Alexander Zverev is already looking ahead to 2020 after declaring he ‘wasn’t happy all year’ following his ATP Finals semi-final defeat to Dominic Thiem on Saturday night in London.
Zverev won the biggest title of his career 12 months ago at the ATP Finals, becoming the first player to beat Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic back-to-back at the season finale, but he wasn’t able to take his game to the next level in 2019, with his season and title defence coming to an end at the hands of Thiem in the semi-finals.
The 22-year-old started his campaign in encouraging fashion as he played his best match of the season to beat Rafael Nadal in straight sets, but he was outplayed by both Stefanos Tsitsipas in the group stage and Thiem in the final four, losing both matches in straight sets.
Ending last season at No. 3 in the world, Zverev finishes 2019 at No. 7 – which he says is ‘quite incredible’ when you consider the description of his overall mindset for the year.
“I wasn’t happy at all the whole year. Outside the court, on the court. So to finish the year No. 7 in the world, for me, with all the things that happened to me and with all the things that were happening is actually quite incredible,” Zverev said in his post-match press conference.
“I didn’t think I would. In that point, you can see it in a very positive way. And the other point, of course, I was very disappointing, because I wanted to win more tournaments. I wanted to play better at the big tournaments.”
Alexander Zverev (PA Images)
Zverev won a total of nine titles in 2017 and 2018, including three Masters 1000 crowns and the aforementioned ATP Finals silverware, but he only managed to win one title in 2019, with that coming at the 250 meet on clay in Geneva.
The German also once again stumbled at the slams, making just one quarter-final at the French Open. Zverev, who was dealing with a messy off-court legal dispute with his former agent all year, appeared as if he was turning a corner after the U.S. Open, making the semi-finals in Beijing and finishing runner-up at the Shanghai Masters, but he suffered a loss to Taylor Fritz in the first round of Basel and a defeat to Denis Shapovalov in the Round of 16 in Paris.
However, despite some up-and-down form to close the year, Zverev believes he was starting to find his groove again – and he threw his hat into the ring in predicting a new Grand Slam champion for 2020.
“I think next year will bring a new Grand Slam champion. We’ll see who that will be, because I think the young guys are playing incredible tennis,” he said.
“You know, it can be Daniil, it can be Stefanos, it can be Dominic. I’m in the mix, as well, I hope. We’ll see what next year brings. But I think for the young guys, it’s going to be an exciting year.”
Zverev, who will skip the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid next week, will end his season by playing a series of exhibition matches across South America against Federer.
Zverev also revealed he will fly to New York to potentially undergo a surgical procedure on his eyes, saying he was feeling uncomfortable playing with contact lenses.