Washington | Zverev makes his mark
Alexander Zverev collected his fourth title of the year by winning the ATP’s Citi Open and has announced his intentions to make the US Open which starts in three weeks time, a prime objective.
I improved a lot in the last few months to get where I can win tournaments. The longer the tournament goes for me the better I'm able to play. Hopefully this can continue to be like that Alexander Zverev
The 20-year-old German, who is leading the ‘next generation’ of players, downed the big-hitting South African Kevin Anderson 6-4 6-4 to collect the top prize of £355.460 after just 69-minutes.
Ranked 8 in the world, the young German dropped just 9 points on his serve and never faced a break point to become the youngest player to win four ATP titles in a year, and the youngest to win the event since Juan Martin del Potro did it at 19 in 2008.
Zverev also won in St Petersburg, but this year collected titles in Montpelier, Munich and Rome where he beat Novak Djokovic in the final. He has also ousted number four Stan Wawrinka at Miami and pushed Rafael Nadal to five sets in the third round of the Australian Open.
“I improved a lot in the last few months to get where I can win tournaments,” Zverev said. “The longer the tournament goes for me the better I’m able to play. Hopefully this can continue to be like that.
“I’m ‘Next Gen’ but the rankings say it for themselves,” Zverev added. “I think I showed I can play with the big guys this year. I think I showed I’m not an ‘in the future’ kind of guy. I’m right now.”
Only Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Roger Federer with five titles has won more ATP crowns this year than Zverev, and that’s only because the Swiss star handed the German his lone finals loss of 2017 at Halle in June.
“A lot of people are looking at him as the face of tennis and the next Grand Slam champion,” the defeated Anderson said of Zverev. “He seems to deal with it all pretty well. It will be interesting to see how the next little while progresses.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins a few Grand Slams. He definitely seems to be on a path in that direction.”
Zverev, who will remain a career-best eighth in Monday’s rankings, lost in the fourth-round at Wimbledon run, losing in five sets to Milos Raonic.
“Winning those types of matches is the next level I need to reach,” Zverev said. “To get far in those events is my next goal.”
Zverev thanked new co-coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, the former world number one from Spain who worked with him at an event for the first time this week.
“What a way to start together and hopefully we have many more years to come and many more titles together,” Zverev said. “It’s amazing what we’ve already accomplished.”
Anderson wasn’t disappointed declaring: “I played some of my best tennis here. That has been really encouraging. The couple of times I had small openings he played really well ”
In Mexico, Sam Querrey pocketed his tenth career title when he defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis for the Los Cabos crown. It was his second victory of the year in Mexico having previously won the Acapulco title by defeating Rafa Nadal in the final.
Querrey won 6-3 3-6 6-2 and as a result, will improve his ranking and enter the top 20 for the first time since 2013.
“It’s really exciting to win here. I felt like I played really well. This tournament only keeps getting better, so I’m already excited to come back next year,” the big serving American said. “I think the last couple of months have been the best I’ve played and if I can keep this going the rest of the year, it’ll be my best year on tour yet.”
For the 21-year-old Australian who is one of the ‘next generation’ players, it was his best run of his career having never previously reached an ATP Tour final. On this occasion he was the lowest ranked finalist (454) since 2009 but that can be blamed on being out of the game for 18 months thanks to a series of injuries only returning to competitive play last May.
“I’m obviously disappointed at the moment. I definitely thought I could have done better, but I have to look at the positives in that this is my best week on tour. Hopefully this is just a small step,” he said. “The good news is that I have a lot of things to work on and I’m still having tight matches with some of the best players in the world.”