Zverev, No.1 at The O2 in London
After a victory over Roger Federer on Saturday on the semifinals, Zverev finished the best season of his career by becoming the youngest winner of the Masters Cup since Djokovic claimed it for the first time in 2008. He is also the first German champion since Boris Becker in 1995
“This is the biggest title of my career so far”, said Zverev. “This trophy means a lot, everything, to all the players. I mean, you only have so many chances of winning it. You play against the best players only. How I played today, how I won it, for me, it’s just amazing”.
Djokovic, sought to equal Roger Federer with six titles as top winners of the competition. He dominated the second half of the season, winning Wimbledon, Cincinnati, US Open and Shanghai, also snatching the No. 1 from Rafael Nadal.
Zverev, considered the best Next Gen, has already won three Masters titles (Rome, Montreal and Madrid), but his repeated disappointments in the Grand Slam tournaments had raised doubts about if he could succeed in the most demanding scenarios.
In his eighth tournament since teaming up with Ivan Lendl, Zverev reflected on the influence of the former World No. 1.
“My Dad is the one that taught me the game of tennis. My dad deserves the most credit out of everyone… I’m very thankful to him for that. Obviously [with] Ivan, the experience he has on and off the court, is amazing. That helped me, as well, to kind of play the two matches that I played back-to-back now”, said Zverev.
Djokovic seemed unstoppable, since Wimbledon, but on this match, he wasn’t at his best shape. Since he was defeated by Marin Cilic in June, he had only lost three matches, all by the hands of Next Gen Players: Stefanos Tsitsipas (Toronto), Karen Khachanov (París-Bercy) and now Zverev.
Zverev recovered from a 6-4, 6-1 round-robin loss to Djokovic on Wednesday. He is the first player since 1990 to beat the top two seeds.
Zverev defeated Djokovic with his consistency and service. The German was confident and precise in every shot. His game was, at some point, closet to perfection.
Unbeatable during the group stage and without major difficulties in the semifinal against Kevin Anderson, Djokovic reached the final without a single break in 36 games. But Zverev, broke it four times. The final was a contrast of what happened during round robin, when Zverev won just five games. Zverev said he didn’t know what to expect from the crowd. “Yesterday I felt I had done everything right, to be honest, following the rules and how it should have been, but the reaction of the crowd was not too good for me”. The match was even until Djokovic served 3-4 in the first set. From 30-30 he committed two consecutive fore hand errors to drop his service for the first time. In the next game, Zverev served three consecutive Aces. Statistics at the end of the first set favored Zverev. The German lost only four points with his service and made 21 winning shots.
Djokovic was again in trouble in the first game of the second set. A winning service shot saved Zverev’s first break point, but in the second game Djokovic missed the typical point where he is always expected to win, while the German worked in a position of strength before break the Serbian’s forehand.
When Djokovic played 1-1 and 15-15, he scored a forehand at the end of a 27-shot rally, which gave the impression of leaving him exhausted
Djokovic was 3- 5, 15- 40, he managed to save the first match point but then a strong back hand from Zverev gave him the victory. Zverev dropped to his knees and celebrated the accomplishment, the Serbian congratulated him in a big hug.
Djokovic, said that Sascha deserved the victory, later he acknowledge that maybe the efforts made during the second half of the season have reached him. He also said that during the last couple of weeks he wasn’t at his best shape.