Here is Why Alexander Zverev Will Become World No.1 - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

Here is Why Alexander Zverev Will Become World No.1

A technical analysis of Alexander Zverev’s game and full assessment on potential. We explain why tennis has found its future World No.1 in the German and why Zverev could be an improved tennis version of Marat Safin.

Ivan Pasquariello

Published

on

Original article by Luca Baldissera for UbiTennis.com

 

Translation by Ivan Pasquariello

 

After both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal – who saved a match point against the German in their 4th round clash in Indian Wells – have praised Alexander Zverev, pointing out he could be the new upcoming World No.1, we decided to take into account the champions’ prediction and analyze Zverev’s game. Does he really have the potential to reach the top spot of the rankings in men’s tennis? Is he a near future Grand Slam winner? Let’s analyze the German’s game and see why, according to our technician, Alexander Zverev will indeed become World No.1.

“He’s a clear possible future No.1. He is an amazing player. He has all the shots has said Rafael Nadal. Roger Federer has invited Zverev more than once to practice with him, most recently at the Australian Open. Djokovic confirmed in California that the German has what it takes to climb up the ladder soon. Let’s have a closer look at Alexander’s shots to fully understand why he deserves such high praising from such champions.

HIS CONSISTENCY and MENTAL TOUGHNESS

Compared to the rest of the field of young guns, Alexander has those qualities no coach can teach, but that come natural, such as the attitude to stay aggressive on the ball, the ability to verticalize the game, the skill of cutting the court cross court to push the offence. Also the ability to play the points that matter with calm (even though the match point missed with Nadal could tell the contrary, but that has to do more with a lack of experience rather than fear).

Zverev has the consistency needed to climb the rankings, not just in his game but also mentally. For instance, Nick Kyrgios has the shots and the talent to win a major, but it seems hard to think and believe that he will be able to keep his mind straight and focused on the game for a full season without drops. Zverev, on the other hand, may count on the help coming from having a former top 50 player as his brother (Misha) and has the attitude that is needed from a player to stay on the top once that height is reached.

THE BACKHAND

back

Here (on the top) is Zverev’s backhand on the aggression. It is an example to take: the combination of continental-eastern grip; the perfect rotation of the left foot followed by a powerful shift to the right foot; great roundness; the weight that moves horizontally following the level of the knees into the ball; the shoulders rotating exactly at 90 degrees; the shot that is accompanied in the final part staying in line with the court; closing with the heel of the racket that looks in the direction of the shot just hit.

back

Zverev can hit a very good sliced backhand (picture above) when he needs it. This shot helps appreciate how low he can go, while keeping his axis balanced even when recovering laterally. Descent of the head of the racket just perfect, end of the movement horizontally vertical, with the left arm acting symmetrically to the right one. Finally, great lunge with the knees. In this case the ball is just 30 cm (12 inches) from the ground, Zverev is 2 meters tall (6 ft 6 in) but manages to easily slice it.

THE FOREHAND

back

The forehand hit above, Zverev hits a forehand pushing vertically. Semi-open stance, western grip, support on both feet with weight shifting from the right foot onto the left. It has to be noticed the ability to use the left arm to sustain and accompany the racket, which is kept vertically to use the whole oval, all the way until the start of the backswing. On the central frame on the top part of the photo, the moment the racket is let go of to go behind, the support is on the right foot, with the left foot lifted on the tip. In the central frame below in the pic, which represents the moment the ball is impacted, all the weight is unloaded on the left foot  and is the right foot to be lifted off the ground, following the hit and knee.

back

In the picture above the forehand is in open stance, maneuvering from the baseline. In he top left frame once again the moment the left arm leaves the racket to help set the backswing, both feet are still falling back from the positioning step. Subsequently with the finishing of the preparation, the weight falls strong on the right foot. The left foot is initially dragged and from the hitting point on (the three bottom frames) is lifted compensating for the action of the right hip and right knee to then go down only with the conclusion of the movement in windshield wiper. Alexander doesn’t hit with full lift when semi-flanked, then easily finds the shot down the line. Otherwise he doesn’t lose on top spin, fully in open stance, with the same ease. Quite impressive to say the least.

THE SERVE

back

On the picture above we focus on the preparation to serve. The technique is foot-up, with the little step forward of the back foot. In the central frame, in the moment the ball is tossed the support is on the left foot, and the right foot is starting to be brought forward with a slight rotation of the tip, up to the point where it hits the frontal foot with the heel.

back

Right after having touched with the heel, the back foot bounces back, rotating this time internally going to lean in parallel with the left foot. After that (central frame) Zverev brings the right knee forward towards the left while the ankle starts its exiting movement. This happens in advance compared to the shoulders’ rotation, which stay open all while getting to ”trophy position”. He acts like an elastic, very similar to what Karlovic does, working a lot with the shoulders and less with the bending of the back. He can afford to do that thank to his height.

back

Here above the conclusion of the movement. The wrist is fast in its pronation onto the forearm. There is the perfect alignment between arm-racket, hip and left foot in the moment of impact. It is a great serve.

Finally it is interesting to take a look at this video, shot at the US Open. This video shows Alexander’s perfect footwork.

THE FINAL PREDICTION

We have a 19-year-old boy who hits and pushes the ball with incredible ease, while remaining calm and focused on court. He has an incredible footwork. He works hard and has a perfect visual on the court. It will take time to build up the muscles, together with the incorporation in his game of the ability to move forward to take points at the net (the only aspect missing in his game at the moment). Then, here you have an authentic champion, someone who can win majors in a row.

He reminds of Marat Safin for his timing, ability to push the ball and hit with the backhand. Unlike Marat though, he has the ability to keep calm and never lose focus on the match.

A future World No.1? Possibly, probably….

ATP

Laver Cup Daily Preview: Team Europe Goes for a Fifth Straight Laver Cup

Avatar

Published

on

The lineup for Day 3 (twitter.com/lavercup)

Heading into Day 3, the 2022 Laver Cup is feeling extremely familiar.  Team Europe has an 8-4 advantage, and only needs two wins on Sunday to secure their fifth consecutive Laver Cup.  Team World needs to win three matches to pull off the upset and obtain their first. 

 

Sunday’s play gets underway in London at 12:00pm local time.  And each match on Sunday is worth three points.


Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock (Team World) – 12:00pm

Berrettini was victorious in both singles and doubles on Saturday, defeating Auger-Aliassime in singles, and teaming with Djokovic to overcome Sock and de Minaur in doubles.  So Matteo gained victories over both of his Sunday opponents on Saturday.  Murray lost to de Minaur in singles on Friday.  Andy and Jack are the most accomplished doubles players in this match, as Sock is pretty much Team World’s doubles specialist.  If he and Felix cannot pull of the victory on Sunday, it could be a pretty short day.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World)

Like Berrettini, Djokovic won in singles and doubles on Saturday, comfortably dispatching of Tiafoe in singles.  While it was his first match in over two months, Novak showed no rust whatsoever.  Auger-Aliassime’s loss to Berrettini on Saturday will not help his confidence against the 21-time Major champion.

Novak and Felix have only played once before, and that occurred four months ago in Rome on clay.  It was a pretty tight affair, but Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 7-6(1).  And there’s not much evidence to support a different outcome on Sunday.  Novak is surely eager to re-assert his authority after missing so much of this season due to his vaccination status.


Stefanos Tsitsipas (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – If Necessary

Tsitsipas easily beat Diego Schwartzman on Friday, dropping just three games.  He is 3-2 against Tiafoe, and 3-1 on hard courts.  However, Frances claimed their most recent encounter, last fall in Vienna, which was also on an indoor hard court.


Casper Ruud (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – If Necessary

Ruud defeated Sock on Friday, while Fritz defeated Norrie on Saturday.  If this match takes place, it will be their first career meeting.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

Continue Reading

ATP

Laver Cup Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic to Play Singles and Doubles on Saturday

Avatar

Published

on

The lineup for Day 2 (twitter.com/lavercup)

In the wake of Roger Federer’s incredibly emotional retirement on Day 1, the focus of this event shifts to the rest of the competitors on Day 2.  And for the first time in the five-year history of the Laver Cup, Team World goes into Day 2 without a deficit.  With both Federer and Rafael Nadal replaced by alternates for Day 2 and Day 3, is this Team World’s opportunity to capture their first Laver Cup? 

 

Each day, this preview will look at all four scheduled matches, while taking an extended look at the most notable match of the day.  Saturday’s day session gets underway in London at 1:00pm local time, and the night session at 7:00pm.  And each match on Saturday is worth two points.


Matteo Berrettini (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World) – 1:00pm

These two good friends have played four times, with Berrettini winning on three of those occasions.  Matteo’s wins came three years ago in the final of Stuttgart on grass, in the quarterfinals of last year’s Wimbledon, and a year ago in this event.  Auger-Aliassime’s only win occurred last summer in Cincinnati.  Matteo is coming off a quarterfinal run in New York, as well as three victories last week in Davis Cup.  Felix was upset in the second round of the US Open by Jack Draper, and went 2-1 in Davis Cup.


Cameron Norrie (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – Second in the Day Session

Norrie was also an alternate in last year’s Laver Cup, but did not play.  Fritz was a part of Team World in 2019, when he went 1-1 in singles, defeating Dominic Thiem during Sunday’s play in a must-win match to keep his team alive.  Cam is now 45-22 on the year, while Fritz is 36-17.  Both men achieved their best-ever Major performances two months ago at Wimbledon.  They played each other just last week in Davis Cup, with Norrie prevailing after three tight sets.  Overall they have split 10 previous meetings.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – 7:00pm

Is Tiafoe ready to upset another member of “The Big Three” on Saturday?  He earned the biggest win of his career by taking out Rafael Nadal at the US Open, and defeated Nadal and Federer in doubles on Day 1 alongside Jack Sock.  Meanwhile, this will be the first match for Djokovic in over two months, since he won the Wimbledon final over Nick Kyrgios.  The unvaccinated Novak was unable to travel to North America for the hard court summer season.

Djokovic has only played seven tournaments this year, amassing a record of 23-5.  Tiafoe is 26-19, and is coming off his exciting semifinal run in New York.  Their only previous matchup was at the 2021 Australian Open, when Novak defeated Frances in four sets.  Frances is certainly the much more match-tough player on this day.  But despite his recent inactivity, Djokovic should still be considered the favorite.


Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock (Team World) – Second in the Night Session

Novak will have only a few minutes of rest ahead of this doubles match, so the length of his match with Tiafoe could impact the result here.  This will be Novak’s first time playing doubles since last year’s Davis Cup finals.  Berrettini played three doubles matches this past January at the ATP Cup, going 1-2.  De Minaur overcame Andy Murray in singles on Friday in what was a grueling contest, while Sock was defeated in singles and victorious in doubles.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

Continue Reading

ATP

Frances Tiafoe And Jack Sock Ready To Rain On Federer’s Parade At Laver Cup

Avatar

Published

on

Frances Tiafoe describes his first match at this year’s Laver Cup as ‘iconic’ but he is determined to seal victory with doubles partner Jack Sock. 

 

Tiafoe, who reached the semi-finals of the US Open earlier this month, will feature in what will be the final match of Roger Federer’s illustrious career. The Swiss maestro has announced that the team competition will be the last event he will play before retiring from the sport at the age of 41. Federer will partner up with long-time rival Rafael Nadal in what promises to be an emotional encounter for all involved on Friday evening. 

“It’s going to be iconic to be part of that,” Tiafoe told reporters in London. “Both guys are absolute legends, and obviously Roger’s last dance. We are definitely just out there trying to get a win.”

Looking at the wider picture, Tiafoe knows a win in the doubles could prove vital in team World’s bid to win the Laver Cup for the first time in history. Whilst on paper his achievements are overshadowed by those he faces, his current form gives him the edge. Federer hasn’t played a match since Wimbledon last year due to a knee injury. Furthermore, Nadal is still trying to get back to his best shape following an abdominal injury and was beaten by Tiafoe at the US Open. 

“This is a special night. I just think me and Jack are just looking for a special night, come out there, have fun,” he continued. “The crowd is obviously going to be for them. You understand that kind of moment, and just go out there and do your part and just try to get a win. It’s going to be a special night tomorrow. I’m just happy I get the opportunity to do it with Jack.”

Sock, who has won three Grand Slam titles during his career, echoes Tiafoe’s desire to seal victory over the two tennis giants. 

“I’m just stoked to be a part of it with my guy Foe (Tiafoe),” he said. 
“We will go out and enjoy the moment, but not going to hold anything back. Sorry, Roger. Don’t want to spoil the night.”

Federer’s final match at The O2 Arena in London is set to take place in front of a sellout crowd. Following his retirement announcement, ticket sales for the three-day event have exploded. Ace Odds have reported a 4020% rise in demand for tickets with prices starting from £900. An extraordinary outcome considering the most expensive ticket for the Laver Cup was originally £510. 

The doubles match involving Federer, Nadal, Tiafoe and Sock is estimated to start around 20:20 BST on Friday. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending