‘The new top four are Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitispas’
Alexander Zverev has developed into a “more mature, more intelligent and more complete package”, according to his brother Mischa Zverev, who also believes the world No 3 is part of “the new top four”.
The 24-year-old Zverev won his second ATP Finals title on Sunday, beating US Open champion Daniil Medvedev in a lopsided showpiece match to win the trophy for a second time.
On top of that result, he also defeated 20-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic in the semi-final and Mischa says we are no seeing the “best” version of the younger Zverev.
“Compared to his last ATP Finals victory in 2018, he plays better, more mature, more intelligent and more complete in the overall package,” analyst Zverev told Eurosport. “He is the best Zverev there has been so far, but he can get even better.
“He has improved his volleys a lot, he also reads the game better, he knows when to attack or retreat. The selection of his strokes has also got better and he’s moving well, very intelligently, at the moment. Against Medvedev, he found an excellent balance and correctly assessed when he needed to move forward and play calmly. There were a lot of tempo changes in the game, but it was all controlled.”
World No 1 Djokovic remains the man to beat having won three Grand Slams in 2021 to take his major tally to 21, but his two biggest rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have had an injury-disrupted season.
It has opened the door for the likes of Zverev, Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Mischa feels the trio have formed a “new top four” alongside Djokovic with the former ATP player also suggesting his brother is primed for success at Grand Slam level.
The German added: “Don’t forget Tsitsipas, he was unbelievably strong for half the year. I also believe that someone like [Andrey] Rublev can annoy the other players. We also have to wait and see how things go with Nadal in the coming year. Is he coming back or not? How does he play the clay court season?
“From my point of view, the new top four are Djokovic, Medvedev, Sascha and Tsitsipas. That’s just my feeling; that can, of course, still change.
“It is mathematically possible to become No 1 without a Grand Slam title, but it is very unlikely. In the last 20 years, I think only Marcelo Rios has managed to get to the top without a Grand Slam victory.
“There are people who win a Grand Slam but have never won a Masters. You can then say that it was a lucky coup, but if you’ve already won a number of Masters and twice the ATP Finals, then that’s not lucky.
“Sascha is one of the 10 players who have become world champions [ATP Finals] more than once. This list includes players like McEnroe, Borg, Becker and Sampras.
“From a purely statistical point of view, it should be enough for a Grand Slam victory. I don’t want to rely too much on the past, but rather see how Sascha can develop further in the future.”
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