Alexander Zverev vowed to donate his prize money to bushfire relief if he picks up the Australian Open's Aus$4.12 million ($2.83 million) winner's cheque after he swept into the second round Tuesday. (More Tennis News)
The German seventh seed had a miserable build-up to the opening Grand Slam of the year, crashing spectacularly in all three of his singles matches at the ATP Cup teams event, looking lost on court.
But he has regained some swagger after a week out of the spotlight and eased past the 77th-ranked Italian Marco Cecchinato 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 on Margaret Court Arena.
Zverev played in the 'Rally for Relief' fundraiser ahead of the opening Major of the year, and said he had been touched by the disaster that has devastated huge swathes of the country.
"I will donate $10,000 for every match I win," he said after his opening round victory. "I know I'm not the favourite, but if I win (the tournament) I will donate every cent to the bushfires."
Cecchinato came into the match on a seven-match Grand Slam losing streak since defeating Novak Djokovic in the French Open quarter-finals in 2018.
That was his best-ever Slam effort, crashing at the first hurdle in the other 10 Majors has been in, and he never looked like ending the drought Tuesday.
Zverev was nimble around the court with the precision of his serve proving decisive.
"It was a great first-round match, a lot of high-level tennis, especially from the baseline," said the German.
"I hope maybe I can do better than the last few years. I'm a year older, not much wiser, but trying my best, practising hard and trying to do the right things." Big things have been tipped for Zverev since he burst into the top 10 in 2017, but the 22-year-old is yet to fully deliver.
He won just one title last year, at Geneva, and slipped down the rankings to seven from four at the start of the season.
Last year, he recorded his best result at Melbourne Park, reaching the round of 16 where he fell to big-serving Milos Raonic in straight sets.