Alexander the Great
He’s only 21 years old, and he’s already won Masters 1000 titles in Rome, Montreal and Madrid within the span of a year. How far can he go, and will he overtake Roger Federer or Rafa Nadal as number one?
Alexander “Sascha” Zverev was 19 only a month before he won the Rome Masters, playing with more confidence and stability than Novak Djokovic, ten years his senior.
This wasn’t a fluke. Zverev beat Roger Federer on hard-court to win the Coupe Rogers in Montreal, and he also beat Federer on grass last year in the Gerry Weber semi-finals in Halle, Germany.
Zverev has everything, plus youth. At the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, he served better than Milos Raonic and John Isner, and moved with more ease and flow than his fellow giants. He defended better than Djokovic, breaking him in the first game. He crunched winners from both sides, winning in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.
In Montreal, Zverev was more aggressive than Federer, and took the net before Roger could. He was a better player on offense and defense, and he hit the ball 20 km/h faster than Federer on average.
Zverev has already proven that he can beat anybody on any surface, when he’s on. If he continues to show nerves of steel, nothing can stop an athlete with such a rare combination of size, strength, speed and agility. He’s still a skinny teenager (almost). What happens when he gets stronger?
Were the finals in Rome and Montreal the dawn of a new era in tennis? The Eternal City has been a pivot of history for more than 2000 years. Djokovic won his first Masters 1000 at age 19. Zverev did it a month after turning 20. Think about that on the way to the Forum.
In Montreal, he trounced a Federer who didn’t lose a set a month earlier at Wimbledon. It wasn’t peak Federer in Montreal, but that’s also because Zverev outplayed him.
Zverev has yet to win a slam. But if he continues to play with confidence and composure, he could begin to dominate the tennis tour sooner than expected.
(words and images copyright Christopher Johnson Globalite Media all rights reserved)