detail-1 Alexander Zverev
#4

Alexander Zverev

Birthday:
1997-04-25
Gender:
Male
Nationality:
Germany
_Height:
198
Ranking:
4
Residence:
Monte Carlo, Monaco

Alexander Zverev is Germany’s most successful male tennis player since the era of Boris Becker and Michael Stich. His achievements include an Olympic gold medal, winning the year-end ATP Finals (twice), runner-up at the US Open, and a handful of Masters-1000 titles, all of which helped him to a career-high ranking of three. He seemed on the verge of a major breakthrough in 2022 when a horrific ankle injury ended his year at Roland-Garros just as he rose to second in the world. But he has made an impressive recovery, and the best of Zverev’s career may be yet to come.

Results

Winner

Singles
Year City
2014 Rome
2023 Chengdu
2023 Hamburg
2021 Vienna
2021 Cincinnati
2021 Tokyo Olympics
2021 Madrid
2020 Cologne
2019 Geneva
2018 London ATP Finals
2018 Munich
2018 Madrid
2018 Washington
2017 Montpellier
2017 Munich
2017 Rome
2017 Washington
2017 Montreal
2016 St. Petersburg
Doubles
Year City
2019 Acapulco

Finalist

Singles
Year City
2020 US Open
2018 Miami
2018 Rome
2017 Halle
2016 Halle
2016 Nice
Doubles
Year City
2019 Acapulco
2018 Basel
2018 Halle
2016 Montpellier
2015 Munich

 

All You Need to Know about Alexander Zverev

Zverev’s dad, Alexander Zverev Sr, played tennis at the highest level in the former Soviet Union, his mum, Irina Zvereva, was known for her brilliant technique, and he grew up watching his older brother, Mischa, becoming a pro. With Mischa a regular on the tour, and 10 years older than his kid brother, young Sascha was a regular on the tennis tour from the age of five, frequently hitting for fun with the top players.

Just a day before she gave birth to her second son, Irina Zvereva hit some balls with her first-born, Mischa, who was a little less than 10 years old at the time. Later that day she was ready for something more important, and when Alexander Sr came back the next morning to their Hamburg apartment, he told Mischa about the little brother who had safely arrived.

The small boy grew to a height of 1.98m (6ft 6in), and these days is a father, his daughter Mayla having been born in 2021. He has suffered from diabetes since he was four, which prompted him to create the Alexander Zverev Foundation in 2022 to support children with diabetes and provide medication for those in developing countries with the condition.

Why is Alexander Zverev called Sascha?

That’s how things got going for Alexander Zverev Jr. Tennis was the family business, always and all over the place. When Irina and Alexander Sr emigrated in 1991 from Russia to the beautiful tennis city of Hamburg in northern Germany, it was obvious that their careers as players were over.

Alexander "Sascha" Zverev at a training session in ParisAlexander "Sascha" Zverev at a training session in Paris

But Mischa, by then four years old, had already picked up a racket. He grew into one of the most watched tennis teenagers in Germany, and in 2007 in Melbourne he won his first Grand Slam main draw match at the Australian Open. Little Alexander was with him, along with mum and dad. Mischa called him ‘Sasch’, others went for ‘Sascha’ or ‘Alex’. If you ask him which of those still in use he prefers, he responds: ‘I’m fine with all of them, whatever you like.’

The youngest Zverev got his technique from Irina who practised with him in the beginning, and Alexander Sr took over later and is still Zverev’s main coach.

For a while, the former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero was part of the team, but the relationship ended after six months. The collaboration with the former legend Ivan Lendl lasted three months longer – from summer 2018 to spring 2019 – before Zverev reverted to his dad.

 

‘The reason it works so well with my dad and my family,’ he said some time ago, ‘is that they help a lot on court, and without them I would never be where I am.

It’s still mainly family business with the Zverevs, but Sascha found a way to be his own man early on. ‘The reason it works so well with my dad and my family,’ he said, ‘is that they help a lot on court, and without them I would never be where I am.

But off-court I do a lot of stuff the way I like it, especially with friends. Dad knows that I need my freedom and that I have to be on my own from time to time.’ Nonetheless, it’s often open-door living in Monte Carlo, where they all own apartments on the same floor: the parents, Mischa and his wife and their young son, and Sascha.

Alexander "Sascha" Zverev backhand volleyAlexander "Sascha" Zverev backhand volley

Alexander Sr is still Sascha’s main coach, supported by treatment provided by the physio Hugo Gravil and Brazilian fun time with Marcelo Melo, the top doubles player who is Sascha’s best friend on tour.

Alexander "Sascha" Zverev at Australian Open 2024Alexander "Sascha" Zverev at Australian Open 2024

A former world number one junior, Zverev won his first tour-level title at 19, his first Masters-1000 title just days after his 20th birthday, and at 23 he came within two points of his first Grand Slam title when he lost to Dominc Thiem on an 8-6 fifth-set tiebreak in the 2020 US Open final. He was matching Rafael Nadal stroke for stroke in the 2022 French Open semi-final when he tore three ligaments in his right ankle, and rose to number two in the rankings while he lay in hospital recovering from surgery. He missed the rest of 2022, but came back strongly in 2023, winning titles in Chengdu and the city he was born and grew up in, Hamburg.

WORDS BY DORIS HENKEL