Alexander Zverev reached the quarter-finals of the French Open with a straight-sets victory over Grigor Dimitrov. After the match Zverev spoke about his situation regarding injecting himself with insulin for his diabetes during matches. Zverev was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of three but says he has been told it looks “weird” if he injects himself on court.
Alexander Zverev has expressed his frustration at the seemingly unclear rules at the French Open around injecting insulin on court for his diabetes.
Zverev, who reached the quarter-finals of the French Open with a straight-sets victory over Grigor Dimitrov, was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes at the age of three.
He needs to take insulin regularly to maintain his blood sugar levels and it is administered with an insulin pen.
French Open order of play, Day 10 – Alcaraz, Sabalenka, Djokovic in quarter-final actionFrench Open order of play, Day 10 – Alcaraz, Sabalenka, Djokovic in quarter-final action
At the French Open he has apparently been told by an official that he could not take insulin on court and was required to take a bathroom break instead.
“On the ATP Tour I do it on the court, here they don’t allow me to do it,” he told Eurosport Germany.
“I’m not allowed to do it on the court and I have to run out every time.
“Then at the last match I was told that it counts as a toilet break. That’s when I said, ‘guys, I might have to walk off the court four or five times. Decide what you want me to do’.”
Zverev said that in his previous match against Frances Tiafoe there was a “supervisor who didn’t know that I was diabetic”, adding: “I then gave myself an injection and he panicked and said I had to call a doctor if I gave myself anything.”
He also said he told the umpire during the last two matches: “Just decide what you want from me, and then I’ll do it like this. But don’t send me back and forth.”
Zverev, who will play Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the quarter-finals, launched a foundation last year to support children with diabetes and provide medication for those in developing countries with the condition.
He added in his press conference that he was told it looks “weird” if he injects himself on the court.
“During the second round, there was a discussion so I went out to inject the insulin,” he said. “Then a supervisor entered the room who did not know about this and he panicked and said ‘no, no you can’t do that. A doctor needs to come to inject it.’
“I told him that this is wrong because a normal doctor can’t help me if he is not specialised and does not have the right data about how much I have to inject.
“I told them ‘look, I have had diabetes since I was three years old. I know exactly what to do.’ But he just replied ‘no, a doctor has to do it.’ So this was another discussion.
“Today I finally told them ‘please tell me what I need to do – and then it’s okay If I need to do it outside I’m happy to do it there it just takes five seconds. Just let me do it, better on court’.
“But they said it looks weird when I do this on court. But this is not a clever take because if I don’t do it, my life will be in danger. But they said it looks weird.
“I said ‘how does it look like? That I dope myself?’
“This discussion makes no sense.”
Zverev retired in the quarter-finals last year after suffering a serious ankle injury during his match against Rafael Nadal.