ATP FINALS – Daniil Medvedev-Alexander Zverev, duel of contenders with a wavering mind

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These two will have some fresh benchmarks. Only a week after their final at the Rolex Paris Masters, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev will meet again this Monday, at the O2 Arena in London, for the shock of the second day of the ATP World Tour Finals. Sure, these are the two fit men of the moment.

Titled at Bercy for the first time in his career, the 24-year-old Russian arrives in the British capital with a very different state of mind from last season, where he was then completely burnt physically. For his part, the German, who won the Masters in 2018, remains on an almost perfect indoor season, with two titles in Cologne and a final at Bercy.

Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev in Bercy, after their final.

Credit: Getty Images

In a 2020 financial year truncated by the Covid-19 pandemic, this duel between number 4 and number 7 in the ATP ranking would have all the perfect arm wrestling that could go to the tie-break of the third set, as soon as they entered the competition in the tournament. But it would be an insult to these two players not to take into account the mental and psychological aspect which affects them so much. Especially at the moment.

Zverev deaf to accusations of domestic violence

For several weeks now, Sascha Zverev no longer wears tennis as his only concern. As the Bercy Masters 1000 had just started, Zverev’s ex-companion, Olya Sharypova, set the world of the little yellow ball in motion with a damning testimony in which she claims to be a victim of domestic violence at the hands of his ex-companion.

Serious accusations which, however, did not seem to disturb the German in the slightest bit, although usually so inconstant. On the contrary, Alexander Zverev may have played the best tennis of his life at Bercy, until a final lost to Medvedev, before which he had not conceded any defeat indoors (12 wins in a row).

It is enough to look at the course in Grand Slam of the world number 7 to understand that the games at stake are not really his cup of tea. Only one final, at the US Open 2020, completely balanced as he won two sets to nothing and a break in advance. However, paradoxically, its eventful end to 2020 gave birth to a strange regularity. Only Medvedev, precisely, managed to find the key to make the Germanic giant falter.

Medvedev reboosted by Bercy

Like Zverev, the Russian ends his season in the best possible way with this first title at Bercy, which allows him. However, before this Parisian parenthesis, Daniil Medvedev had experienced many poor performances since his semi-final at the US Open.

“I was crying with my wife, he confessed, jokingly, after his success at Bercy. Well, I wasn’t crying, but I was complaining, like ‘my god, I don’t have the level anymore, I didn’t even make a final, I play so badly.’ “But pushed by his coach, with which he had a discussion at the beginning of the tournament, the Russian finally found the click.

“He had the choice: either to pick up, or to have courage in facing certain things, entrusted Gilles Cervara. And in the final, at the most difficult moment, this is where Daniil made the difference mentally. He managed to wear out Zverev and break him. ”

Exploit the flaws of an opponent who has known the same as him since the start of his career. This is where Medvedev surpassed Zverev. This Monday, the two best representatives of NextGen will challenge each other for an eighth time, with an advantage to the German in number of victories (5-2), and to the Russian in terms of dynamics. In short, as in each of their match, only the unexpected is to be expected.

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