Boris Becker believes Alexander Zverev can reach the top of the ATP rankings next year, but stressed he must win "one or two" Majors to achieve this. The six-time Grand Slam champion also revealed that he hopes his countryman becomes the "most successful" German tennis player ever.
Zverev won the 2021 ATP Finals by defeating Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-4 in the championship match in Turin last Sunday. This was the 24-year-old's second year-end championship crown after his 2018 triumph in London.
The German ended the 2021 season as the World No. 3 with 7,840 points. He is currently 800 points behind second-ranked Medvedev and 3,700 points behind World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who has 11,540 points.
Speaking on Eurosport Germany's Das Gelbe vom Ball podcast, Becker expressed his belief that Zverev is capable of surpassing Djokovic and Medvedev in the rankings next season. The former World No. 1 insisted, though, that Zverev must win at least one Major title -- something he is yet to do -- to reach top spot.
"He won't take it (the World No. 1 ranking) without a Grand Slam win,” Becker said. "The next big goal for Sascha Zverev has to be the number one [ranking]. He can make it next year in my eyes. But that's only possible if he wins one or two Grand Slam tournaments."
"You saw it this year: the clear number one was Djokovic with three Grand Slam wins, the clear number two was Medvedev with one Grand Slam win and the clear number three was Sascha," Becker continued.
Becker went on to laud Zverev's triumphs at the Olympics and ATP Finals this year, but reiterated how important it is for his compatriot to make his Grand Slam title breakthrough soon.
“Certainly, an ATP Finals title is an absolute highlight in one's career - he has won that twice - and victory at the Olympics was certainly unique, but the next big triumph has to be a victory at a Grand Slam tournament. Then you get closer to your dream," Becker added.
"I would like Alexander Zverev to become the most successful German tennis player of all time": Boris Becker
During the podcast, Boris Becker discussed Alexander Zverev surpassing him this week on the all-time men's prize money list with his ATP Finals victory.
"On Monday I saw the prize money list, he has now overtaken me,” Becker said. “What people forgot to mention - today you get much more prize money for the same victory than 20 or 30 years ago. You have to put it all in perspective."
Becker also declared that he wants Zverev to become the "most successful" German player ever, pointing to the boost it would give to tennis's popularity in the country.
"I would like him to become the most successful German tennis player of all time," Becker added. "Then we would all have a lot to celebrate and we would have a tennis boom in Germany again. We would all be winners. I am his biggest fan and I hope he can do it."
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Becker is Germany's most decorated men's player with six Grand Slam titles, while Steffi Graf is the most successful overall - having won a remarkable 22 Major women's singles titles.