Alexander Zverev: the teenage tennis sensation primed for glory
Teenagers don’t normally win Grand Slam tournaments. It just doesn’t happen that often.
However, there is a great deal of hype surrounding rising German talent Alexander Zverev that he could end 2016 with something special to shout about.
The last time anybody under the age of 20 captured one of the big four tournaments was way back in 2005, when Rafael Nadal managed it at the French Open. In fact, only seven teenage players have won Slams since the Open Era kicked in, and the last one of them do to so on the famous grass courts of SW19 was Boris Becker in 1985.
Becker was an unseeded outsider on the day he won it outright over 30 years ago, and although Zverev isn’t quite the nobody his fellow countryman was back then, there are quite a few similarities between the pair.
Can the player nicknamed “Sascha” by his tour peers go on and do the unthinkable to win Wimbledon? Or does he need to grow into his role as the best young tennis player on the planet?
NextGen doesn’t need to arrive...yet
If you have yet to see “Sascha” weave his magic, don’t fret because it looks like the world no. 28 has the skill set to survive a very long time in the tennis game so you’ll probably see more than enough of him in the coming years.
It might be too early to tip him for true greatness, but the fact of the matter is that this young man is one of the most naturally gifted handlers of a racket the game has seen in years.
Recently, he surged to the final in Nice, reached the third round of the French Open and also made it all the way to the final at Halle so it's fair to say he’s pushing himself to be the best he can right now. Clearly he's a player who likes to play regular tennis at the highest levels, but while his performances have been gripping, the most exciting thing about him is that we don’t quite know just how good he can become just yet.
He’s a burgeoning talent right now, whirling his way through the rankings. So far, he’s enjoyed the ride and that’s how it should be for such a precocious youngster. If we buy into the hype – and there’s little reason to believe we shouldn’t – it’s easy to admit that there will be plenty of time for him to develop into the player so many expect him to.
The last couple of years have been awash with mentions of the next wave of talented male youngsters coming through the ranks eager to put an end to the same old discussions about the “Big Four”, monopolies and bagel-laden sets. It’s only natural to get excited whenever a starlet begins to twinkle, but the reality is that it will take time for today’s burgeoning masters to become true suzerains over whatever type terrain they purvey.
That said, the general consensus is that Zverev is best equipped to ruffle the top dogs’ feathers in the meantime because he has already teased us with snapshots of brilliance as well as provoking praise-heavy tidbits from none other than Rafael Nadal, who dubbed him a “future No.1”.