Alexander Zverev Cincinnati Open 2021

“A big step forward” – Zverev feels 2021 was breakout season for youngsters

Olympic gold medallist Alexander Zverev believes that “the top ten is getting younger” and feels that “is a good thing for the sport.”

After almost a decade of dominance from The Big Three of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who have all won 20 Grand Slam titles apiece, 2021 looks to have ushered in the next generation of players with many enjoying breakthrough seasons.

Both 40-year-old Federer and 35-year-old Nadal have been recovering from injuries that ruled them out for almost half of the season. Federer has been missing since July following a setback with his knee after undergoing double knee surgery in 2020. Whilst Nadal has been out since August when a foot injury resurfaced.

Despite 34-year-old World number one Djokovic winning three of the four Grand Slams this year, he took a two-month long hiatus after 25-year-old World number two Daniil Medvedev ended his hopes of a Calendar Slam and a record 21st Grand Slam title. Medvedev overcame Djokovic in straight sets 6-4 6-4 6-4 in the US Open final.

Similarly, 24-year-old Olympic gold medallist Alexander Zverev also beat Djokovic 1-6 6-3 6-1 in the semi-finals of the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympics, ending the Serbian number one’s dreams of being the first male player ever to complete a Golden Slam (all four Grand Slams and Olympic gold in a single season).

Within the current ATP top ten, only Djokovic and Nadal are above the age of 30 with the remaining eight being no older than 25 years old.

Ahead of the upcoming ATP Finals in Turin, Italy, Zverev told reporters in a press conference “we did make a big step forward this year.

“The young guys have won all the Masters (1000 titles) apart from Rome and Paris. My winning the Olympics was a big statement. Daniil  (Medvedev) winning the U.S. Open was a big statement.”

“I think the young guys are coming through and it’s a natural curve. The top ten is definitely getting younger. I think that’s a good thing for our sport as well.”

World number four Zverev has been placed in the Red group for the ATP Finals alongside defending champion Daniil Medvedev, home competitor Italian Matteo Berrettini and World number nine Hubert Hurkacz.

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.