Alexander Zverev’s 2019: a transition year that may position him just right for 2020

by   |  VIEW 2236

Alexander Zverev’s 2019: a transition year that may position him just right for 2020

Alexander Zverev has been one of the most promising players to take over from the Big Three for the last two years. He reached his tennis zenith by achieving the ATP Finals title last year. Combined with the three Masters 1000 titles from the previous two years, his position seemed all but assured to take over from Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic.

‘Mischa Zverev’ may have broken through their glass ceiling on the Masters titles, but his quarterfinal match at the French Open—two years in a row—remains his best Slam showing. Zverev won one title this year, in Geneva, but made two other finals on hard courts, first falling to Nick Kyrgios at the Mexico Open, and most impressively, the final at the Shanghai Masters, where he lost to a Daniil Medvedev who was on fire in the second half of the tennis season.

2019 didn’t match the highs of his breakthrough 2017-2018 years. Personal issues cast a pall over his efforts this year: first with the breakup of his girlfriend earlier in the year, his dad’s health, but mostly concerning his distracting legal dispute with his former manager.

He also parted ways with coach Ivan Lendl, who many were hoping would help hone Zverev’s talents into slam success, much like he did with Andy Murray.

However, there are signs that Zverev’s woes may be behind him.

Although 2019 was a mixed bag of results for him, the 22-year-old seemed to bounce back during the post-grass season. He reached his best result at the U.S. Open—the fourth round—and continued to rise the momentum afterwards.

Most impressively, he defeated several big names along the way to making the Shanghai Masters, including the upset win over Federer, Andrey Rublev, and Matteo Berretiini, who was on a hot streak. His fight back from losing five set points to eventually bring in the win over his idol Federer is considered one of the best matches of the year, 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-3.

The win also made the German player only the third player to own a favorable head-to-head stat over the Swiss legend, after Nadal and Djokovic.

“Obviously it was an important match,” said Zverev, to the ATP, at the time.

“The head-to-head is obviously a great thing to have, but more importantly for me is it was a match to kind of maybe turn my year around a little bit”.

Zverev may have achieved less titles this year than the previous two, but he reached the quarters at several tournaments.

His clutch win at the Laver Cup gave Team Europe the decisive win, in a thrilling down-to-the-wire victory over Milos Raonic, which was noted for a famous pep talk from Federer and Nadal.

The Monte Carlo resident seemed to take the advice to heart since he followed up his win over Federer in Shanghai with a two-sets sweep over the Spaniard in their first round robin clash at the ATP Finals.

Zverev avenged his loss to Medvedev by also defeating the US Open finalist in London, before succumbing to a too-good Dominic Thiem in the semis. Notably, Zverev’s loss to Djokovic in the Roland Garros quarters was also a positive indication of his career track on clay.

The match was much closer than the German’s loss at the same round the previous year, with Zverev putting up a fight to nearly take the first set from the 16-time slam champion.

The current world No.

7 finished off his year participating in “the greatest match” with Federer, as part of their South American exhibition tour, breaking the record for most attended tennis match with 44,517 fans in Mexico City.

Newly managed by Federer’s Team 8, and with a new supermodel girlfriend in tow, Alexander Zverev will be looking to translate the positive results he achieved at the end of the year into propulsive momentum at the outset of 2020.

He is scheduled to represent Germany in the new ATP Cup as key preparation for the Australian Open.

With his management house in order and personal life back on track, Alexander Zverev looks strong heading into the new year.