Alexander Zverev said he was finally playing without any pain and enjoying his tennis again after a serious ankle injury and subsequent complications derailed his 2022 season.
Zverev, 25, had surgery to repair damaged ankle ligaments following an injury he sustained during his French Open semi-final against Rafa Nadal in June last year.
The German’s return was further delayed in September after he suffered from a bone edema.
After returning to competitive action in December, Zverev lost in the second round of the Australian Open last month and Rotterdam last week. However, the 2020 US Open runner-up said he was now free of his injury problems.
“I don’t have it in the back of my mind. A few weeks ago I used to still get signals from my foot,” Zverev told reporters in Doha.
“It’s in the right direction, and I feel like I can play pretty freely now. I felt that way in Rotterdam. I thought I played a lot better in Rotterdam than I did the previous weeks, even though I lost second round.
“I’m looking forward to the next few weeks, and hopefully it still gets progressively better.”
Zverev, who faces Andy Murray in the Doha second round on Wednesday, said the prospect of being out for months due to his bone edema issue was tough to digest but a break from the game was exactly what he needed.
“I packed my bags and went on holiday,” the former world number two said.
“I didn’t do any rehabilitation. That helped me a lot, because my foot did need rest. I was trying very hard to come back, and maybe I did a bit too much.
“That’s in the past now, and hopefully we can look forward without any issues.”