Alexander Zverev Looks to Add to Nitto ATP Finals Title Collection
German tennis star aims for another victory at prestigious year-end event
Apart from the legendary Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev stands alone as the only active player to have won multiple titles at the Nitto ATP Finals. The German sensation claimed the prestigious crown at the O2 Arena in London back in 2018, and now he has his sights set on adding another triumph to his collection here in Turin in 2021.
However, Zverev’s journey to this year’s tournament was not without its challenges. The 24-year-old missed out on qualifying for the year-end event in 2022 due to a horrific ankle injury he suffered during his Roland Garros semi-final against Rafael Nadal, which abruptly ended his season.
Despite the setback, Zverev managed to secure two titles this year and currently holds the No.7 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Just a few months ago, qualifying for Turin seemed like a distant dream for Zverev, considering his slow start to the year while recovering from injury.
“It was difficult in the beginning. I was nowhere near even thinking about Turin,” Zverev admitted. “I was solely focused on how to win matches. I was barely scraping by, struggling to accumulate points as well.”
Fortunately, Zverev’s fortunes took a turn for the better during the summer. Making it to the semi-finals of Roland Garros proved to be a pivotal moment for him. “I think that was a big turning point for me. From then onwards, it was fun to be on the tennis court again,” he reflected.
Throughout his journey back to the top eight, Zverev learned valuable lessons about patience and perseverance. “That you don’t get what you want straight away. You have to be patient at times. You have to work relentlessly for the things you truly desire,” he shared.
Before his injury, Zverev was tantalizingly close to claiming the coveted World No.1 ranking, but fate had other plans. “All of a sudden, after the injury, I found myself ranked 27th in the world. So being back in the top eight and competing in this tournament is an incredibly special moment for me,” Zverev expressed with gratitude.
In the upcoming Nitto ATP Finals, Zverev finds himself drawn into the red group alongside formidable opponents Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, and Andrey Rublev.
When asked about facing Rublev, Zverev described his opponent as “powerful, exerting a tremendous amount of effort, and possessing hard-hitting forehands.”
Zverev has encountered Medvedev on 17 occasions throughout his career, with the German currently trailing 6-11 in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series. “We were evenly matched in our head-to-head before this season,” Zverev revealed. “Then, this season came along. We faced each other frequently in the first part of the year, and then we played two more matches in the second part, resulting in a 1-1 split.”
Describing Medvedev’s playing style, Zverev emphasized, “He’s somebody who doesn’t give you anything. He’s like a wall on the court, and you really have to earn the victory yourself.”
Zverev’s opening round-robin match will be against 2023 debutant Carlos Alcaraz on Monday afternoon. The German and the 20-year-old Spaniard currently share a 3-3 record in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series.
When asked about the challenge of facing Alcaraz, Zverev acknowledged his opponent’s remarkable achievements. “He is undeniably one of the best players in the world over the last two years. He has clinched two grand slam titles and has held the World No.1 ranking. So it’s no secret that it will be a difficult match,” Zverev admitted.
Despite the tough competition, Zverev remains confident in his abilities. To defeat Alcaraz, he believes he must bring his A-game. “To beat him, I have to be at my absolute best. The times I have emerged victorious against him were when I played my finest tennis. If I’m not at my peak, if I’m slightly off, if I’m not striking the ball as well as I can, I won’t stand a chance,” Zverev asserted.