He’s Only 17, Is Alexander Zverev The Next Superstar In Tennis?
by Sean Randall | July 17th, 2014, 2:34 pm
  • 28 Comments

The young guys are coming, the young guys are coming. That’s been the mantra all season. And after breakout performances from Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic, Eugenie Bouchard, Nick Kyrgios and last year Jerzy Janowicz, their not just coming, they are here!

And today we can add another name to the growing mix of future talent, his name is Alexander “Sascha” Zverev. Earlier on Thursday the 17-year-old German overcame some nerves to beat a very clay-seasoned Santiago Giraldo 6-4, 7-6(6) to reach the quarterfinals of his home event in Hamburg.

I caught the second set and while I wouldn’t put his game quite on par with Dimitrov, Raonic or even a Dominic Thiem, remember HE’S JUST 17!!

And we just haven’t seen anyone that young beat three really quality players in Robin Haase, Mikhail Youzhny and Giraldo today, all in straight sets, on a tough clay surface, since Rafael Nadal or maybe Roger Federer!

So I know I’m climbing aboard this bandwagon but I feel checking out this kid is definitely worth your time. And maybe he never amounts to much or burns out or fizzles, but right now he’s putting up results no one else has done in 10 years or so. (According to the ATP, Zverev is the first 17 year old to reach the quarters Tour 500 tournament since Rafael Nadal reached the last eight at 2004 Dubai.)

Watching him play, he does have a lot of game, obviously (duh!). At 6-foot-4 he has a potent, simple serve – not massive like a Raonic’s – and he hits the ball very confidently off the ground, especially off the backhand which he can hit with power and if needed placement.

He’s not afraid of the net – Giraldo was consistently (and smartly) bringing him into the net – but he’ll need work up there. If he has a real weakness right now it’s his speed, muscle and return game. He also seems to have a bit of a temper.

But overall with his size and consistency he reminds of a weaker/smaller Juan Martin Del Potro or Marin Cilic (Cilic is the last 17-year-old to make any ATP SF at 2006 Gstaad). He attacks at the right moments, appears to be mentally strong – ok, he blinked serving for the match at 5-4 in the second, but very impressively regrouped saving a set point to win the last four points of the breaker 8-6.

And his father played on the tour and his brother Mischa Zverev is a pro also (ranked No. 350 after being in the Top 50), so he has a nice family support system already in place and should understand what the circuit is all about.

At a No. 285 ranking, which will spike way higher, we in the U.S. probably won’t see much of Zverev this summer, but maybe he can get through qualies somewhere like the U.S. Open. His wins this week were his first on the tour, and Hamburg is just his third career ATP level event.

His sponsor, HEAD racquets, did this profile on their budding star a few months ago after won he had won the Australian Open juniors:

And again, what I can overstate enough is he’s just 17 – he just turned that age in April! And beating guys like Youzhny, Giraldo and Haase on clay in straights is pretty damn good no matter what your age, ranking or experience. And tomorrow he plays fellow countryman Tobias Kamke who he beat a Challenger a few weeks ago. So this breakout run of his certainly can and hopefully will continue.

Suddenly the tour is getting younger. The cycles of tennis.


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28 Comments for He’s Only 17, Is Alexander Zverev The Next Superstar In Tennis?

skeezer Says:

Mix between Delpo and Novak. Like it! I like his movement, good footwork for a taller guy. Best of luck Alexander.


Giles Says:

He’s a tall bug*er. 1.93m. Hmmm!
Never seen him play.


jane Says:

looking forward to seeing him play!


Wog boy Says:

Very nice article Sean, thanks. I have seen him before, his family is smartly preparing him, they didn’t want to put to much pressure on his body until it is fully developed and ready for pro circuit. His brother had problems with injuries and his parents, being sports people themselves, don’t want to rush Saša and throw him into the battles to early. Very smart move imo. He looks confident and his movement on the court is very effortless, I am looking for somebody to cheer for after No1e, I think I found him, good luck Saša and good luck to Zverev family.


courbon Says:

@ Wog Boy; While we are talking about new young players I was meant to ask you what Australian press is saying about Nick K.?


Wog boy Says:

Hi Frenchie, what are you doing so late, you should be in bed by now:)
Australia desperatly needs new tennis star, they made big mistake with Tomic but will not go there now. The press is all over Nick K. but I think he is more levelheaded than Tomic though I am not fan of some of his oncourt manners, but let us believe he will mature as a person and player. I think he is in the proces of finding long term coach, he also moved back from Melbourne (where he lived and practice for a while) to Canberra to be close to his family. I think he should get used to be away from the family (that is part of his job anyway) instead of insisting to be close to his family.
I think that he is not there yet but if he works hard and dedicate himself to tennis he is future GS winner. He looks like a good kid, as I said before little bit rough on the edges but good coach can polish that out.


Wog boy Says:

^^^ I used “I think” expression to many times:( and to many spelling mistakes:(


Margot Says:

Looks a terrific prospect. Love the bandanna, reminds me of Mac.
Not many players have reached ATP quarters at 17. Rog/Raf did. I think Rafa was the youngest, but am not 100% sure. This surely bodes well, but Crashquet did too….perhaps not so much….;)


Giles Says:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=0n_OjTlC0t8
Watch Dudi Sela/Karlovic handshake at the net. Lol


madmax Says:

Well, his streak continues. Wonder if he will end up with Rosol in the final of Hamburg?

German wild card Tobias Kamke knocked out the fourth-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 in just over two hours. The 83rd-ranked Kamke next faces 17-year-old Alexander Zverev, another Hamburg native, who defeated Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 6-4, 7-6 (6) to keep his breakthrough run going.

The 285th-ranked Zverev defeated No. 5 seed Mikhail Youzhny of Russia on Wednesday.

Lukas Rosol upset 2006 champion Tommy Robredo of Spain 7-5, 7-6 (6) to reach the Hamburg Open quarterfinals on Thursday.

The 42nd-ranked Czech saved seven break points while converting his one chance, and took nearly two hours to put away the No. 3 seed.

Rosol, who lost in the final in Stuttgart against Roberto Bautista Agut on Sunday, will next play Philipp Kohlschreiber, the seventh-seeded German who defeated 2011 champion Gilles Simon of France 7-5, 6-3.


Wog boy Says:

Well, after Kamke trashed him 6:0 in the first set, Zverev came back and won the match, he is in the SF of 500 tournament, not bad for 17 years old. It was pretty good match too.


Hippy Chic Says:

Giles lol priceless standing on a chair for the hanshake,nice to see something so light hearted for a change,i dont think theres a fan on here that wouldnt appreciate that clip,so cute :))….


Hippy Chic Says:

Very tall,but very talented with a great future ahead hopefully,best of luck Alexander….


roy Says:

the only thing people care about here … is will he stop nadal winning 17!


Aarontennis Says:

I think that the picture you posted in the article is actually his brother Mischa Zverev not Alexander. I saw this youngster play this year at the Sarasota Open Challenger tournament, and he is quite adroit on court. I can see him at a future top 10 player if he can remain healthy and maybe seek coaching beyond or in collaboration with his parents.


Giles Says:

roy. Correct!


courbon Says:

@ Wog Boy: Thank you Skippy for info.Yes, he is little bit too much ‘Bling-Bling’ for my taste also but he is young.You and me are two old farts complaining…(-:
I just think guys that age (and that new guy Zverev) have better chance to be very big one day ( I’m talking about multiple grand slam champions_like nadal, Novak etc ) because of their age.Raonic, Grigor, Gulbis are already 23-24 and while they may win some GS’s, they will be short on time to became very big and have 7,8 or 10 slams.Novak, who was already late bloomer had 4 slams (2011 ) while ha was 24.Not to even mention nadal who had I think 8,9 by the age of 24??


judee Says:

courbon i think Rafa had 10 GS by the age of 24 and I think it’s too early to judge this young guy let’s wait and see


Daniel Says:

This great news for tennis. Last time someone this young reproduce same results was Cilic.

If he beats Ferrer that would be something, have a top 10 win at young age. The sooner he starts winning the better for his confidence.


Giles Says:

Ferrer will run him ragged. I think Ferrer beats him tomorrow.


courbon Says:

@ judee: I’m not really judging.But is impossible for Raonic and Grigor for example, to have 4 GS in next year.
If you thinking about judging Zverev or Nick, you are right.Who knows, they may dissapear in 2,3 years…( I remember getting excited about Dolgopov about 4 years ago, I thought he would win Slam in a two, three years and…well, nothing happened )


judee Says:

@courbon sorry I made a mistake you were right that Rafa had 9 GS by the age of 24 and my second sentence wasn’t directed to you my fault again and thanks for replying


Polo Says:

It will be difficult for any of these “young” players to win a slam in the next two years while Nadal and Djokovic are still at their prime and also if Federer continues to be interested. There’s also Murray who, though not quite at the level of those three, will always be another barrier for those “young” guys to contend with.


Polo Says:

By the way, this is another prediction from the redoubtable Sean. We all know what’s going to happen.


Okiegal Says:

Very clever handshake……it is nice to see a little humor on court! Thanks for that link, Giles!!


Michael Says:

Well, how many times have we heard this ? A young star has risen on the horizon and is about to shake the Tennis World. But then they disappear without a whimper. Now there is hype about Kyrgios and Alexandra Zverev. But it remains to be seen as to how far they will live upto the promise they have aroused. Not long ago, we had this hype about Gulbis, Tomic making it big to the centre stage. But so far their results do not match with the tremendous hype that was created. Tennis definitely needs new blood, but that has been hard to come. Amongst the younger lot, it is Dmitrov who holds some promise. But then he has a long way to go.


Polo Says:

…and Dimitrov is not really that young anymore.


Alexandra Says:

Sascha surely has a lot of talent. The question with the young players is how they handle the hype that is inevitable. Not everyone is capable to handle it. But if players are making headlines at a young age they usually will make it. The next 3 years will be crucial already and show us where he is headed.


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