Alexander Zverev’s dream week came to an ideal conclusion, after the German defeated Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 to claim the Rome title. At his first Masters 1000 final, the 20-year-old thus became the first player born in the 1990’s to win a Masters title. He is, also, the youngest since Novak Djokovic in 2007 to win one of the Big Nine.
Furthermore, Zverev will enter the top 10 on Monday, becoming the youngest since Juan Martín del Potro (in 2008) to do so.
Zverev: the latest of the ATP Next Generation to make a big move
This year’s European clay season has been an amazing one for the young generation so far. A week before the start of the French Open, it has seen immense tournaments from Dominic Thiem (who, at 23, is not considered as part of the “Next Gen”, although he, somehow, is), who has made the finals in both Barcelona and Madrid (twice losing to Rafa Nadal), and has defeated the King of Clay to reach the Rome semis.
Lucas Pouille, also 23, won his first clay title in Budapest a couple of weeks ago, and also reached the semifinals in Monte-Carlo.
At 20 years of age, Borna Coric had the biggest win of his career, in Madrid, when he defeated world number one Andy Murray in straight sets, before falling to Thiem in the quarter-finals.
U.S. hope Frances Tiafoe, 19, won two straight Challenger Tour titles to reach a career high ranking of 65. For his part, Hyeon Chung, 21, surprised in Barcelona, where he lost to Nadal in the quarter-finals after beating Zverev in the round-of-16.
The young guns are finally making their mark on the Tour, much to the delight of everyone in the tennis world (except, perhaps, their rivals).
(Photo: Getty Images)