Alexander Zverev wants to enjoy the prestigious ATP Finals
Photo: GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANE / REUTERS
The German tennis professional Alexander Zverev has caused a surprise at the start of the ATP Finals in Turin. The 26-year-old defeated world number two and Wimbledon winner Carlos Alcaraz of Spain 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-4.
"I'm glad to be back. I missed it a lot last year," Zverev said in an interview on the court. In 2022, Zverev had to miss out injured. "I knew I had to serve well today. I succeeded. I'm happy to have the first victory in my pocket," said Zverev, who hit 16 aces.
Zverev will meet the Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrei Rublev in the group stage. The top two make it to the semi-finals. Until 19 November, the eight best players of the season will fight for the most important title outside the four Grand Slam tournaments and for a total of 15 million US dollars in prize money. Up to 4.8 million US dollars and thus record prize money can be secured by the winner of the individual competition this year.
At the ATP Finals, Zverev is considered an outsider. After a serious foot injury, Zverev had struggled to get going this season. It wasn't until the middle of the season that the Hamburg-born player found his old form and made it to the semifinals at the French Open.
Zverev and Alcaraz allow themselves phases of weakness
Against Alcaraz, Zverev started well. He managed a fast break, also because Alcaraz was clearly aware of the lack of match practice in recent weeks. He had taken a break with problems with the sole of his foot and back. The Spaniard made an unusually large number of mistakes, and there was not much to see of his usual powerful game.
But Zverev was unable to take advantage of Alcaraz's weak start. Instead, he had to give up his serve himself a little later and increasingly found himself on the defensive, also because he could not use four break points at 3: 3. Alcaraz drew new confidence from this and took over the scepter. At 5:6, Zverev was able to fend off three set points and save himself in the tiebreak. But a little later, after just over an hour, the Spaniard won the first round on his fourth attempt.
Zverev, however, was unimpressed. In the second set, he immediately took Alcaraz's serve again and was able to maintain the lead this time. With an ace he equalized the set after 1:43 hours. Alcaraz seemed inhibited, especially his otherwise so dangerous stop balls did not succeed him. Zverev took advantage of this and took the lead at 3:2 with a break. Shortly afterwards, however, he had to survive a moment of shock when he slipped – and then immediately hit the next ace.