Zapata Miralles On Cup Final Ticket Hunt & His Dream Roland Garros Run
Bernabe Zapata Miralles did not think he would be in Paris on Saturday, but his best performance in a Grand Slam at Roland Garros has scuppered any plans the 25-year-old Valencian may have made before the event kicked off.
Soon after the qualifier beat John Isner on Friday to book himself a place in the last sixteen in the French capital, Zapata Miralles started a special campaign when he sat before the media at his post-match press conference — he asked for help sourcing a ticket for Saturday evening’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France.
“This is a public announcement. If anyone has a ticket…I’d like to go!” the Spaniard joked. “Tomorrow [Saturday] I’ll watch the match…if I can do so in the stadium, it would be better. I’m from Valencia but I support [Real] Madrid. I want Madrid to win the Champions League final against Liverpool!”
By beating Isner, Zapata Miralles moved into the Top 100 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, as well as earning himself the opportunity to go even further at the clay-court Grand Slam. On Sunday, the Spaniard will face Alexander Zverev for a place in the quarter-finals at the second major of the year.
“I’m trying not to think too much about being in the last 16,” Zapata Miralles acknowledged. “I’m still exhausted and in shock. I’ve tried to focus on the match and forget about the result and the round. It’ll start to sink in when I return home, honestly.
“I’m very excited. It’s a tournament that I love, and I didn’t expect to reach the round of 16. It’s a dream. I’m just thinking about improving and continuing to work hard. I have mental lows, the matches are long for me. It’s more exciting playing in these rounds, but I find it much harder to make the effort to play these matches.
“I’m going to try and keep up this level of work every week, if possible.”
Zapata Miralles is now reaping the rewards of hours of hard work behind the scenes, while he tries to find the best way to prepare to face Zverev.
“Now it’s time to rest and get ready for Sunday,” said the Valencian. “I don’t know if I’ve reached my limit or not, but I’m not too concerned. I just want to work well. If I’ve given my all on court, I can go home with peace of mind. I’ll find it hard to manage the nerves, but I’ll try and forget about them.”
To do so, Zapata Miralles may follow the lead of one of his idols, all of whom have helped him progress in one way or another. “On a mental level, [Rafael] Nadal is the best in history,” said Zapata Miralles. “I followed David Ferrer from when I was young, as he’s Valencian, and now I often watch Pablo Andujar.”