The youngest tennis player in the Top 10, Alexander Zverev, ranked #4, caused a major upset on Sunday, beating World #1, Novak Djokovic in straight sets to claim the biggest title of his career, the ATP World Tour Finals at London’s O2.
Known as ‘Sascha’ (a common Russian nickname for Alexander) the twenty-one year old German of Russian descent, also beat Roger Federer in Saturday’s semis. Novak comfortably won their group stage match, but wins over John Isner and Marin Cilic secured Sascha’s advancement to the last four. He previously beat Novak in the 2017 Italian Open to claim his first Masters 1000 title and enter the top 10 for the first time. Coached by his father, Alexander Snr since the age of five, the team was joined in August this year by Ivan Lendl, who was influential in Sunday’s victory.
Sascha did sign a sketch for me this year at the O2, but this one was graphed and dedicated at last year’s year-ending tournament.
After a stellar junior career, 19 year-old German tennis prodigy Alexander Zverev’s rise up the senior rankings is attracting attention. While growing up he was a huge Roger Federer fan and many are predicting he will emulate his idol. Rafael Nadal said, “He is a clear possible future No.1. He has all the shots.” Tennis is in his blood. His father Alexander Snr was a professional player, representing Russia in the Davis Cup before emigrating to Hamburg, where Alex Jnr, known on the tour as ‘Sascha’ was born. Both his father and mother are now tennis coaches and his brother Mischa is also a professional player.
Alexander won the ATP Star of Tomorrow Award and is the youngest player inside the top 50 with a current ranking of 28. On the ATP website his bio describes his playing style as “punchy ground strokes, a booming serve and sauntering athleticism” The 6′ 6″ Sascha can follow up a 130 mph first serve with a 120mph second. At the pre-Wimbledon Boodles Tennis event in June this year he beat world No.1 Novak Djokovic in straight sets and signed my sketch.