Alex Zverev moved into the top 10 for the first time in his career this week, after beating Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-3 in the Italian Open final.
Djokovic is a former world number one, and is currently the 2nd ranked player on the planet, yet the 20-year-old German dispatched him with relative ease to claim his first Masters 1000 title.
It looked as if Zverev had done it countless times before, he didn’t face a single break point in the whole match, and won an incredible 63% of Djokovic’s 2nd serve points.
The 6’6, 189lbs youngster has four career singles titles, three of which came in 2017, and it’s those notable victories in the Open de Sud in France against Richard Gasquet, at the Bavarian Championships in Germany against Guido Pella, and this week at the Italian Open against Djokovic, that has seen him soar up the rankings into the top 10.
His first title came in 2016, aged just 19, when he beat the world number three Stan Wawrinka 6-2 3-6 7-5 at the St Petersburg Open in Russia, and he has since gone on to become one of tennis’ most exciting young players.
Many have high hopes for the German, who has now become one of the outsiders with a genuine chance to shine at Roland Garros later this month, due to his ability to stay level-headed in big moments, his high work ethic, and his extraordinary adeptness to beat the big name players.
Wawrinka, Djokovic, Gasquet, Milos Raonic, John Isner, Andreas Seppi, Jeremy Chardy, Marin Cilic, Fernando Verdasco and Roberto Bautista-Agut all fell to the 20-year-old in 2017, as did Roger Federer, Gilles Simon, Vasek Pospisil, Grigor Dimitrov, David Goffin, Viktor Troicki, Benoit Paire, Jack Sock, Thomas Berdych and Dominic Thiem in 2016.
That’s 11 top 20 wins over the past two years, including an astounding six wins over current top 10 players. What makes it even more extraordinary though, is that Zverev only turned professional in 2013, aged just 17.
In October 2016 he became the youngest player to enter the ATP top 20 since Djokovic in 2006, and with his victory over the Serb in Rome this week, he became the youngest player to win a Masters 1000 title since his Italian Open final opponent did so in 2007, and the first player born in the 1990s to do the same.
At the tender age of just 20, Zverev has the world at his feet, and with the ‘Big Four’ probably only a couple of years away from hanging up their racquets, it’s surely only a matter of time before the young German soars all the way up to the top of the rankings.