Wednesday 23 January 2019

Alexander Zverev's win over Novak Djokovic at the ATP finals suggests he can be the next tennis superstar

Zverev broke serve once in the opening set and three times in the second to pull off a shock victory. Photo credit: John Walton/PA Wire
Zverev broke serve once in the opening set and three times in the second to pull off a shock victory. Photo credit: John Walton/PA Wire
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Alexander Zverev has long been hailed as a tennis superstar in the making and he looked every inch a Grand Slam champion in waiting as he crushed world No.1 Novak Djokovic in to clinch the ATP Finals title at London's 02 Arena.

After being jeered and booed Roger Federer fans after beating their idol 24 hours earlier, Zverev beat the seemingly invincible Djokovic 6-4 6-3 in what was a sparkling performance from the 21-year-old German.

"I really can't describe it. It is the biggest title I have ever won," said Zverev.

"Firstly I want to congratulate Novak - we may never have seen the tennis he has played in the last few months before. He barely lost a match, but thankfully he did to me.

"We have had so many talks, not only about tennis but all different types of subjects. You are a sharing person and you have shared some titles with me. I appreciate you letting me win one today.

Obviously it's quite astonishing, winning this title, beating two such players back-to-back, Roger and Novak, in semifinals and finals. I'm incredibly happy and incredibly proud of this moment right now."

Zverev then hailed the impact his recently appointed coach Ivan Lendl, who appears to have had a big impact on his game.

"He obviously analyzed the match that I played with him a few days ago, told me a few things I had to do different," added Zverev

"I was more aggressive today. I tried to take the ball earlier. He has the experience to help me."

When these two met earlier in the week Zverev had a break point for 5-4 in the opening set but could not convert it.

This time when the opportunity arose at exactly the same point of the match he struck, Djokovic netting to drop serve for the first time at the tournament.

Zverev duly took the set, in which he had landed 21 out of his 24 first serves into court, firing down seven aces in the process, and the world's best player was rattled.

So much so Djokovic was broken again twice at the start of the second set, although a jittery service game in between from Zverev kept him in touch.

Nevertheless, at 5-3 Djokovic had the chance to test his raw opponent's nerve further by forcing him to serve out for the title, but Zverev had other ideas.

The new champion fell to the floor in jubilation and was warmly congratulated on court by Djokovic, who later said: "I'm really happy for him.

"I mean, obviously it's not great to lose a tennis match, especially in the finals of a big tournament. I'm quite disappointed with my game.

"But I'm happy he won the big title because we have a really good and friendly relationship. Obviously you could see how much it means to him. He deserved it.

"Health-wise I haven't been really perfect in the last three or four weeks. That took a lot out of me.

"But I have to be happy with that result. Finishing the year as number one, that was the goal coming into the indoor season. I managed to achieve that. Overall it was a phenomenal season that I have to be very proud of."

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