On Friday, Zverev was in cruise control of his semifinal clash against World No. 3 Daniil Medvedev, having picked up from where he left off 48 hours earlier when he knocked out second seed Carlos Alcaraz in four sets.
But even with a 7-5, 6-3 headstart, he could not get the job done as Medvedev rallied to pinch the next two sets in tie-breaks and had the energy and gumption to see out the match down the stretch in the fifth set.
For Zverev, defeat must have been so hard to take, particularly with the finish line in sight. At the end of the match, he was asked whether a recent decision by a court of law in Berlin regarding his domestic abuse allegations had impacted his focus and preparation.
"No, because I have said it before: Anyone who has a semi-decent IQ level understands what's going on. I hope that most of you guys do. I'm fine with it."
Zverev is currently mired in a longstanding case from his ex-partner and the mother of his child, Brenda Patea, who accused him of physical assault last year. Initial investigations were opened, and Zverev received a penalty order from the court.
He was infamously slapped with a 450,000 euro fine last October, which he called a "complete bullsh*t" and that he would contest the order. The German star is now set to go for a public hearing scheduled in May 2024, with more details expected in due course.
Zverev has continued to deny the allegations, and although he was disappointed to exit the tournament, there were plenty of positives to take, like becoming the United Cup champion at the start of the month. He hopes he will get another chance to compete for the Australian Open.
"But the other thing is I can be also proud of myself because I did everything I could. I did all the work in the offseason, did all the work here in Australia. I was focused, I was concentrated, but things happened out of my control, in a way. It's not my last chance hopefully."