ATP Finals 2021

Slams only thing missing

Olympic champ Zverev ends great year with ATP Finals title, vows to end Major drought

TURIN (Italy) • Having earned the Olympic singles gold at the Tokyo Games and now a two-time winner of the season-ending ATP Finals, Alexander Zverev has proven himself on the biggest stage.

But the German knows the one thing missing from his trophy cabinet are Grand Slams, which he intends to rectify next year.

Zverev captured his second ATP Finals title - his first was in 2018 - after a brilliant performance to defeat world No. 2 and US Open winner Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-4 in Sunday's final in Turin, Italy.

Zverev, ripping unreturnable serves and spectacular swing volleys, did not face a break point. Instead, he broke once in each set as he swept his Russian opponent aside in 75 minutes.

After ending a run of five straight defeats by defending champion Medvedev for a Tour-leading sixth trophy of the season, Zverev's attention turned to Majors, with the Australian Open starting on Jan 17.

"I've kind of succeeded on every single level, there's only one thing missing, so I hope I can do that next year," the 24-year-old, who lost to Dominic Thiem in last year's US Open final, said.

Despite his big-bang game and capacity to charm in three languages, Zverev remains a divisive figure because of the ongoing tour investigation into his alleged physical violence against a former girlfriend, Olya Sharypova. He has denied the allegations of abuse and said that he welcomes the inquiry so he can clear his name.

He will skip the Davis Cup finals to be played in Madrid, Turin and Innsbruck from Thursday to Dec 5 for a well-deserved break.

"It was great, I won the ATP Finals against someone I'd lost to five times in a row so I had to play one of my best matches," he said.

"I'm happy with that and ready to go on holidays. There's no better way to end the season than winning here. But I'm now very much looking forward to next year already.

This was the event's first final to feature two players aged 25 or younger since 2005. With Roger Federer out of the picture for the better part of two years and Rafael Nadal also struggling with injury, the transition from the "Big Three", including world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, to tennis' new generation is well under way.

  • 6-0

    Alexander Zverev 's record in final appearances this season, en route to winning an ATP Tour-leading six titles.

An ATP-best 59th win of the season made Zverev the fourth player in tournament history to earn semi-final and final victories over the top-two ranked players, and first since Andre Agassi in 1990.

Medvedev believes that Zverev, conqueror of Djokovic in Saturday's semi-finals, can make a long-awaited Major breakthrough but it was not entirely up to him.

"There are a lot of great players who don't have a Grand Slam title," Medvedev added. "Sascha is a great player who is capable of beating anybody, so he definitely can win a Grand Slam, but he's not the only one and that's where it gets tough. Is he capable? Yes. Is he going to do it? We never know."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2021, with the headline 'Slams only thing missing'. Subscribe