Alexander Zverev won the biggest title of his very young career and in doing so became the first German to claim the season-ending championship, the ATP Finals, since Boris Becker in 1995.
The 21-year-old stunned world No.1 Novak Djokovic in 80 minutes 6-4, 6-3 to become the youngest player to win the title since Djokovic himself in 2008, when the event was played at Shanghai’s Qi Zhong Stadium, home of the Rolex Shanghai Masters. And with his win over Roger Federer in the semis, he became only the fourth man following Andy Murray, Rafa Nadal and David Nalbandian to beat Federer and Djokovic in the same tournament.
Going into the final Djokovic had not lost a set and had won something like 40 consecutive service games, he had only faced two break points. The Serb was naturally the heavy favourite to win a record equalling sixth such title. However, when Zverev broke serve in the ninth game of the first set and served it out with a blistering service game that included three consecutive aces, things started to go the wrong way for Djokovic.
He had one brief respite early in the second set when they exchanged service breaks but then Zverev broke once more and that was enough for him to end up holding the trophy. He dropped to the court and lay on his front for quite a while till Novak walked around the net to congratulate him.
“It means a lot,” Zverev said. “I mean, obviously this is the biggest title of my career so far. This trophy means a lot, everything, to all the players. I mean, you only have so many chances of winning it. You play against the best players only. How I played today, how I won it, for me it’s just amazing.
“I felt my knees, so my knees kind of hurt (when I dropped on the court). Apart from that, I was very happy. Obviously, it’s quite astonishing, winning this title, beating two such players back-to-back, Roger and Novak, in semi-finals and finals. Means so much. I’m incredibly happy and incredibly proud of this moment right now.”
As the match wore on Djokovic was starting to look a bit weary. He has had an amazing few months and in particular the last few weeks have been full on for him. During that time, he wrested the world No.1 ranking which he will also close the season with. The last five months has seen remarkable tennis from the Serb who is the first man to go from outside the top 20 to year-end No.1.
“Yeah, maybe a little bit (tired),” Djokovic said. “Health-wise I haven’t been really perfect in the last three, four weeks. That took a lot out of me. But at the same time I played finals of Bercy and here. I mean, I have to be happy with that result. Of course, finishing the year as No. 1, that was the goal coming into the indoor season. I managed to achieve that.
“Overall it was a phenomenal season that I have to be definitely very proud of. Really, as I said before many times, I kind of also expect myself to do very well.
“But at the same time I would sign it right away if someone told me because at that time it was also looking quite improbable that that’s going to happen considering where I was ranking-wise and also game-wise. I wasn’t playing even close to where I wanted to be at in terms of level of tennis.
“Obviously no one likes to lose a tennis match. You try your best. But at the same time, as I said on the court, you put things in a larger perspective, see things a bit differently. When you get out of this feeling of a little bit disappointment that you lost, I mean, all the positive things that I have to reflect on and also take from this season, especially last six months.”
The doubles championship was won my Mike Bryan and Jack Sock who saved a match point and then on their sixth match point in the champions tiebreak, defeated Nicolas Mahut and Pierre Hugues Herbert 5-7, 6-1, 13-11.