Alexander Zvevrev has long been heralded as the next big thing in the world of professional tennis. Whenever talks circulate around who would take over the torch from the ‘Big 4’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray when they inevitably have their final curtain call, the name of ‘Sascha’ as he is fondly nicknamed comes straight out of the mouth of any tennis expert.
But so far, it would not be a serious understatement to say that the precociously talented young German has failed to live up to the hype. His career has been dogged with inconsistency, constant failures at the Grand Slams and failure to stand up to the great names of the game whenever he faces them off.
For all the hoopla which surrounds the 21-year old, his best performance at a Grand Slam has been a quarter-final appearance at this year’s French Open, where he eventually meekly surrendered to Dominic Thiem in straight sets.
He has had far better performances in the ATP events, winning 9 titles so far in a young career, including 3 Masters crowns which has meant that he has been consistently ranked among the top players in the world. He attained a career-high ranking of No.3 and is currently ranked No.4 in the world.
An uncanny parallel could be drawn between the career struggles of Zverev and that which Andy Murray had to once endure. Both had some serious ability, but Murray too like Zverev right now lacked the mental steel to propel their game to the next level in order to become a serial winner.
For Murray, it all changed once he decided to go under the tutelage of one of the greatest tennis players of all-time, the often scary Ivan Lendl in 2012.
Perhaps drawing inspiration from Murray’s move back in 2012, which enabled him to conquer his mental hurdle of becoming a Grand Slam winner, Zverev too has recently stunned the world by announcing that Lendl would be a part of his coaching staff.
Zverev posted on his Instagram:
Zverev has been often accused of lacking the discipline which is the prerequisite for any professional athlete to enjoy a long and successful career. There have also been rumblings in some quarters that the German’s game has stagnated under the coaching of his father Alexander Zverev Sr.
The 21-year needs a fresh start and any indiscretions and signs of indiscipline won’t be tolerated under the Czech who is known to be a strict taskmaster.
The German is still young and at 21, there is still a vast room for improvement in his game. With Lendl now shadowing him, it is now the perfect opportunity for him to take his game to the next level and shut up his detractors once and for all.