In the last decade, the greatest dilemma of the ATP circuit is what will happen with the next generation of professional tennis players, once the inevitable end of the “Big 4” finally comes.
Alexander Zverev, at the age of 22, has stablished as one of the best players in the world, and with this he holds now the responsibility to follow the steps of the so called “Big 4”.
Since Alexander was born, the sport has been a big part of his life. Both his parents are former professional tennis players, that represented the Soviet Union. He shares the Tennis gen with his older brother Mischa.
“I always say that tennis is my passion since I was a boy, it was my first love”, he said. “I have never played for the money, the sponsorships or the contracts… I play because I want and because i enjoy it very much”.
“Sascha” always tells the same story: he graved a racquet to push a ball around the house, being this the first time, he connected with the sport.
“When I was around a year and a half, I grabbed a racquet and started to move the ball around the entire apartment”, tells Zverev. “later they took me to a tennis court and since then, they can’t keep me away of the courts. I enjoyed it back then and I still do. That’s how everything started”.
With his family being deep into the sport, Zverev was immediately involved with tennis. While his father worked with Mischa, his mother was his first coach. He was really competitive, something common between brothers who play the same sport.
“I believe I have a good technique and my mother helped me developed it, so I give all the credit to her”, said Alexander. “My backhand particularly, it is 100% because of my mother’s coaching skills”.
The introduction to the sport at a young age with the competitiveness, took Alexander to rise in the junior category, taking him to Top 1 and at the age of 13 he participated at his first event of the ITF junior circuit.
Just a couple of years after, he debuted in the ATP tour in the Hamburg tournament. But he prioritized his participation in the Junior circuit until he won the Junior title of Australian Open in 2014.
That win was the trigger to convince Alexander to jump to the professional circuit, but he spent the next two years playing between challengers and the ATP tour, his first win was until 2016.
In the semi finals of the Halle Open in Germany, Zverev got his first win against Roger Federer, until that moment he had been finalist of the tournament for 10 years in a row.
That victory was the first big step in Alexander’s career, he didn’t won the title in the tournament but he got his first win after only a couple of months in Saint Petersburg , were he won against Stan Wawrinka, champion of the US Open.
“It was very special”, said Alexander. “I am very happy for the victory but, most of all because it was against a great player like Wawrinka”.
Fast forwarding the history 2 years, Zverev is found in the Top 10 with multiple Masters titles. Every success reached has and exceed the expectations everybody had on him.
In 2019 his rise got complicated.
After winning the London ATP Finals at the end of 2018, Zverev had a lot of highs and lows. Mid-April he only won 12 of 18 disputed matches. The bad luck strike began with a defeat against Milos Raonic in 3 sets at the Australian Open.
In that match, Zverev smashed the racquet after Raonic won 8 consecutive games. No one knew but it was a premonition of what was going to happen during the next months, that were a little complicate for the German.
“It made me feel better”, he explained. “I was really upset, and I let my anger out. After London I didn’t have time to rest properly, but that is how the life of a tennis player goes. I’m happy of how the season end and I wouldn’t change anything”.
One month after Sacha’s fall in Australia, he showed signs of the quality of game we were used to see him play, he advanced in Abierto Mexicano, but he was defeated by Nick Kyrgios. Weeks later in the Barcelona Open he lost against Nico Jarry in three sets.
“It’s not a secret my game is not at its best “, he said to the press. “I’m losing shots with my backhand, which I consider is my biggest strength. I’m not doing anything well. I’m failing my service and committing a lot of double faults. My game is low, and I don’t know what to do to get out of this situation”.
“Yes, I won Masters titles and the ATP finals in 2018, but now what? I’ve realized it is not healthy to think this way. Tennis doesn’t follow a straight line.”, he said. You don’t win first a challenge, then an ATP250, 500, Masters. Things doesn’t work this way. As a junior I never won a Future. Maybe I need to win more Masters before I win a Grand Slam. I’m not worried about it, I know my moment will come”.
“Many young players have had better outcomes in the Grand Slams, but I’m not worried. I know who I am and why I’m doing this for. I work every single day to become the best version of myself”, said Alexander Zverev, the principal heir to the tennis throne.