The Wunderkind: Is Zverev ready to take his game to another level?

When 30-year-old German Mischa Zverev joined the ATP tour as a teenager, the professional tennis road became his younger brother’s home, too. A decade ago, Alexander—nicknamed Sascha—was already tagging along with, and hitting with, today’s top players.

“I’ve known Andy [Murray], since I was 4, 5 years old,” Sascha said. “I was pretty welcomed by those guys, by Novak [Djokovic], by other guys similar age.”

“Those guys” include Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. They’ve seen Zverev, tennis’ 20-year-old superstar-in-the-making, coming for a long time. As they watched him grow into his 6’6″ frame, they’ve been quick to recognize how far he could go.

“He’s an amazing player; he has all the shots,” Nadal said last spring. “He has everything to become [a] big star.”

“I’m just really happy for him,” Federer said after Zverev beat him last August in Montreal. “To see that he’s taking everything not just to the next level, but the next two levels.”

By the ATP Finals, Zverev had taken his game to the top. After winning two Masters 1000 events, on clay and hard courts, he finished third in the tour’s Race to London—behind only Nadal and Federer.

There’s still one glaring omission in Zverev’s future-of-the-game résumé: he has yet to make it past the fourth round of a major. When he arrived at last year’s US Open, it appeared that his Grand Slam struggles would be a thing of the past. Titles in Washington, D.C., and Montreal had made him the trendy pick to win in Flushing Meadows.

Instead, Zverev’s success inspired one of his old rivals, Borna Coric, to play the match of his life and beat him in the second round.

“It was upsetting. Today was upsetting. The way I played was upsetting,” Zverev said at the US Open. “I know I could have done some big things here. …read more

Source:: Steve Tignor