Alexander Zverev arrived at the semifinals of the ATP Tour finals when serving John Isner off the court in an hour and 20 minutes here on Friday to confirm that he is the premier shooter of the game.
Of the contenders that are disputed from the sacred trinity of the game – Roger Federer (whom he met in the semifinals on Saturday and who took three sets to shoot him down here a year ago), Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal – Zverev, at the age of 21, has already He separated from his contemporaries. Walk with the air of someone for whom youth is a disadvantage, but their strong mental qualities sometimes go wrong with arrogance.
He left little doubt about the strength of his own conviction when asked the other day if Ivan Lendl, his last mentor, had brought rigor and discipline to his extrajudicial work. "If you will be strict with me with rules and things, the relationship will not last long," he said, smiling halfway. "He understood this very quickly, I thought." Lendl's response is unknown.
After beating Isner 7-6 (5), 6-3 on Friday afternoon, Zverev laughed when he asked if he was playing over Lendl. "I was surprised that he is really a very, very friendly boy," he said. "I did not know. He's an incredible guy, in fact. He's very fond. People close, he really loves and does everything for them, I admire a lot. I try to be the same way.
"But I do not need to be in a corner. I know what I want. I go late to things sometimes, to non-important things, to dinner or I saw five minutes of return to the car when it comes out – not training or something like that. I am very, very disciplined I work hard, I like it because I know what I want and I want to be the best. With any other attitude, you will not be. "
Federer, the useless duke of tennis, will try the genius of Zverev's collection and break the breaking point. If you survive this test, you will probably have to go again against the five-time Djokovic champion in the final. If he won both games at the end of a long and hard season, the arrival of his age would be close to his apex. History still favors it.
Zverev came to the quarterfinals of a slam but, from his triumphs of ATP Masters 1000, two turned back – against Djokovic and Federer. You need to find this type of intensity this weekend. Federer was almost 23 years old when he won the first of its 20 elders; Djokovic, won the first of its 14 decades ago, at the age of Zverev. However, impatient could be, Zverev has time at his side.
The first German who came to the last four of this event since Rainer Schüttler lost Andre Agassi in the semifinals of Houston 15 years ago, Zverev is also the youngest semi final since Juan Martín del Potro lost Nikolai Davydenko in the end of 2009, First edition of the 10 played so far in this venue.
He is far from the full article, which Lendl can remember from time to time, but it brings energy, attitude and instinct to the court, and that is gold dust for a sport that can not rely on the magic of 37 years, said Federer or Nadal 32, who is not in this tournament, for more than a couple of years.
Isner, at the age of 33, did not play a ball in his hand, put 10 minutes more in the end of Zverev, but he came across and those free spots showed the difference in a fast fire game in which there was only a break in service.
The break-up service has always been the problem for Isner, who had more shots than Wyatt Earp and, once Zverev tied his best efforts in the draw, the inevitability went down in the processes.