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Alexander Zverev

tennis player

Alias: Sascha
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Bio He is a German professional tennis player. He has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), and has been a permanent fixture in the top 10 since July 2017. Zverev was the champion at the 2018 ATP Finals, making him the youngest winner at the year-end championship in a decade. He is the only active player outside of the Big Four with three ATP Masters 1000 titles. Zverev has won 13 ATP titles in singles and two in doubles. He reached his first Grand Slam final at the 2020 US Open, finishing runner-up to Dominic Thiem.

Zverev was born into a tennis family. His parents Irina and Alexander Sr. both played professionally for the Soviet Union, and his older brother Mischa is also a professional who has been ranked as high as No. 25 in the world. Zverev is a former world No. 1 junior, and won a junior Grand Slam singles title at the 2014 Australian Open. He had an early breakthrough on the professional tour as well, becoming one of the youngest Challenger title winners in history at the age of 17. As a teenager, Zverev won two ATP titles and also upset then world No. 3 Roger Federer on grass. At 20 years old, he was the youngest player to debut in the top 20 since Novak Djokovic. At the Laver Cup, Zverev has competed alongside multiple members of the Big Four and played an instrumental role in Team Europe's early success in the competition, winning the clinching match in 2018 and the deciding match in 2019.

Unusual for a player with a tall height of 6'6" (1.98m), Zverev is stronger as a returner than a server, regularly ranking higher in return rating than serve rating compared to the other players on the ATP Tour. Nonetheless, he also has an excellent serve that can reach 220 kilometres per hour (140 mph). Zverev has been praised by members of the Big Four as one of their potential successors. Rafael Nadal has called him a "clear possible future No. 1," while Djokovic has said, "Hopefully, he can surpass me."


Alexander "Sascha" Zverev was born to Irina Zvereva and Alexander Mikhailovich Zverev. He has an older brother Mischa who was born nearly a decade earlier and is a professional tennis player as well. Both of Sascha's parents were professional tennis players for the Soviet Union. His father was ranked as high as No. 175 in the world. He was also the top-ranked men's player nationally, while his mother was the fourth-highest ranked women's player. They both moved from Sochi to the capital to train at the CSKA Moscow military-run tennis club. The Soviet government often restricted their players from competing outside the country, an impediment that limited how high either of Sascha's parents could rise in the world rankings. With the collapse of the Soviet Union imminent, Irina went to Germany to compete at a tournament in 1990, with her husband accompanying as her coach. While in Germany, they were offered jobs as tennis instructors. After initially declining, they accepted an offer to work at the Uhlenhorster Hockey Club in Hamburg the following year and ended up settling in the country.

Sascha began playing tennis at a very young age. He has said, "One day, when I was I think one year and five months old, I just picked up a little racket, and I was starting to push the ball all over our apartment, and since then they took me out on the court. I enjoy it still, I enjoyed it back then." When he was five years old, he started to play tennis at least half an hour each day. Sascha was extremely competitive as a child. His brother Mischa said, "He would not understand or accept that he was losing" when the two would play against each other. He would never want to leave the court unless he won the match. Sascha also played hockey and football as a child, but decided to focus only on tennis around the age of 12 after an early-round loss at a high-level international junior tournament in Florida.

When Sascha was young, his mother was his primary coach while his father was focused on coaching his brother. He has said, "I think I have pretty good technique, which my mum did at a young age, so credit to her for that. My backhand, in particular, is 100% down to my mum.” While his mother had a more relaxed teaching style, his father "had a very Soviet way of doing physical training sessions" that involved doing timed drills for fixed numbers of repetitions. Sascha's coaches aimed for him to have a riskier, aggressive playing style built around hitting the ball with pace and finishing points quickly. This was a big contrast from how he played around age 12 when his style centered around being an "unbelievable fighter" from the baseline in part because he was too slow to go to the net. Initially, Sascha struggled to change his playing style. He "made a lot of errors" and lost to opponents who excelled at keeping points alive. However, his father stuck with this strategy, saying, "We must practice fast tennis, aggressive tennis. If you lose today it’s no big deal. You must think about the future.

Zverev is a former world No. 1 junior. He entered his first event on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior circuit in early 2011 when he was 13. Near the beginning of 2012, Zverev won his first ITF title at the Fujairah Junior Championships, a low-level Grade 4 tournament in the United Arab Emirates. He would pick up a lower level Grade 5 title at the Oman International Junior 2 a few weeks later, which led him to begin competing in higher-level events shortly before his 15th birthday. He did not have much success at tournaments that were Grade 2 and above until the following year when he reached back-to-back doubles finals with Spencer Papa at the Grade A Copa Gerdau and the Grade 1 USTA International Spring Championships.

Zverev's early-season success in doubles proved to be the precursor of a major improvement in singles as well. During the European clay court season, he won his first Grade 1 title over Andrey Rublev at the Open International Junior de Beaulieu-sur-Mer. He followed up that performance with his first Grade A title at the Trofeo Bonfiglio a month later, becoming the youngest boys' singles champion in the tournament's history. He also finished runner-up at the 2013 French Open to Christian Garín. Zverev had some grass court success as well, finishing runner-up to Nick Kyrgios at the Junior International Roehampton. However, he needed to retire at Wimbledon due to a shoulder injury. Zverev came close to reaching another Grand Slam boys' singles final at the 2013 Junior US Open, but was defeated by the eventual champion Borna Ćorić in the semifinals. This success was enough for him to take over the No. 1 ranking in late October. Before the end of the season, Zverev also represented Germany in the Junior Fed Cup, leading them to a fourth-place finish. His last tournament of the year was the Grade A Orange Bowl, where he was defeated by Stefan Kozlov in the semifinals. As the top-ranked junior at the end of the season, he was named the ITF Junior World Champion, becoming the youngest boys' champion since Donald Young in 2005.

Zverev played just two tournaments in 2014, both in Australia in January. He won the singles events at both tournaments, the first of which came against Australian Omar Jasika at the Traralgon Junior International. At the Australian Open, he was able to defeat Kozlov, who was seeded second, to finish his junior career with a first Grand Slam title.


Zverev is the only active player outside of the Big Four with three Masters titles and he won the ATP Finals in 2018, making him the youngest winner at the year-end championship in a decade.

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