Alexander Zverev is a German professional tennis player who has been touted as a successor of the Big Four when they retire. He is also the only active player outside of the Big Four with at least three ATP Masters 1000 titles.
Name: Alexander Zverev
Born: April 20, 1998
Turned Pro: 2013
Alexander Zverev was born to Russian parents in Hamburg, Germany and began playing tennis at age five. Both his parents were professional tennis players for the Soviet Union, before moving to Germany in 1991. His mother, Irina Zvereva, was his primary coach during his youth and he soon dropped football and hockey to focus solely on tennis by the time he was 12. He entered his first ITF event in 2011 and won his first ITF title a year later at age 14. He would go on to win a few more ITF titles and finish runner-up at the 2013 French Open Boys event, losing to Cristian Garin in the final.
Zverev made his ATP main draw debut at 2013 International German Open, losing to Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round. The next year saw him win the Boys’ singles title at the 2014 Australian Open, after which he decided to focus on his professional career. He would compete on the ATP Challenger Tour, winning his first title at the 2014 Sparkassen Open in Germany. At 17 years and 2 months, he became the youngest player to win a Challenger title since Bernard Tomic in 2009. He cemented this title with a breakthrough performance at the International German Open, recording his first match-wins at the ATP level to reach the semifinals. He would lose to World No.7 David Ferrer, but saw his ranking rise to No.161. He finished the season ranked World No.136, having begun the year ranked outside the Top 600.
The 2015 season saw Zverev win another Challenger title to crack the Top 100 of the ATP rankings. Prior to Wimbledon, he upset World No.1 Novak Djokovic in the Boodles Challenge exhibition. He reached his second ATP semifinal at the Swedish Open, and defeated World No.14 Kevin Anderson at the Citi Open. He would fall in the opening round of the 2015 US Open but ended the year ranked No.83 in the world. It therefore came as no surprise that he was named the ATP Newcomer of the year for the 2015 season.
The following year saw Zverev reach his first ATP singles final, losing to World No.15 Dominic Thiem at the Open de Nice Côte d’Azur. He would record the biggest win of his career at the 2016 Halle Open, where he defeated World No.3 Roger Federer in the semifinals. Nonetheless, he would finish runner-up to veteran compatriot Florian Mayer. However, this strong showing saw him break into the Top 30 for the first time in his career.
Zverev would win his maiden ATP title at St. Petersburg after the US Open, defeating World No.3 Stan Wawrinka in the final. A third round appearance at the Shanghai Open helped him rise to No.20 in the rankings, making him the youngest player to debut in the Top 20 since Novak Djokovic in 2006.
During the 2017 season, Zverev would triumph in both the singles and doubles event at the Open Sud de France. He would go on to win another title at the Bavarian International Tennis Championships, before claiming the biggest title of his career. The German defeated Novak Djokovic in the Rome Masters final, to claim his maiden ATP Masters title. Not only did he become the youngest Masters champion (age 19) since Djokovic in 2007, but he also broke into the Top 10 following that victory.
Zverev would win two more titles that season, in Washington and another in Montreal, his second career ATP Masters trophy. At the end of the season, he qualified for the inaugural Next Gen Finals and the ATP Finals. He would skip the former and compete in the latter, although he did not advance past the group stage. However, he finished the 2017 season ranked World No.4, having reached a career-high of No.3 just before the ATP Finals.
The 2018 season saw Zverev maintain a Top 5 ranking throughout the year. Although he performed well at other events, he would suffer early-round losses at Grand Slam events. He was upset at the 2018 Australian Open by World No.59 Hyeon Chung in the third round and stated that his issues at Majors were “definitely not physical”. Nonetheless, he would reach the final of the BNP Paribas Open, losing to American John Isner in three sets.
The German won his third ATP Masters title at the Madrid Open, defeating Dominic Thiem in the final. He came close to winning back-to-back Masters titles, but lost to Rafael Nadal in the Rome Open final. After defending his title at the Bavarian International Tennis Championships, he reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the 2018 French Open. He would lose to Dominic Thiem, capping off an excellent clay-court season.
After losing in the third round at both Wimbledon and the US Open, Zverev reached the semifinal at the Shanghai Masters. He would again qualify for both the Next Gen Finals and the ATP Finals, choosing to play at the latter for the second consecutive year. Zverev would win the event, capturing the tenth and biggest title of his career after defeating Djokovic in the final. He became the first German to win the season-ending event since Boris Becker in 1995, and the youngest to do so since Djokovic in 2008.
Zverev experienced a dip in form during the 2019 season, winning only one title at the Geneva Open. He reached his second consecutive French Open quarterfinal, losing to Novak Djokovic. He was upset by Czech Jiri Vesely in the first round of the Wimbledon Championships. However, he turned his season around by reaching the semifinals at Hamburg and the quarterfinals at the Canadian Open. His best result of the season came at the 2019 Shanghai Open, where he upset No.3 Roger Federer in the quarterfinals before losing to No.4 Daniil Medvedev in the final. He would qualify for the ATP Finals but fail to defend his title, losing to Dominic Thiem in the semifinals.
Zverev began the 2020 season by participating in the inaugural ATP Cup, losing all three of his matches. He would reach the Australian Open semifinals, his best result at a Grand Slam. However, he fell to eventual runner-up Dominic Thiem in four sets. Nonetheless, he donated $50,000 of his prize money to relief efforts for the Australian bushfires.
In addition to participating in ATP events, Zverev has also been a permanent fixture on the Laver Cup. He has represented Team Europe each year since it’s inception in 2017. He has an elder brother, Mischa Zverev, who is also a professional tennis player and the duo have won two ATP titles together. His tennis idol is Roger Federer, and he is also a basketball fan, supporting the Miami Heat in the NBA. Due to his multicultural background, he is fluent in English, German and Russian.
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