In September 2016 Sascha Zverev won St. Petersburg Open for his first ATP title. Two years later, he’s the champion of the ATP Finals – elite 8-man season-ending championships.
Playing his second ATP Finals, Zverev qualified for semifinals with two group wins just behind Novak Djokovic, world no.1. He then beat six-time champion Roger Federer to make it to finals. On Sunday, Zverev avenged his group stage loss to Djokovic with empathic 64 63 win to become just the 4th player to have beaten Federer and Djokovic in semis and finals of the same tournament (following Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and David Nalbandian).
Djokovic suffered just his 3rd loss since July and failed to win the ATP Finals for the record-tying 6th time. 21-year-old Zverev is now the youngest season finale winner in a decade – since Djokovic won it in Shanghai in 2008. Apart from these two, the only players to have won ATP Finals at the age of 21 are Ivan Lendl and Boris Becker, both former world no.1 and multiple Slam winners.
In his acceptance speech Zverev thanked Djokovic for his class and kindness on and off the court (‘Everybody knows how good of a tennis player you are but I want to really mention how good of a person you are as well, a very good sharer of this world’). When presented with a sponsored bottle of champagne, he joked, ‘I wasn’t gonna get drunk just yet but, okay…’