Connect with us

ATP Tour

Shanghai Report — Alexander Zverev

Matt Zemek

Published

on

Danielle Parhizkaran - USA TODAY Sports

Alexander Zverev was thoroughly outclassed by Daniil Medvedev in the Shanghai Masters final… but this is a first-world problem for Zverev.

Reaching the final felt like a victory after everything Zverev has been through this year.

No, it wasn’t Zverev’s “f***ing time!” to lift another big trophy, but Zverev built on his Beijing result with an even better display in Shanghai.

It might be too dramatic and excessive to call this a full restoration of his game — the proof of that will come next season, especially in Australia, Indian Wells, and Miami — but what Zverev clearly gained from Shanghai is the simple and profound benefit of seeing an aggressive game pay off.

No more standing 10 miles behind the baseline. No more joyless and prolonged slugging.

Zverev played proactive tennis, thumping the ball and pouring down aces on Roger Federer in a three-set win which marked the highlight of his week. Federer has constantly provided positive reinforcement for Zverev at Laver Cup and in other contexts, so beating Fed provides a very powerful form of affirmation for the German.

He didn’t merely beat a top-tier player; he beat the specific top-tier player who has told him personally that he can improve and overcome struggles.

Zverev has the talent to do great things on a tennis court; few would dispute this. The mind had to get out of the body’s way. Zverev’s off-court troubles — with other people making his life difficult — seemed to filter into his tennis.

In Shanghai, Zverev built a Great Wall of China, one could say, between the off-court storms and the on-court reality of professional performance.

Tennis needs to be fun, not a burden, for professionals to sustain high-quality results. Federer has shown this for a very long time.

Zverev might not do well in Bercy or the ATP Finals. In Shanghai, he might have realized that the previous week’s difficulties or other off-court complications don’t have to affect his tennis in the present moment.

If he does indeed make — and apply — that realization to his professional life, Zverev is headed for big things in 2020.

What a Zvery pleasant idea to consider.

Follow @saqiba’s Tennis With An Accent Podcast. Listen to Saqib Ali’s show at our five main outlets:

RedCircle is here.

Stitcher is here. 

Google Podcasts is here.

Radio Public is here.

Apple Podcasts is here — subscribe, rate and review.

It takes just five minutes and helps our placement on search pages, which gives us a better chance of being noticed by advertisers who might sponsor our podcast and help us remain in business on a long-term basis.

We will be here covering tennis in 2020, but our long-term future depends on a long-term sponsorship which will provide a long-term revenue source. 

If you want to support Tennis With An Accent in the short term, in appreciation for the year-round writing and podcasting produced by this site, go here.

Catch our longreads TENNIS ACCENT PREMIUM series, with examples here and here. 

Matt Zemek is the co-editor of Tennis With An Accent with Saqib Ali. Matt is the lead writer for the site and helps Saqib with the TWAA podcast, produced by Radio Influence at radioinfluence.com. Matt has written professionally about men's and women's tennis since 2014 for multiple outlets: Comeback Media, FanRagSports, and independently at Patreon, where he maintains a tennis site. You can reach Matt by e-mail: mzemek@hotmail.com. You can find him on Twitter at @mzemek.

Advertisement Big Savings for Big Fans at Fanatics.com

Trending