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At the beginning of the year, many commentators predicted that Alexander Zverev has an excellent chance to occupy the first place in the ATP ranking, but this simply did not happen. Moreover, he played worse than last year. Does this mean that in 2017 Zverev reached his ceiling? There is no noticeable improvement in his game. His forehand is still very mediocre, his net play is still bad. By the end of 2018, it seems that Coric and Tsitsipas are more complete players than Zverev. So what's wrong with him?
 

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At the beginning of the year, many commentators predicted that Alexander Zverev has an excellent chance to occupy the first place in the ATP ranking, but this simply did not happen. Moreover, he played worse than last year. Does this mean that in 2017 Zverev reached his ceiling? There is no noticeable improvement in his game. His forehand is still very mediocre, his net play is still bad. By the end of 2018, it seems that Coric and Tsitsipas are more complete players than Zverev. So what's wrong with him?
????
 

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The results prove otherwise.
He won fewer tournaments and earned less points.
He is quite likely to earn more points this year (currently 4365) than last year (4610), even though he played fewer tournaments, so his average performance this year is at least as good as last year. The main issue remains his slam performance which is abysmal for a top 5 player.
 

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I recall several experts pointed out he might even have a really rough 2018. As it was the
year after his breakthrough to the top 10.

Just after Shanghai 2018:
He has made more points already thn last year and still 3 tournaments to play.
He has again qualified for the ATP finals.
He currently has a 49-16 record at the moment; 55-22 last year
He defended 2 titles (did not play Montpellier)
He achieved 5 SF, 3 F and 1 W in Masters ( 2 W in 2017)
He got his best GS year, although it is not really good

All in all I say he at least confirmed his 2017 with 2018. He had some really desastrous defeats,
but that was the case in 2017, too. I remember a lot of them. And certainly Sasha benefited
from his ranking and the draws and his Top10 wins (4, 7 in 2017) are down, too
But throughout the year, actually since Canada 2017, he kept a top5 ranking. You do not
get that for granted.
I would say his best level 2018 ( Madrid, Rome, Washington, partly Miami ) was better than 2017.
However in general 2017 he was more consistent.
 

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I recall several experts pointed out he might even have a really rough 2018. As it was the
year after his breakthrough to the top 10.

Just after Shanghai 2018:
He has made more points already thn last year and still 3 tournaments to play.
He has again qualified for the ATP finals.
He currently has a 49-16 record at the moment; 55-22 last year
He defended 2 titles (did not play Montpellier)
He achieved 5 SF, 3 F and 1 W in Masters ( 2 W in 2017)
He got his best GS year, although it is not really good

All in all I say he at least confirmed his 2017 with 2018. He had some really desastrous defeats,
but that was the case in 2017, too. I remember a lot of them. And certainly Sasha benefited
from his ranking and the draws and his Top10 wins (4, 7 in 2017) are down, too
But throughout the year, actually since Canada 2017, he kept a top5 ranking. You do not
get that for granted.
I would say his best level 2018 ( Madrid, Rome, Washington, partly Miami ) was better than 2017.
However in general 2017 he was more consistent.
Thanks!
 

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That's a very common phenomenon. Thiem for example played better on clay in his previous year too for his last three years.

Otherwise when looking at Zverevs game last year for comparision, which I'm sure you didn't, it should become obvious that he's a much better player now. Basically every aspect of his game has improved slighly, except for his BH which has already been world class and his FH which has improved massively.

People always look at respectable results of previous years ignoring the actual matches behind those. Zverev for example had some very dodgy matches last year even at the tournaments he won people tend to forget. I like to mention Rome R1 against Anderson for that matter because it's the prime example of a win where his game, his FH in particular, was very suspicious and he was extremely lucky to win.
This year on the other hand he's had patches where he was just very dominant and his level was almost flawless (Madrid, Washington).
 

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Overall he has maintained it, but slam results could said to have stagnated (i.e. not improved) considering what he should be capable of. Only notable result in 2018 was RG QF albeit having to navigate 3 five setters en route.
 

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He played better in 2018 when he was peaking. From grass to USO no doubt 2017 was better, but from Miami to RG this year is clearly better than last year. Overal 2018 is better but it’s not by much. However that’s actually big because there have been many cases where players fail to back up their breakthrough season and hell get even worse while Zverev at least improved slightly. It’s just that expectations are higher on him and his slam results still disappoint which make it seem as if 2018 was worse but it’s not the case at all
 

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More expectations and more pressure and lacks of nerves and humility.
A game known and analyzed by opponents' coaches and lacks of B game.


That said winning MS Madrid at his age is not a crappy year compared to all the other U23 players.
 

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It's basically the same as 2017. His ranking went down a bit with Djokovic and Del Potro surging and he may need a few more months to catch up on Federer, maybe Delpo too depending on how serious his injury is.
 

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He's just very overrated and lucky one (his results at Majors speak for itself).
The key factor is Novak's resurgence. If Novak weren't here - Zverev without a doubt would have taken Shanghai, i.e. 2 Masters he would have got even this year.
 
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