19-year-old German sensation, Alexander Zverev, has been literally creating ripples on the professional circuit this year after several headline results. The latest when he won the ATP Tour title at St Petersburg by stunning US Open winner Stan Wawrinka in the final. He has already been dubbed the ‘next big thing’ in men’s Tennis and it is hard not to see why after the stellar year he’s had.
Nicknamed Sascha, Zverev comes from a family of tennis players. The youngster began playing tennis at the age of 5, and is the son of former Russian tennis player Alexander Zverev Sr. and the younger brother of fellow professional tennis player Mischa Zverev.
Incidentally, Zverev’s mother Irena is also a tennis coach. The Zverev family moved to Germany in 1991, 6 years before Alexander was born.
The teenager has already impressed critics and has climbed up the rankings to 24th which is an extraordinary achievement. In fact, he was named ATP Star of Tomorrow presented by Emirates for being the youngest player to finish in the Top 100 in 2015.
After defeating Zverev in Indian Wells this year, Nadal had this to say about the 6’6” German teen:
”He is amazingly talented. He is a clear possible future no.1. He has all the shots.”
Talk about high praise!
Let’s take a look at some of the best moments Zverev has conjured up this year:-
5) Cilic gets a taste of Zverev
Young Zverev’s, then only 18-years-old, first big result of the year came in February at Montpellier at the 2nd round of the Open Sud de France when he came up against 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic.
In just under 2 hours, the World No.13 was beaten 7-6, 7-6. Impressively, Zverev fired in 8 aces and saved 6 of the 8 break points he faced in the match – a stat which showed surprisingly calm nerves for a teenager.
His impressive serves and groundstrokes were in full display as the Croat wilted in the crucial tie-breaks. It was only Zverev’s third career victory against a top-20 opponent and the first of the season.
The win took him to the quarterfinals where he defeated Michael Berrer to reach his first ATP semifinal of the year. Though he would lose against Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu, the performance gave him immense belief in his game.
4) First ATP Final in Nice
It seemed like Zverev had something for tournaments in France. For, his performance of note in 2016 came at Nice in the 2016 Open de Nice Cote d'Azur.
He got the better of Kyle Edmund and Marcel Granollers and played 2nd seed Gilles Simon in the quarter-finals. The Frenchman was defeated 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 by the impressive Zverev who had to stave off 2 match points.
His semifinal match was against 5th seed Joao Sousa. He won 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to make the first ATP final of his fledgling career.
It was a huge achievement for Zverev to reach an ATP event final before he had even turned 19. Although he would lose the final to No. 1 seed and defending champion Dominic Thiem 4-6, 6-3, 0-6 , he was starting to attract headlines. Not to mention the steady climb up the ranking ladder.