Saturday, December 15, 2018 | ePaper

Zverev ATP Finals win hints at changing of the guard

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Alexander Zverev of Germany holds his winner trophy and Novak Djokovic of Serbia holds his runner-up trophy after their ATP World Tour Finals singles final tennis match at the O2 Arena in London on Sunday.




Alexander Zverev won the biggest title of his career against Novak Djokovic at the ATP Finals on Sunday, but is the new kid on the block ready to smash the cartel at the top of the game?
The 21-year-old German has long been talked of as the leader of a pack of hungry young tyros aiming to unseat the multiple Grand Slam winners who have dominated the sport for well over a decade.
But so far he has flattered to deceive at the majors -- with a run to the quarter-finals at this year's French Open the only time he has made it past the fourth round of any of the four Slams.
It is easy to underplay his success -- he already has 10 titles under his belt including the ATP Finals and three Masters crowns.
And it was the manner of his win against Djokovic at London's O2 Arena -- overpowering the relentless Serb 6-4, 6-3 -- that caught the eye on Sunday, a day after he triumphed in straight sets against Roger Federer.
"This is the biggest title of my career so far," he said. "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."
"It's quite astonishing, winning this title, beating two such players back-to-back, Roger and Novak, in semi-finals and finals," he added. "Means so much. I'm incredibly happy and incredibly proud of this moment right now."
Zverev said a crop of top young players was on the march, desperate to end the stranglehold on the sport exerted by Djokovic, Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray in recent years.
The only three players who have beaten Djokovic since Wimbledon started -- including Zverev -- are all part of the new generation.
"Us young guys, we're coming through," said the German. "(Karen) Khachanov winning the Masters in Paris was a big thing. I was very happy for him, as well.

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