Son of Russians, born and raised in Germany, he enjoyed again thanks to working with David Ferrer. He knows what it is to beat the “Big Three”, but he lacks a Grand Slam
To speak of Russia and Germany is to navigate in murky waters, in unknown tides with winds that you can never be sure of which side will blow. With many differences, but also multiple points in common, these countries “share”, in some way – and although he recognizes himself 100% German – Alexander Zverev.
A purely Russian surname, like his blood, but a 100% Teutonic passport, the young man Sascha It was born when Germany was already one, when the Berlin Wall was a memory, when the Soviet Union only remained in the history books.
At 23 years old (he came into the world in 1997), he is a young good of this time. It surprises the elderly, but not so much those who are in his age range, that in the middle of the semifinal among those who could be his rivals in the definition of the US Open 2020, he was more aware of the cell phone than what happened in the cement.
Sure, Alex – and even if he plays it – is of the generation that hardly remains trapped by a tennis match for three hours or more. Yes, he is the one who prefers to dive into social networks or, better yet, treat himself for a while on the PlayStation.
As a sample is enough a button, back in 2016 he recognized that the last book he had read was probably one from high school. “You don’t read these days … Watch Netflix,” was her comment without blushing.
It is more: if the good of Sascha you have to choose a sport, probably choose basketball over tennis. His list of three athletes that he most admires, although headed by Roger Federer, is completed by the NBA Dwyane Wade, Miami icon (a team of which Zverev is recognized as a fan), and Dirk Nowitzki, his compatriot champion with Dallas.
In a way, Zverev’s path was marked out in advance. Dad Alexander was a professional who, although he did not stand out, managed to reach the top 175 of the ATP circuit and a couple of Grand Slam main frames.
Mama Irina, meanwhile, did not pass beyond the 380th place in the WTA but in the Soviet Union she was one of the four best players. And that both she and her husband did not have major events was not so much because of their actions as because of the difficulties that the government put them to compete internationally.
At one year old, Zverev was already holding his first rackets. As if his parents had not been enough, his brother Mischa, ten years older (and also born in Russia) is also a professional tennis player and reached the Top 25. There was no other alternative: the courts were in their destiny.
And at the same time that it has all the characteristics of a centennial, in its development there is an indisputable flavor at the time of work that is a mark of previous generations: discipline over enjoyment.
Alexander Sr.’s upbringing led him to implement rigorous training, with a very high physical demand that, hopefully, the boy did not like as much as when his mother trained him. From Irina, he says, he took his backhand.
And it seems no coincidence that he reached his first Grand Slam final when a word appears again in his tennis vocabulary: enjoy.
The secret ingredient that gave that flavor to his current game has a Spanish name: David Ferrer. Although he is not with him in the United States to accompany him to the US Open, he is the one with whom Zverev has been working, on a trial basis, in recent months.
“His work has been excellent and very organized,” said the German. “I enjoyed training with him more than I have in recent years; I hadn’t felt that in a long time. I’m happy he’s on the team. He has instilled in me that you need to enjoy what you do to be successful and I think we both do. when we are together, “he later admitted in statements made during the current contest.
Although his best level was not seen permanently in these two weeks, Zverev achieved what he had set as an initial goal: to take advantage of the absences of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. He also took advantage of the expulsion of Novak Djokovic.
It is not that he lacks to compete with them. In fact in 2018, at age 21, she won the Masters beating the Swiss in the semi-final and the Serbian in the final.