HAMBURG, April 20, 2016
By the age of 19 years, Alexander Zverev is close to crack the top 50 in the ATP rankings, after reaching a career high 51st position last Monday. The biggest hope in German men’s tennis celebrates his birthday today.
The Hamburg native turned pro in 2013 but played his first tournament at senior’s level in the qualifying of the ATP Challenger in San Marino in 2011, when he was granted a wild card. He reached his first final on the ITF Pro Circuit in November 2012 when he lost the title match in Bradenton to Florian Reynet from France.
He had to wait almost two more years to lift his first trophy. The time has come in July 2014. Zverev captured the title at the prestigious Sparkassen Challenger beating experienced Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu in the final 1-6, 6-1, 6-4. He entered the main draw with a wild card and left the tournament with his first title and 125 ATP ranking points.
Two weeks later, the teenager attracted international attention at the ATP 500 event in Hamburg, Germany biggest tennis tournament for men at this time, reaching the semi-finals. Zverev had beaten Robin Haase, Mikhail Youzhny, Santiago Giraldo as well as Tobias Kamke en route to the stage of the final four when he was stopped by Spanish top 10-player David Ferrer.
Just like in Braunschweig, Zverev was awarded a wild card by tournament director Michael Stich, who organized both events back then. The German youngster told last year, that Stich was the first official who believed in him.
The Hamburg success was followed by three consecutive first round losses at the ATP events in Umag, Kitzbühel and Cincinnati. He also missed to qualify for the main draws of the US-Open and the Australian Open but he found back on the winning track in the middle of 2015.
In May, he made it to the semi-final of the ATP Challenger in Aix-en-Provence and one week later he celebrated his second Challenger triumph, winning the Neckarcup in Heilbronn. He beat Guido Pella on the Argentine’s birthday in straight sets.
“Last year, I was still the newcomer. Most of the players didn’t know me. Now, I have established myself a bit on the tour and I feel good,” Zverev told after the final and cracked the top 100 for the first time. However, he failed again to qualify for the main draw of a Grand Slam in Paris one week later.
He made his debut at a major in Wimbledon 2015, entering directly. He reached the second round when he lost to US-American Denis Kudla in four sets. He managed to qualify for the US-Open but lost in the opening stage against fellow-German Philipp Kohlschreiber in five sets.
Zverev was named the 2015 Emirates ATP Star of Tomorrow after finishing the season as the youngest player inside the Top 100. He began the season ranked number 136, broke into the Top 100 on 18 May and reached a career-high number 74 on 29 June.
He started the year 2016 teaming-up with Sabine Lisicki at the Hopman Cup, he reached the semi-final in Montpellier losing to Paul-Henri Mathieu and made it to the stage of the last 16 at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells when he missed one match point against Rafael Nadal.
One week before, he celebrated his debut representing Germany at the Davis Cup in Hannover. The home team was defeated 3-2 by the Czech Republic. Zverev could not contribute a point, losing both single rubbers to Tomas Berdych, respectively Lukas Rosol.
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) 4. März 2016
There is still a lot to come from the German youngster but first of all it’s time to celebrate birthday. And the probably best gift has come by his own hands, winning his second round match in Barcelona against Thomaz Bellucci in the third set 7-5 on his very special day. All the best!
— ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) 20. April 2016