Tennis

Tennis is a racquet sport that can be played individually against a single opponent (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles). Each player uses a racquet that is strung with cord to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over or around a net and into the opponent's court.

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The 2018 Nitto ATP Finals at The O2 in London brought a close to another spectacular season on the ATP World Tour, as 21-year-old Alexander Zverev defeated World No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 to capture the biggest title of his career to date. Americans Mike Bryan and Jack Sock clinched a thrilling doubles final, saving one championship point on route to a 5-7, 6-1, 13-11 (Match Tie-Break) win over the French pairing of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.
By winning the prestigious title, Zverev became the youngest winner of the season-ending tournament since Djokovic in 2008 (Shanghai), and the first German to win the title since Boris Becker in 1995 (Frankfurt). The German, who won four out of his five matches across the eight days, collected a total of $2,509,000 in prize money and 1,300 ATP Rankings points to finish the season at No. 4 in the ATP Rankings, behind Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
The 2018 season-ending tournament attracted 243,819 spectators across the eight days of competition, bringing the tournament’s cumulative attendance since 2009 to 2,561,084 across 150 sessions. This year’s attendance at The O2 brings the total attendance across the ATP World Tour’s 64 tournaments in 2018 to 4.57 million fans, the second highest number in the Tour’s history, behind 2017. The 2018 Nitto ATP Finals also attracted record audiences online, with more than 200 million impressions on ATP’s digital platforms.
Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said: “This year’s Nitto ATP Finals will be remembered for the moment that Alexander Zverev truly arrived and delivered on one of the biggest stages in tennis, in the final match of the ATP World Tour season. At just 21 years of age, he is leading the charge and to follow his career in years to come will be fascinating for tennis fans across the world. Full credit as well to Novak for his incredible comeback this season, which saw him finish as year-end No. 1 in the ATP Rankings for a fifth time. And, finally, on behalf of the ATP, we would like to thank the fans that came out to support and who continue to play such a big part in making our season-ending event so successful in London.”
The Nitto ATP Finals has a rich history dating back to the birth of the Masters in Tokyo in 1970. The tournament will be held at The O2 in London though 2020.BY THE NUMBERS:
• 202,577,553 – number of impressions across on ATP digital platforms (ATPWorldTour.com, NittoATPFinals.com, live scoring apps, and social media platforms, and Tennis TV) throughout the event.
• 36,678,342 – number of video plays on ATP digital media platforms, including ATPWorldTour.com, NittoATPFinals.com, ATP & Tennis TV social media platforms.
• 5,069,586 – number or interactions (likes, comments, retweets, replies etc.) on ATP and Tennis TV social media platforms throughout the event
• 8,500,000 – amount of prize money (US$) on offer at the 2018 season finale.
• 4,571,625 – number of fans that attended the 64 tournaments on the ATP World Tour in 2018, the second highest on record, behind 2017.
• 2,561,084 – cumulative attendance at the season-ending tournament across 150 sessions since it moved to London in 2009
• 2,509,000 – amount of prize money (US$) that Alexander Zverev won by capturing the title.
• 890,000 – number of streams on Tennis TV the ATP’s official live streaming service, with each viewer watching an average of 178 minutes per day.
• 358,472 – number of people to pass through The O2 site in 2018, including the restaurants, bars and shops, during the eight days of the tournament.
• 243, 819 – attendance inside The O2 arena across the eight days.
• 28,700 – amount of money (GBP) donated by ATP to help Unicef protect children in danger around the world (£100 per ace – 287 aces in total).
• 20,000 – number of re-usable plastic cups used by fans as part of ATP’s sustainability initiatives throughout the tournament.
• 110 – the largest number decibels measured inside The O2 arena through the Infosys ATP Fan Meter, on the opening evening’s match between Federer and Kei Nishikori.
• 36 – the number of different countries to have media accreditation at the event.

Imagine losing almost 50,000 points and 160 matches and calling it one of the best seasons of your life.
That’s exactly what the Top 10 combined to produce in the 2018 season, earning them north of $64 million in prize money in the process.
An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the Top 10 players in the ATP Rankings at the completion of the 2018 season sheds light on all the winning and losing that go hand-in-hand with reaching the pinnacle of our sport.Total Points Won / LostThe Top 10 combined to lose 48,501 points in the 2018 season. They averaged winning just 53.0 per cent (54,424/102/925) of total points, highlighting that their real advantage is not as much as we perceive. Kevin Anderson won the most points (6151) and also lost the most points (5726) of the Top 10 in the 2018 season.Top 10: 2018 Season - Points Won & Lost / Prize Money
Ranking
Player
Points Won
Points Lost
Total
Win %
Prize Money
1
N. Djokovic
5796
4832
10628
54.5%
$12,609,672
2
R. Nadal
4281
3447
7728
55.4%
$8,663,347
3
R. Federer
5097
4280
9377
54.4%
$7,599,233
4
A. Zverev
5998
5356
11354
52.8%
$7,726,914
5
J. M. Del Potro
5167
4514
9681
53.4%
$5,917,766
6
K. Anderson
6151
5726
11877
51.8%
$4,922,699
7
M. Cilic
5427
4877
10304
52.7%
$4,727,148
8
D. Thiem
5969
5465
11434
52.2%
$4,556,745
9
K. Nishikori
5156
4850
10006
51.5%
$3,784,388
10
J. Isner
5382
5154
10536
51.1%
$3,746,875
-
TOTAL / AVERAGE
54424
48501
102925
53.0%
$64,254,787
Rafael Nadal = Best Win PercentageRafael Nadal finished at No. 2 in the ATP Ranking- in the 2018 season, but he actually had the highest win percentage of points won at 55.4 per cent, which was his second best performance in the past four seasons.Rafael Nadal 2015-2018 - Percentage Of Points Won• 2018 = 55.4% (4281/7728)
• 2017 = 55.5% (6519/11743)
• 2016 = 53.7% (3733/6947)
• 2015 = 53.4% (6517/12215)
Nadal also had the best Top 10 winning percentage with matches won and lost in 2018, at 91.8 per cent (45-4).Top 10: 2018 Season - Matches Won & Lost
Ranking
Player
Matches Won
Matches Lost
Total Matches
Win %
1
N. Djokovic
53
12
65
81.5%
2
R. Nadal
45
4
49
91.8%
3
R. Federer
48
10
58
82.8%
4
A. Zverev
58
19
77
75.3%
5
J. M. Del Potro
47
13
60
78.3%
6
K. Anderson
47
19
66
71.2%
7
M. Cilic
42
20
62
67.7%
8
D. Thiem
54
20
74
73.0%
9
K. Nishikori
43
21
64
67.2%
10
J. Isner
34
22
56
60.7%
-
Total / Average
471
160
631
75.0%
The Top 10 averaged to win right at 75 per cent (471/631) of their matches in the 2018 season, with Alexander Zverev winning the most matches with 58 victories, including capturing the biggest title of his career by winning the Nitto ATP Finals in London on Sunday.
Reaching the Top 10 is one of the most prized goals in our sport. It’s important to consider that they still lose, on average, one out of every four matches and are only able to create a separation of just six points out of every 100 (53% won / 47% lost) from their opponents.

On Sunday, the Nitto ATP Finals celebrated its newest champion under the bright lights of The O2 in London. Alexander Zverev gave the tennis world a fresh glimpse into the future as he claimed his biggest title.
Zverev's victory marked the conclusion of the ATP World Tour season, but one week remains on the ATP Challenger Tour. Players have one last opportunity to jockey for position in the year-end ATP Rankings, with a handful continuing their quest for coveted Top 100 spots.
A pair of $50,000 tournaments cap the season on the Challenger circuit, with the carpet courts of Andria, Italy and outdoor hard courts of Pune, India thrust into the spotlight. The Andria e Castel del Monte Challenger is back for a sixth straight year, maintaining its traditional season-ending spot on the calendar. And in Pune, the KPIT MSLTA Challenger ends a two-week Indian swing, marking a celebration of tennis in the country.View ATP Rankings
Ugo Humbert leads a strong field in Andria, which also includes home favourites Lorenzo Sonego and Paolo Lorenzi, as well as fellow #NextGenATP stars Corentin Moutet and Liam Caruana. Caruana is coming off an appearance in the Next Gen ATP Finals after winning the Italian wild card competition.
The 20-year-old Humbert will be one to watch in 2019 after registering a dominant second half of the season. He earned a nomination for Newcomer of the Year in the 2018 ATP World Tour Awards Presented By Moët & Chandon. The top seed in Andria, he enters the week at No. 100 in the ATP Rankings and will be looking to finish the year as the youngest Frenchman in the Top 100.
Humbert is one of three players vying for Top 100 finishes in Andria, with No. 107 Sonego and No. 109 Lorenzi needing to win the title to achieve the feat. Defending champion Uladzimir Ignatik is also back and could face Humbert in the second round. View Andria Draw
Meanwhile, in Pune, No. 102 Radu Albot is the top seed and bidding for a third straight year-end Top 100 berth. He is joined by freshly minted Indian No. 1 Prajnesh Gunneswaran, who is coming off a title in nearby Bengaluru. Just one month ago, Gunneswaran was sitting at No. 170, but a 12-3 stretch has since moved him to the precipice of a Top 100 breakthrough, soaring to No. 110. He needs to win the title in Pune to have a chance.
Albot and Gunneswaran are accompanied by last year's runner-up Ramkumar Ramanathan, who reached his first ATP World Tour final earlier this year in Newport, as well as 18-year-old Spaniard Nicola Kuhn, 20-year-old Brit Jay Clarke and rising Aussies Marc Polmans and Max Purcell.View Pune Draw
Watch free live streams of all the action from Andria and Pune at ATPChallengerTour.com. 

After eight days of thrilling Nitto ATP Finals action at The O2 in London, Alexander Zverev earned the biggest title of his career. The 21-year-old German defeated World No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday, but which moment did fans inside the world famous venue in South East London connect most with? Infosys ATP Fan Meter has the answer.
Recording decibel levels inside Centre Court throughout the tournament, the Top 10 moments from the elite eight-man event have been confirmed. Six of the eight players competing for the trophy at the season finale made the Top 10 winning list, with all eight man featuring in matches containing Top 10 moments.
Leading the way, with three entries in the Top 10, is Roger Federer. The six-time champion was responsible the loudest reaction of the tournament in his opening match against Kei Nishikori, with the crowd reaching 110dB as they rallied behind the 16-time ATPWorldTour.com Fans' Favourite award winner after an exquisite forehand lob in the second set. That level of sound isn't unfamiliar to regular visitors to The O2, but this time there were no microphones, drums or guitars.
The opening singles match of the tournament provided the second loudest moment of the event, as Dominic Thiem fired a cross-court forehand winner late in his epic second-set tie-break against Kevin Anderson. Despite falling to the South African in straight sets, Thiem won the hearts of the crowd, who responded with an impressive 108dB for his fearless efforts. Thiem almost beat that figure in his following match, notching 106 dB with a solid overhead under pressure in the second set against Federer.
Runner-up Novak Djokovic makes two appearances in the list, hitting 107dB and 106dB in his first and final Group Guga Kuerten encounters, respectively. The five-time champion impressed the London crowd with a backhand winner down the line against Isner in his opening match, before stunning Marin Cilic with his phenomenal defensive skills as he completed group play with a 3-0 record.
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No list would be complete without an entry from the champion in the final match of the ATP World Tour season. With 104 dB, Zverev earned his spot in the Top 10 late in the first set of the championship match. The German became the first man to break Djokovic's serve throughout the tournament as the World No. 1 misfired on his forehand side.
Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori complete the Top 10, lifting the crowds in their fourth appearances at The O2. The 2014 US Open finalists proved finesse can be just as effective as power, with Cilic clocking 105dB for a stellar drop volley against Zverev and Nishikori hitting 104dB for an imaginative slice backhand in his round-robin loss to Anderson.

Alexander Zverev hit the high point of his still-young career on Sunday, defeating World No. 1 Novak Djokovic to lift his first Nitto ATP Finals title at 21 years, 212 days old. It is the German’s 10th tour-level triumph, and his biggest yet.
But Zverev has accomplished a lot at his young age. He has already captured three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles and earned 23 victories against opponents inside the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings. And by virtue of his win over Djokovic on Sunday, Zverev became the youngest Nitto ATP Finals champion since Djokovic himself a decade ago.
So one may wonder, where were some of the best players in the game when they were Zverev’s current age? ATPWorldTour.com flashes back to take a look at where all four active players who have reached No. 1 in the ATP Rankings were when they were 21 years, 212 days old.Roger FedererConsidering Federer now has 99 tour-level trophies, one might be surprised that he owned just six when he was Zverev’s age.
The Swiss had climbed to No. 4 in the ATP Rankings, and won an impressive 178 tour-level matches. And Federer had won his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title 10 months earlier in Hamburg, beating two opponents inside the Top 10 en route to what was the biggest triumph of his young career.
But it was after he was Zverev's age that Federer broke out. In March of 2003, when Federer was 21 years, 212 days old, he had already lifted two trophies that season. But the Swiss would go on to win five more that year, including his first Grand Slam championship at Wimbledon and his first of a record six Nitto ATP Finals crowns in Houston, where he would beat World No. 1 Andy Roddick, World No. 2 Juan Carlos Ferrero and Andre Agassi twice. The following February, Federer ascended to the top of the ATP Rankings for the first of what has been 310 weeks at World No. 1.
 Titles
 Masters 1000 Titles
 Career-High ATP Ranking
 Record
 Winning Percentage
 6
 1
 4
 178-97
 64.7%
Rafael NadalThe Spaniard achieved an incredible amount by the time he was Zverev’s age. Nadal had already won 23 tour-level titles, including his first nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns and three Coupes des Mousquetaires at Roland Garros.
Perhaps what stands out the most is that in 2005, when Nadal turned 19 years old, the Spaniard won 11 tour-level titles. To this day, Nadal has not lifted more trophies in a single season since. Nadal claimed the first four of his record 33 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles that year, and he hasn’t looked back since.
When Nadal was Zverev’s age, he had already amassed more than 250 match wins. And to put that in perspective, there are less than 200 players in history who have earned that many tour-level victories, according to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone.
 Titles
 Masters 1000 Titles
 Career-High ATP Ranking
 Record
 Winning Percentage
23
 9
 2
 254-66
 79.4%
Novak Djokovic
The Serbian, had recently captured his first Nitto ATP Finals trophy when he was 21 years, 112 days old. That was Djokovic’s 11th tour-level title, and it came at the close of his best season to date.
In 2008, Djokovic claimed four victories, all of which were ‘Big Titles’. The current World No. 1 won his first Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open that year, earned his third and fourth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles in Indian Wells and Rome, and won at least 60 matches for the second consecutive year.
Djokovic spent the entirety of 2008 at No. 3 in the ATP Rankings, and he earned 11 victories against Top 10 opponents that season. And there was no stopping from there, as Djokovic would win five titles in 2009, and the rest is history.
 Titles
 Masters 1000 Titles
 Career-High ATP Ranking Record
 Winning Percentage
 11
 4
 3
 185-68
 73.1%
Andy MurrayThe Scot had climbed to a career-best No. 4 in the ATP Rankings when he was Zverev’s age. Murray won an impressive five ATP World Tour titles in 2008, bringing his career total to eight at just 21 years of age.
Murray also claimed his first two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles that season, triumphing in Cincinnati and Madrid, when the Spanish event took place later in the year on indoor hard courts. Murray also advanced to his maiden Grand Slam final in 2008, defeating Nadal en route to the championship match at the US Open, where Federer would claim his fifth consecutive trophy.
And while Murray fell short in that match, he won three of his four FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Federer that year, and his win against Nadal in Flushing Meadows was his first victory against the Spaniard in six tries.
 Titles
 Masters 1000 Titles
 Career-High ATP Ranking
 Record
 Winning Percentage
8
 2
4
155-65
 70.4%

Alexander Zverev’s holiday in the Maldives will be that much more enjoyable next week after the 21-year-old followed in the footsteps of fellow German Boris Becker, who won the last of his three season finale titles in 1995, with victory over Novak Djokovic at the Nitto ATP Finals on Sunday. Zverev has also finished the year among the Top 4 in the ATP Rankings for a second straight season.
Zverev, who was emotional and admitted to being dazzled by the silver trophy in his post-final press conference, admitted, “This trophy means a lot, everything, to all the players. I mean, you only have so many chances of winning it. You play against the best players only. How I played today, how I won it, for me, it's just amazing.”
As the youngest singles champion at the season finale since Djokovic clinched the crown in 2008, aged 21, when the event was played in Shanghai, Zverev fell to his knees in celebration on court after beating World No. 1 and five-time former titlist Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 at The O2 in London.
“I fell to my knees, so my knees kind of hurt,” said Zverev. “Apart from that, I was very happy. Obviously, it's quite astonishing, winning this title, beating two such players back-to-back, Roger [Federer] and Novak, in semi-finals and final. It means so much. I'm incredibly happy and incredibly proud of this moment right now.”
Zverev recovered from a 6-4, 6-1 round-robin loss to Djokovic on Wednesday to become the first player to beat Roger Federer (in Saturday’s semi-finals) and Djokovic at the Nitto ATP Finals. He is the first player since 1990 to beat the top two seeds, replicating the feat of Andre Agassi who knocked out Becker in the semi-finals and Stefan Edberg in the final.
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In his eighth tournament since teaming up with Ivan Lendl, Zverev reflected on the influence of the former World No. 1. “He obviously analysed the match that I played with him a few days ago [and] told me a few things I had to do different,” said Zverev. “I was more aggressive today. I tried to take the ball earlier… But my Dad is the one that gave me the base. My Dad is the one that taught me the game of tennis. My dad deserves the most credit out of everyone… I'm very thankful to him for that. Obviously [with] Ivan, the experience he has on and off the court, is amazing. That helped me, as well, to kind of play the two matches that I played back-to-back now.”
Zverev completed the season with an ATP World Tour-best 58 match wins on the season (58-19 overall), which includes three other trophies at the Mutua Madrid Open (d. Thiem), the BMW Open by FWU (d. Kohlschreiber) and the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. (d. De Minaur).
“[Djokovic and Federer] are still going to be the guys to beat at the big tournaments,” said Zverev. “[But] I will do everything I can to get better, to compete with them always. I feel like I'm doing that. But I still have a lot of things to improve. I'm still very young. Hopefully, next year, I'll be able to play better tennis than I did this year, even though it's been a good year.”

HIGHLIGHTS: Alexander Zverev d. Novak Djokovic, 6-4, 6-3
 
A few minutes after his 6-4, 6-3 win over Novak Djokovic in the title match at the ATP Finals in London, Alexander Zverev was asked what tactics he had used to beat the world No. 1. Four days earlier, after all, the 21-year-old German had lost in demoralizing fashion to Djokovic, 6-4, 6-1.
“I tried to be way more aggressive,” Zverev said. “And I tried to keep the ball in the rallies more, because I was missing way too much [last time].”
In other words, Zverev tried to to do it all: To serve big, to hit his ground strokes huge, to move forward whenever he could, and, also, not to miss. That is, on the one hand, a ludicrously ambitious agenda. On the other, it’s what any player needs to do if he wants to have a chance to beat an in-form Djokovic on this low-bouncing, slow-bouncing surface that he loves. The Serb had faced just two break points all week; a sixth season-ending title seemed to be the logical culmination to his rise back to the No. 1 perch over the second half of 2018.
On this day, though, immediate momentum would trump long-term logic.
Zverev had begun the week in a funk. He had complained about the length of the season. He had moaned his way through a close, scratchy victory over Marin Cilic in his first match. He had lost his motivation entirely against Djokovic on Wednesday. He hadn’t won a title since August. Yet on Friday, without warning, Zverev caught fire. Specifically, his serve caught fire. He rifled 18 aces in beating John Isner to reach the semifinals. Once there, he served almost as well in knocking out Roger Federer. But was he really ready to become the first player since 2012 to beat Federer and Djokovic in the same event?
The answer, we now know, was an emphatic yes. Zverev beat Djokovic with his serve; the world’s best returner broke him just once, and that was because Zverev briefly grew anxious with the lead and double-faulted twice. Zverev also beat him with pace from the ground; he surprised Djokovic by turning up the beat on his down-the-line backhand and his crosscourt forehand. And he showed off a net game that, while hardly polished, is now functional enough to close out rallies.
But the biggest surprise was Zverev’s ability to win the points that Djokovic always wins—i.e., the long ones, the 20-plus-shot rallies, the ones that move both players all over the court, test all of their shots, and inevitably leave the guy who loses them more winded than the guy who wins them. In 2011, it was Djokovic’s newfound talent for winning those types of rallies against Rafael Nadal that signaled a turning point in their rivalry. Today it was Zverev who did the same to Djokovic. By the middle of the second set, Djokovic was taking extra time between points, and trying to end them quickly with bailout drop shots. Zverev was better in every aspect of the game today. How often have we ever said that about an opponent of Djokovic’s?
This wasn’t the way the Serb must have expected to end 2018. He won’t be crushed by the defeat, of course. This was a renaissance season for him, and the last five months have mostly been a dream. But he does close it with two surprising, curious losses at the hands of two young guns; Karen Khachanov, a 22-year-old Russian, also straight-setted Djokovic in the final in Paris two weeks ago, and like Zverev, he did it first and foremost with his serve. Looking ahead, those two matches may tell us less about Djokovic’s future than they do about the slowly-evolving, slowly-encroaching next generation of ATP players. Khachanov and Zverev will be formidable foes for everyone next year, not just Djokovic.
“There’s a lot of similarity in terms of the trajectory of professional tennis, of our careers,” Djokovic said of Zverev. “Hopefully he can surpass me. I sincerely wish him that.”
Djokovic is being generous; he won his first major title at age 20, while Zverev, at 21, has reached just one Grand Slam quarterfinal. But we could see today why Djokovic, along with everyone in the game, has thought so highly of Zverev for so long. He still has to prove himself in the best-of-five format at the Slams, but when you beat Federer and Djokovic back to back in the ATP Finals, without dropping a set, you’ve done just about all you can do in best-of-three.
If this is the way Zverev is going to serve—and rally, and compete—in the future, the future will eventually be his.

The first set was from another world.
Alexander Zverev defeated Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 in the championship match of the Nitto ATP Finals in London on Sunday on the back of one of the best sets of tennis he has ever played.
Zverev was soundly defeated by the World No. 1 6-4, 6-1 in round robin stage at The O2 earlier in the week, and also lost 6-2, 6-1 in the semi-finals of Rolex Shanghai Masters last month.
Then this set roared to life…
Zverev’s overall first-serve percentage this season is 64 per cent (3277/5117), but he made an eye-opening 86 per cent in the first set. He averaged 135 mph on his first serve in Set 1, which was simply on another level from Djokovic’s 123 mph average.
Zverev crushed seven aces in the opening set, and just three in the second set. He hit no double faults in Set 1, but three in Set 2. Zverev won a remarkable 86 per cent of his first-serve points in the opening set, and just 67 per cent in the second set.
Set 2 was solid. Set 1 was the launch pad to end-of-season glory.
Djokovic reached the London final on the back of putting so many serves back in play - but 48 per cent of Zverev’s first serves were unreturned in Set 1, which was much higher than the 33 per cent in Set 2.
As good as Zverev’s first serve performed in the opening set, his second serve metrics may have been better. Zverev averaged 104 mph on his second serve against Djokovic in the Round Robin stage, but that elevated to 109 mph in Set 1 on Sunday evening. In Set 2, it significantly dropped down to 98 mph. Zverev won a dominant 67 per cent of his second-serve points in the opening set, but that fell away to just 50 per cent in the second set.
Zverev brought the farm in Set 1, and it paved the way to the biggest title of his career.
Once the rally matured past the serve and return stage into a baseline contest in Set 1, Zverev employed a very aggressive down-the-line strategy that was aimed at making Djokovic have to hit the ball on the run.Zverev Groundstroke Direction• Set 1 = 33% line / 67% cross
• Set 2 = 21% line / 79% cross
Zverev’s return of serve was also much more dominant in Set 1 over Set 2. Zverev put 81 per cent of Djokovic’s first serves back in play in the opening set, but just 69 per cent in the second set.
Zverev stepped into returns in the opening set and blasted them back at Djokovic at will.Zverev Average Return Speed• 1st Serve Return Speed - Set 1 69mph / Set 2 61mph
• 2nd Serve Return Speed - Set 1 78mph / Set 2 76mph
In the opening set, Zverev was dominant in points won under nine shots, winning that metric 25-17. In Set 2, he lost it 23-24.
After two recent lopsided losses, Zverev had to make an adjustment. He had to come out swinging, and land as many punches as he possibly could. Almost every single one of them landed in the opening set and paved the way to victory.Editor’s Note: Craig O’Shannessy is a member of Novak Djokovic’s coaching team.

A 14-year-old Andy Murray is taking a two-minute break from his practice session with Germany’s Mischa Zverev. As the pair get a drink of water, Mischa’s tiny four-year-old brother, Alex, rushes from his vantage point at the side of the court to hit some balls with his parents. Even then, he didn’t miss much.
Fast forward 13 years and Alexander Zverev is looking to follow in his big brother’s footsteps and make his own way on the ATP World Tour. Standing at 6’6’’, the tables were turned in Cincinnati over the summer as the German looked down on Murray when the pair reunited on the practice court. A huge fan of Miami Heat, Zverev could easily have looked at home on the basketball court. 
“I saw him for the first time in a long time a few months ago and I couldn't believe how tall he was,” exclaims Murray. 
Tossing wavy blonde hair out of his eyes, Zverev recalls in his American twang, "I was practising with Andy in Cincinnati and he told me, 'I've known you since you were this high!’ 
“I've known Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray since I was four years old. I didn't realise who they were. They were like little kids for me. I was just playing with them. I played soccer with them, basketball, tennis. Now, they're at the top of the game, practising with them and getting the opportunity to get to know them better is unbelievable. I'm really thankful to them for giving me the chance.”
Being around a tennis court is pretty much all that Zverev, who goes by the nickname ‘Sascha’, has known. Born in Hamburg to tennis coach parents, Sascha looked up to Mischa, watching on as his big brother went on to reach the Top 50. Aged seven, Sascha joined his brother at Florida’s Saddlebrook Tennis Academy for the first time and has returned every year for his winter training. Of late, the place he refers to as his “second home” has given him the chance to practise with leading Americans, John Isner and Jack Sock.
“I think he's very good,” says Isner. “He's very tall, which I like, obviously nowhere near as tall as me. When I practise with him, you can tell he's pretty under-developed. And that's a good thing. He's got so much room to improve. Being a tall kid, he hits the ball extremely well from the baseline. He's got a lot of weapons. I think when he grows into his body, he's going to be a force. I really think he's a good tennis player.”
For the past year, Zverev has employed the services of physical trainer, Jez Green, who was largely credited with two-time major champion Murray’s physical transformation from skinny teen to one of the Tour’s leading athletes. It’s an addition to his team that the Scot feels can only be beneficial to Zverev as he grows into his gangly body.
“Jez can help him for sure,” says the Dunblane native. “[Zverev is] very different physically to me, we're very different people, so Jez will have to do some different work with him. We've obviously worked together for a long time. He has a lot of experience on tour. I'm sure he'll do a good job."
In an era when the average age of the Top 10 is 28, it is rare to see the likes of Zverev and fellow 17 year old Borna Coric having success on the ATP World Tour. But both have managed to make their mark in 2014, with the promise of great things to come as they continue to develop physically and gain experience.
Having started the season winning the Australian Open junior title, former junior World No. 1 Zverev was outside the Top 800 in the Emirates ATP Rankings but looks set to finish it inside the Top 150 as he plays his final tournament of the year this week at the Swiss Indoors Basel. Admitting he doesn’t care much for running around the baseline, World No. 135 Zverev has managed to impose an aggressive game in leaping more than 650 spots in the rankings.
Having felt disheartened by losses in the qualifying rounds of ATP Challenger Tour events in the weeks after his Melbourne victory, things finally “clicked” for the right-hander as he seized his opportunity on home soil in the spring to make his breakthrough. He won his first ATP Challenger Tour title in Braunschweig with victory over former World No. 12 Paul-Henri Mathieu. Then, at the invitation of Michael Stich, he beat four Top 100 players en route to the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour 500 in Hamburg. His run eventually came to an end in a 6-0, 6-1 defeat to David Ferrer.
"It was definitely a great run,” remembers Zverev. “Winning Braunschweig was unbelievable, then being in the semi-finals of an ATP 500, in my hometown, that was the greatest feeling I've ever had on a tennis court. Winning matches there in front of my home crowd, knowing half the people in the stadium. I'm really thankful to Michael Stich for giving me the opportunity there. 
"After the first couple of matches I was pinching myself, but then I tried not to think about where I was, compared with where I had been half a year ago. When I got in the semi-finals, I was definitely nervous. Against David, you want to play your best tennis, otherwise you're not going to win, especially on a clay court. Hopefully one day I can play like him and maybe win another couple of games!”
One player who knows all about finding his feet on the ATP World Tour is 21-year-old Dominic Thiem, who has taken 100 places off his ranking this year to break the Top 40. The Austrian and Zverev fast became firm friends after playing doubles together last week in Vienna. Thiem, who reached his first ATP World Tour final in Kitzbuhel in July, is only too happy to pass on to Zverev the same advice that friend and mentor Ernests Gulbis bestowed on him in the early stages of his professional career.
"He's a really good guy. There are not that many young guys from Austria and Germany, so I really enjoy [his friendship]. We speak the same language and have interests in similar topics,” says Thiem. One of those topics is surely hair styles. The pair could easily be in a boyband with their coiffed locks.  
"If he ever wants any help, I will give him some," continues Thiem. "Ernests gave me a lot of advice, a lot of help, because he likes me. And I like Alex, maybe I can give him some advice if he wants it. Ernests told me everything about how it works on the Tour, how it is after a loss, how it is after a win. Usually you have one defeat every week because you're playing against the best players. You cannot win every tournament, which is a little bit different from juniors or the Futures where you win a lot. I think you have to learn to lose also a lot.”
Zverev is certainly not one to get too carried away with his early success. Practice sessions with Murray and Djokovic in North America gave the German insight into what he needs to bring day in, day out, to make it with the best on the ATP World Tour.
“Their practise is just way more intense than other guys, their work ethic,” he says. “If you see them in the gym, they're there an hour before practice and and then they do another hour in the gym after. How they work is unbelievable. It's probably talent as well, but most of it is hard work and I hope I can work as hard as them and we'll see where I can get.
“My Dad has the biggest role in my tennis. We both know that we have to keep on working. This is just the beginning for me. I'm only 17 years old. We hope we can have better results than Hamburg in the future. We're trying to work even harder. We just have to see what the future brings us.
“I need to improve everything. I've been hitting with Andy a little bit, Novak. Their games are so much more complete than mine. What they do on the court, I can't at the moment. So I'm trying to get better in every part of my game.”
His performances in practice and on the match court over the summer have certainly left Murray in no doubt that Zverev has the potential to be one of the world’s top players. “He's a very good player. He's obviously grown a lot over the past couple of years, so physically he needs a bit more time to mature and develop because he's a very big guy. 
“He's going to be a very good player. I don't want to say how good. You never know with injuries or any distractions. I don't know how hard he works, or anything like that. But just from watching his game, I could tell he's going to be very good.”

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Novak Djokovic crashed to a low point this June after spending months struggling in his recovery from a right elbow injury, falling to his lowest ATP Ranking, No. 22, in more than 11 years. Just five months later, the Serbian is back at World No. 1. And en route to the championship match at the Nitto ATP Finals, Djokovic dominated, winning all 36 of his service games.
But Djokovic simply fell short in the final, losing against Alexander Zverev, who is the youngest champion at the season finale since a 21-year-old Djokovic in 2008.
“Finishing the year as No. 1 [in the ATP Rankings], that was the goal coming into the indoor season. I managed to achieve that,” Djokovic said. “Overall it was a phenomenal season that I have to be definitely very proud of.”
A 6-6 start to 2018 seems like a distant memory now, as Djokovic, who was trying to become the oldest winner in tournament history (since 1970) won 35 of his final 38 matches on the year to reassert himself as the best player in the world. The Serbian might not have tied Roger Federer’s record of six Nitto ATP Finals triumphs, but he has clearly announced that he is back in peak form.
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One might never have imagined Djokovic being in this position after the Australian Open, when he underwent a procedure on his right elbow. But the 31-year-old did.
“Yes, because I always believe in myself. Really, as I said before many times, I kind of also expect myself to do very well,” Djokovic said. “But at the same time I would sign it right away if someone told me because at that time it was also looking quite improbable that that's going to happen considering where I was [ATP] ranking-wise and also game-wise. I wasn't playing even close to where I wanted to be at in terms of level of tennis.”
Entering the final at The O2, Djokovic won 14 consecutive matches against opponents inside the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings, dropping just six sets in those clashes. So while he could not complete the perfect ending to a fairytale season, this is just a small bump, and not a cause for concern in the grand scheme of things. He still reached his sixth consecutive championship match (did not play in 2017) at the Nitto ATP Finals, after all.
“Obviously no one likes to lose a tennis match. You try your best. But at the same time, as I said on the court, you put things in a larger perspective, see things a bit differently,” Djokovic said. “When you get out of this feeling of a little bit disappointment that you lost, [you can enjoy] all the positive things that I have to reflect on and also take from this season, especially the last six months.”
It’s been an interesting journey for Djokovic in 2018 to say the least. Nine months ago, the Serbian was on an operating table. Now, he’s back at the top of the sport once again.
“When I went on the table for surgery, I knew it was going to be a different season because it never happened. Whatever the outcome in the end of the year, I knew that I'm going to learn a lot from this season,” Djokovic said. “Fortunately for me, it ended up in the best possible way. Yeah, I'm just grateful.”