Alexander Zverev collected arguably his biggest career title Sunday in Tokyo crushing Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-1 for the Olympic gold medal. The 24-year-old Zverev becomes the first German man to win singles gold and the second player from his country to do it after Steffi Graf in 1988.
“This is so much bigger than anything else in sports, especially in tennis, this is an incredible feeling me for me right now,” Zverev said. “There is nothing better than this. You are not only playing for yourself, you are playing for your country, and the Olympics are the biggest sporting event in the world. The feeling I have now, and will have, nothing will be better.”
Zverev, who had lost to Khachanov in their last two meetings, came out firing grabbing a quick break. Zverev dictated with his serve — dropping just 5 points on first serve – and his big forehand. He finished with 27 winners to just 15 unforced errors in the 79 minute demolition.
“I could always hit the ball quite hard, this week it was going more into the court than not, I guess,” Zverev added.
Khachanov couldn’t match Zverev’s power or his speed, and crumbled down the stretch. He had one break point chance in the middle of the first set, and that was it.
“He played from the beginning to the end an unbelievable match,” conceded the world No. 25. “I also played an outstanding match from my point of view, but he was just better today, all credit to him. For me, the Olympics stands alongside as the Grand Slams, that’s why I trained for this as soon as Wimbledon was over. I was dreaming of gold, but I’ll give it a try at the next Olympics.”
Zverev, who stunned Novak Djokovic from a set and break down on Friday in the semifinals, wins his 16th career title and 3rd of 2021. And heads to the North American hard court season in near-perfect form.
“All the tennis experts and ex-players, they always saw other guys being better than me. I now have 16 tournaments wins, four Masters 1000 wins, the ATP Finals, and a gold medal.”
Zverev made the US Open finals last year and after his Tokyo title, he might the next favorite behind Djokovic in New York.
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