Friday , March 31 2023

Zverev, a twenty-year old Master


The strongest and most titular (in this half of 2018) of the thirties, against the most promising and winning (in some seasons) of the 20s. The last act of the Nitto Finale ATP will be mentioned in the future texts of tennis history for this symbolic value: two generations compared in the super-school closing the year.

For protagonists, however, Gogol wrote: "It lays the passing generation, confident and proud, but a new series of mistakes begins that posterity will laugh at its turn." Novak Djokovic is not deprived of pride or underestimates his engagement with Alexander Zverev, ten years younger than himself (May 1987 and April 1997): he is nervous, you can guess from the first set of how many times – up to 21! – Knock the ball before serving. On the other side of the field, the German did not fear because of the lesson he gave Serbian on Wednesday (6-4-6-1) or testosteronic access after stealing the first set of power, knowing he did not lost none during the tournament and did not sell the service.

The first set, fought and balanced, you decide the ninth game, four draws, with two Nole errors that allow Sascha to go to serve to continue in partial. He does it with impressive authority, placing three aces. When he was hit against 6th to 4th, Djokovic lost his confidence and paradoxically shot Zverev with him. The three successive games are closed with breaks, two of which suffered from Nole. Both looked at the worried looks at their corners, guarded by two Czechoslovak tennis myths, Marian Vajda (coach) and Ivan Lendl (champion and coach). Forced to follow, the Serb is not very efficient in service; in addition, he does not find the serenity that would be indispensable to him in response to changes. Pauses another break when, under 5-3, it is used to bring back to German. It ends 6-3.

Beyond what is briefly presented for the record, I pointed out that today's match is the only one to be reviewed, in response to Sky, of the fifteen played this week in the O2 Arena in Greenwich. In addition to Nole's losses in August in the third round of Masters 1000 in Toronto against 1998, Stefanos Tsitsipas (6-3 6-7 6-3) and two weeks ago in the Masters 1000 final in Paris Bercy against Karen Khachanov (7-5 ​​6-4): the only ones who before today saw him defeated after his debut with Marco Cecchinato in the finals of Roland Garros in June. In short, they are the only ones at the age of 20 who have the chance to get better ATP number one.

P.S. In correcting what I wrote yesterday, I have to admit that Zverev has every right to be legitimately considered the "master" of 2018: had he been conquered on the ground just as few await, including the writer, first in the semifinals with Federer and then in the final of today. Because, at the same age, Djokovic won his first finals ten years ago, it could indeed be a passing of the witness.

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Mario Calabresi
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