Alexander Zverev enhances reputation as a genuine Grand Slam challenger with ATP Finals win over Daniil Medvedev as Novak Djokovic is served warning that Australian Open win is not guaranteed… if he turns up
- Alexander Zverev proved he is a real challenger with his ATP Finals victory
- He beat US Open champion Daniil Medvedev in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in Turin
- Novak Djokovic will face a tough fight for the Australian Open title if he plays
- Britain’s Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram lost in the doubles championship match
Even if he does end going to the Australian Open in January, Novak Djokovic was served a reminder last night that a tenth title in Melbourne is far from assured.
Alex Zverev added to his reputation as a serious challenger by defeating US Open champion Daniil Medvedev 6-4 6-4 in the final of Turin’s ATP Finals.
Earlier Britain’s Joe Salisbury and American partner Rajeev Ram lost in the doubles championship match, falling in straight sets to French duo Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.
Alexander Zverev underlined his reputation as a Grand Slam challenger with his ATP Finals win
Zverev had qualified after beating Djokovic late on Saturday night, with the world number one leaving it hanging in the air about whether he will travel to Australia. That will require him to become vaccinated against Covid.
Ironically his last appointment of the season is the forthcoming Davis Cup finals in Austria, being played behind closed doors as an indirect result of so many in that country declining to get jabbed.
If he does turn up at the Australian Open – he is against the compulsory jabs being required for entry – then Zverev will be a threat.
The 24-year-old world number three from Hamburg has become the first man to win the year-end championships a second time without having claimed a Grand Slam title, or having reached world number one.
The German beat US Open champion, Russian Daniil Medvedev (right) 6-4, 6-4, in Turin, Italy
An irresistible display of serving on the speedy courts of Turin backed up the idea that he will be the next Major winner. He will need to follow this up stronger than he did his 2018 victory, when the event was held at London’s O2 Arena.
Medvedev put in a curiously lacklustre display. The Russian, who denied Djokovic the calendar Grand Slam in New York, never looked like the player who had beaten Zverev in their previous five meetings.
Djokovic will head to Innsbruck to represent Serbia next weekend, and could yet meet the British team of which Salisbury is a part.
The 29-year-old Londoner and his partner fell 6-4 7-6 to top French pair Mahut and Herbert, unable to replicate their best form of this year. Salisbury had his serve broken in the opener.
World No 1 Novak Djokovic has a fight on his hands to win the Australian Open… if he turns up
Nonetheless it has been a standout season for the Anglo-American duo, who reached the final of the Australian Open and won the US Open.
‘If we have a season like this, we’re going to sign up for it every time,’ said a deflated Salisbury. He can add to that the French Open and New York mixed titles, underlining his claims to be the most versatile doubles player of 2021.
He and Neal Skupski could well find themselves up against the same pairing next week as GB play France in the group stages. Salisbury said the absence of spectators would not affect them.
‘We’re all really up for it whether there’s fans there watching or not. I think we’ve got a good team with good support staff there. I think we’ll be able to create our own atmosphere. We’re going to be just as fired up for it as normal.’