2017 Series Spotlight: Alex Zverev

May 22, 2017 01:26 PM

By E.J. Crawford

Alex Zverev has been one of the best players this clay-court season, raising his profile from ATP NextGen standout to legitimate French Open title contender. On Sunday, he defeated defending Roland Garros champion Novak Djokovic to win Rome for his first Masters 1000 title.

Here is a little more on this German rising star:

The Alex Zverev File

Age: 20
Height: 6-6
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Residence: Monte Carlo, Monaco
Current Rank: 10
Career-High Rank: 10 (May 2017)
Best 2016 Series Finish: 1R (Cincinnati, Rogers)

The Baseline

- Zverev lists clay as his favorite surface, and he has thrived on the dirt this spring. The young German reached the round of 16 in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, won Munich, reached the quarterfinals in Madrid and then won Rome for his third title of the season. He is the youngest Masters 1000 champion since Djokovic won Miami in 2007 as a 19-year-old.

- He has been tabbed for success since his junior days, which included titles at the 2014 Australian Open juniors, a runner-up finish at the 2013 French Open juniors and semifinal showings that same year at the US Open Junior Championships and the Orange Bowl.

- He began playing primarily pro events after winning the 2014 boys’ singles in Melbourne and ascended to No. 137 in the world rankings by season’s end. He improved that rank to No. 83 at year-end 2015 and No. 24 at year-end 2016. He is currently No. 1 in the Race to Milan, for the top players age 21 and younger – he has nearly three times as many points as any other young player – and No. 4 in the 2017 ATP points race.

- He won his first ATP title in St. Petersburg in 2016 and has claimed three additional titles this year, adding the Montpellier crown to the aforementioned clay-court titles he won in Munich and Rome this spring. His three titles in 2017 are matched only by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

- Alex is the younger brother of Mischa Zverev, the tour veteran who upset Andy Murray en route to the quarterfinals of the 2017 Australian Open. The brothers teamed to win the doubles title in Montpellier. According to the ATP, it marked the first time a pair of brothers won the doubles title after one of them had won the singles since Andy Murray (also the singles champion) and Jamie Murray in Tokyo six years ago.

They Said It!!

“He was gifted with a lot of ability. But he doesn't let it go to waste at all. I have seen it in the offseason as well. That's what it takes to be incredibly good and one of the greats ... you're blessed with a lot of ability but you work hard. You're hungry and you want to win. That's exactly what he does.” – American John Isner, on Zverev after falling to the German in the Rome semifinals