How’s that for a signal of intent for the season ahead? Could Sascha Zverev’s brilliant Tour Finals victory yesterday culminate in greater slam success next year?
It certainly looks that way.
No offence to the Bulgarian, but this feels completely different to Dimitrov’s heroics this time last year, talented though he is, one feels that Grigor will forever lack that final piece of the major-winning mindset.
With Zverev Jr, the test of course is in next year’s Grand Slams where he will need to show more progress than a quarter-final showing. Maybe that is asking too much of a 21 year old, but as this week has again proved, we are dealing with an exceptional talent.
Suddenly when presented with the likes of Zverev and Thiem together in an elite round-robin set-up, the future of the men’s game is bright once more.
Thiem has the aesthetics, flair and the explosive power, but needs to be careful not to burn himself out with that infamous work schedule.
Sascha has all of this too, but with a serve-friendly frame, and boy what a weapon that has been this week.
The way the German defeated Federer and Djokovic showed just how lethal he can be when the confidence his flowing and the temperament cooled.
Silly mistakes remained yes, but against Federer you felt the result was never in doubt. With Novak, it was more of a perfect storm: the Serb suddenly looked weary and a little shellshocked at the quality of his opponent having not been truly tested all week.
That and the powerful deep groundstrokes and a confidence in his abilities, encapsulated in that remarkable down-the-line winner on match point.