Alexander Zverev underlined his burgeoning potential by defeating Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in successive days to clinch the biggest title of his career at the ATP Finals.
The 21-year-old has long been thought of as a future world number one and he overcame a hostile reception following his win over Federer on Saturday to outmuscle Djokovic on Sunday at the O2 Arena for his 10th ATP Tour title.
Here, Press Association Sport gives the lowdown on the 6ft 6in German:
1 Keep it in the family
Born in Hamburg in April 1997 to Russian parents, Zverev is often referred to as Sascha – a common nickname for Alexander in Russia. Both of his parents are former tennis players with Alexander Sr qualifying for the first round of the 1985 Australian Open and Wimbledon the following year, losing on both occasions. Alexander Sr trains both of his sons, with Mischa also in the top 100 of the ATP rankings. Mischa, almost 10 years older than his brother, reached the quarter-finals of last year’s Australian Open, defeating then world number one Andy Murray along the way.
2 Hiring Lendl
The biggest week of Zverev’s career comes only a few months after adding Ivan Lendl to his coaching team. Lendl, a former world number one and eight-time grand slam champion, proved an astute coach to Andy Murray. The Scot was finally able to realise his grand slam dream under the Czech and it is clearly hoped he will have the same effect on Zverev’s career. Despite two Masters series wins and his latest triumph in London, Zverev has yet to make much of an impact in the four majors and has only made one quarter-final – at the French Open this year.
3 A Yorkshire love-in
One of the sub-plots of Zverev’s run to the French Open quarters was the unlikely bond he struck up with Bradford-born sports reporter Jonathan Pinfield at his post-match press conferences, captivated by the Yorkshire accent. On their first meeting, Zverev said: “If they ever make a tournament there then I’m definitely coming just because of that accent, I love it! I didn’t understand a word you were saying but it’s not important.” After his defeat to Dominic Thiem in the last eight at Roland Garros, he told Pinfield: “I think you’re the only person who can make me smile right now.”
4 Roger Federer is his idol
The boos that greeted his semi-final victory over Federer in London may have stung that little bit extra given Zverev’s obvious deference to the great Swiss. Zverev has called the 20-time grand slam champion a “true inspiration”, “the greatest player of all time” and “someone that I’ve looked up to my whole life” across several Instagram posts. Zverev’s straight-sets victory at the weekend levelled their head-to-head record at 3-3, while he also has a 50 per cent success rate against Djokovic with two wins from their four meetings.
5 Puppy love
Zverev’s dog Lovik has featured on his Instagram page on several occasions and has been known to travel to events with the tall right-hander – the pet was even granted an accreditation pass to the 2015 US Open as the player’s ‘guest’. Zverev’s affinity for other dogs has been shown on his social channels, referring to one at the Boodles event in June as “my new second best friend”.