Olympic champion Alexander Zverev did not let himself be disturbed by a long rain break and reached the third round at the Masters in Indian Wells. The 25-year-old from Hamburg won on Friday (local time) against Pedro Cachin from Argentina 6-3, 6-1 and spent more time in the catacombs than on court. For more than two hours, the game was interrupted in the first set due to rain, on the court in the stadium two on the course in the Californian desert, however, the two professionals were only about one and a half hours.

"It was a very solid first lap for me. I'm happy about the level I played," Zverev told the German Press Agency. "The conditions were not easy. I was expecting one match a day in the heat. You also stretch your racket differently. Then it became a night match, but I thought the level was very, very high and I'm happy with how I played."

"The changing room was just full"

For Zverev, it was the first game at the tournament endowed with 10.1 million US dollars (9.48 million euros). In the first round, the number twelve seeded player had a bye. In the third round he will face either Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain or Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland. In particular, Zverev was satisfied with his performance in the second set. "I raised my level a lot in the second set," he said.

During the long break, he lowered the tension. "Otherwise you'll get tired at some point. It was important to warm up well and get into the match and that's what I did," he said. "I ate something, took a shower and changed and then I was in the dressing room – just like all the other players. The changing room was just full, it didn't just rain in second place."

Zverev had recently reached the semi-finals at the ATP tournament in Dubai and won two games in a row for the first time since his serious ankle injury. The Hamburg native had torn several ligaments in his ankle at the French Open and only played tournaments again at the beginning of the year.

In addition to the Olympic champion Zverev, Jan-Lennard Struff is still competing in Indian Wells from a German point of view, he plays on Saturday in the second round against the American Tommy Paul. Oscar Otte lost in the second round to Karen Khachanov of Russia 3–6, 3–6 and was eliminated.

Even after the end of the careers of Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal, Tommy Haas sees international tennis on the right track. "I don't see any need to worry. Tennis is tennis. A Roger (Federer) comes and goes, an (Andre) Agassi comes and goes, a Boris (Becker) comes and goes. Just like Steffi Graf, Monica Seles or Serena Williams. There will always be new players and stories," said the former world number two of the German press Agency on the sidelines of the Masters in Indian Wells.

Haas is tournament director there and does not have any of the big three at the start – Federer has ended his career, Nadal is injured and Djokovic has not received a visa for the USA because of the lack of vaccination against the coronavirus.

The tournament is therefore also a bit of a test run on how to market the sport after the end of the big three's careers, said Haas. He sees the sport well positioned. "Carlos Alcaraz took us all out of our seats last year, US Open champion and youngest number one at the end of the year. You have enough stories," said the 44-year-old. "Tennis is on the right track." (dpa)