Wimbledon is the only tournament on tennis’ schedule which has not been won by a man named Zverev
The final of the ATP Finals last night went into a deciding tie-break but yet again, it was 23-year-old Alexander Zverev who won. The German doubles specialist had been beaten four times already in the tournament but as he lifted the trophy for the third time, his performance in London was, perhaps, his best yet.
“This is what winning means, playing and getting your emotions, not just playing pretty and hitting shots at the net,” he said after a 6-3, 7-6 (9-7) victory over Dominic Thiem. “That’s what it means to me right now. Obviously, I’m not used to this feeling at the moment. I feel like I really deserved this one.”
It was the first final defeat for the Austrian – the last time they met, in Rome last year, Zverev won in straight sets. Zverev had now conceded only two games in his three previous matches in the competition, winning all three sets and completing a clean sweep of the consolation titles that came in London.
A performance that was also far from perfect. If the headline number was the world number one Rafael Nadal’s devastating display against Roger Federer on Friday night – arguably his best match of the season – the second number was how the two other seeded players were faring. The world number four Thiem had never been beyond the fourth round of the US Open before, but he took Nadal to three sets for the first time in five meetings. He had never been beyond the second round of the Australian Open before, but this time, when defeat beckoned, the Austrian took it to Federer.