Zverev ATP Finals win a glimpse into the future

AFP | Alexander Zverev celebrates with the trophy after beating Novak Djokovic to win the ATP Finals
AFP | Alexander Zverev celebrates with the trophy after beating Novak Djokovic to win the ATP Finals

21 November, 2018

Alexander Zverev ascent towards the top of the men's game took a significant stride forward when he followed up the defeat of Roger Federer in the semi-finals with victory over Novak Djokovic in the final.

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.

In press conference at the ATP Finals after his loss to Alexander Zverev Novak Djokovic admitted he was not at his best in the final match and overall the tournament.

Here we look ahead to Sunday's meeting...

In men's tennis, 2018 has undoubtedly been the Year of Novak.

Novak Djokovic is now the only player of the remaining four who is not only yet to drop a set, he's yet to even lose his serve so far this week.

With a tour-leading 58 match wins this year, he's starting to find some consistency too, and it's no surprise that Djokovic has predicted that the German could even beat his career achievements - which now include 14 Grand Slam titles.

Mischa, nearly 10 years older than his brother, reached the quarter-finals of last year's Australian Open, defeating then world number one Andy Murray along the way.

Djokovic appeared to wane mentally as the match slipped away from his grasp, although defeat here can not take the shine off an extraordinary year. All around the packed O2 Arena, boos rang out in unison which was compounded by Zverev hitting an ace when the point was replayed.

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Federer began the year by claiming a record-extending 20th grand slam title in Australia and while he won three other tournaments this year, his season ended in frustrating fashion.

Federer said his season will go down as a success despite a disappointing finish. He joined forces with Ivan Lendl in the lead-up to the US Open but suffered a third-round exit.

It might've taken the world's second-ranked worldwide side to break down the perennial champions New Zealand but in the run-up to next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan the Irish - winning their first-ever match on home soil against the All Blacks - showed that they have the potential to go the distance in the world's pre-eminent rugby competition.

The American made another brilliant return in the very next point, but Zverev came up with a majestic half volley pass off the forehand to earn himself a set point, where Isner blinked once again and netted a forehand to hand the opener to the German.

The 21 year-old German - latest coaching project of the gnarled old Czech - came up with the ideal response when produced a remarkably authoritative display to see off Novak Djokovic and win the Nitto ATP Finals at a packed 02 Arena.

Zverev's skills on the court really require no repetition. "He's shown why he deserves to be in the mix of the top players in the world". In an event that has been shorn of Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro due to injury, a Sunday evening showdown between the Swiss and the world No 1 would be as good as it gets. It's very tough to beat him.

"Kevin has been playing great tennis this week". You have to play your best game to even have a chance.

"Obviously the crowd didn't appreciate it, which I was a little bit upset - not upset, but I was a little bit sad at the end with the booing and reaction of the crowd", said Zverev.

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