Road to Boston: Alexander Zverev, Team Europe
A tried and tested competitor for Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg, Alexander Zverev is the stalwart of this year’s Team Europe, an integral force in all three previous winning Laver Cup competitions.
While only 24 years old, the German’s impressive all-court game carried him to a defining Tokyo Olympics gold medal in 2021, a run in which he ended Novak Djokovic’s bid for the Golden Slam.
In a sign of improved consistency at the Slams, for the first time the world No.4 reached three major quarterfinals or better in a season, while he added Masters 1000 trophies on clay and hard court.
How it started
The ATP Cup proved a tough but invaluable outing to kickstart his year with a win over Team World player Denis Shapovalov before narrow defeats to Djokovic and, in the semifinals, to Team Europe teammate Daniil Medvedev.
At the Australian Open, he reached the quarterfinals for the second year running, where he pushed eventual champion Djokovic. A month later, a 14th tour title came on the hard courts of Acapulco, following victory over Team Europe teammate Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Masters 1000 titles
While it took three events before he won back-to-back matches on clay, when he did so in Madrid, Zverev went all the way to a fourth career Masters 1000 trophy.
Seeded fifth, he felled three consecutive top 10 stars – five-time champion Rafael Nadal, two-time runner-up Dominic Thiem and Team Europe teammate Matteo Berrettini – to snap a three-year Masters 1000 title drought.
Nadal avenged defeat in the Rome quarterfinals but Zverev carried his form to Roland Garros where he notched his first semifinal before falling to Tsitsipas in five sets.
Wimbledon marked the only major this season Zverev failed to reach the quarterfinals. For the second straight Slam he fell in five sets to a younger opponent – this time to Team World player Felix Auger-Aliassime.
How it’s going
Zverev has won more matches since Wimbledon than any other player. In Tokyo, the German rebounded from a set and a break down as he denied Djokovic, then dominated Karen Khachanov in the gold medal showdown.
“I’ve won the World Tour Finals but a gold medal at the Olympics, the value is incredible because you’re not only playing for yourself, you’re playing for your country,” Zverev said. “It’s an incredible feeling… I didn’t walk on court for one second for me. I never gave up, I never lost that spirit.”
Zverev continued on his triumphant march Stateside beating three Team Europe teammates in succession – Casper Ruud, Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev – to land a fifth Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati.
A runner-up in a harrowing five-set defeat from two sets up against Thiem at the 2020 US Open, Zverev had high hopes of breaking his Grand Slam duck in New York this time round.
Brimming with the confidence of a 16-match winning streak, he extended top seed Djokovic the distance in the semifinals only to come up short.
Zverev on playing Laver Cup:
The German boasts a 6-2 record from three Laver Cup appearances. His 5-1 mark in singles includes wins over Team World opponents Shapovalov and John Isner, and in 2019 in the deciding rubber over Milos Raonic.
“I feel honored to be part of Team Europe for the Laver Cup once again,” Zverev said. “I have so many incredible memories from the event and particularly that final match in Geneva in 2019.”