step better than his semifinal finish at the Australian Open earlier this year.
The German 23-year-old rode his first serve, hitting 24 aces to Busta’s four to fulfil the potential many have seen since he first started on tour.
It marked the first time in Zverev’s career he came from two sets down to win.
“I actually looked at the scoreboard when I was down two sets to love,” Zverev said.
“I was like, ‘I can’t believe it. I’m playing in a semi-final, I’m supposed to be the favourite and I have no chance, I’m playing that bad.
“So I knew I had to come up with better tennis and I knew that I had to be more stable.” Zverev made 36 unforced errors in the first two sets compared to just 12 for Carreno Busta as the nerves of the occasion seemed to get the better of him.
Double fault followed double fault and a string of misplaced, nervy forehands allowed Carreno Busta to build a sizable lead.
But Zverev began to seriously cut down on his mistakes in the third set, upping his service game and taking control of rallies with more powerful, accurate groundstrokes.
It continued to be a nervy, error-strewn affair, though, with both players appearing overwhelmed at times with coming so close to reaching their first tennis major final.
Zverev hit eight double faults overall to Carreno Busta’s one. Zverev recorded 57 unforced errors to 44 for Carreno Busta.
But the tall German smashed way more winners, 71 to 37.
“I’m through to my first grand slam final and that’s all that matters,” Zverev said.
“I couldn’t be happier, but there’s still one more step to go for me,” he added.
Zverev becomes the first German man to reach the final of a tennis major since Rainer Schuttler at the 2003 Australian Open.
— with AFP