Alexander Zverev follows up Novak Djokovic shock to seal historic Olympic gold

Alexander Zverev dominated Karen Khachanov to win Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020, becoming the first German man to win the singles title.

Zverev, the fourth seed from Germany, had fought back from a set and a break down in the semi-finals to end Novak Djokovic’s Golden Slam hopes but there was no mental or physical hangover as he swept Khachanov, representing the Russian Olympic Committee, aside 6-3 6-1.

His huge serve and heavy groundstrokes proved too much for Khachanov – who earned a late code violation for angrily whacking a ball into the empty stands – as Zverev produced another statement win, breaking the world No. 25 four times.

The 24-year-old was long-tipped to be the next big thing in men’s tennis in the days beyond the ‘Big Three’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic but he hasn’t taken the strides forward many expected in recent years.

He did reach a first Grand Slam final last season, losing to Dominic Thiem in five sets at the US Open – having led by two sets to love, and this is his third title of 2021.

His image was significantly damaged by allegations of domestic abuse – accusations he continues to deny – with former girlfriend Olga Sharypova claiming he had choked her with a pillow and punched her in the face. In an interview with Racquet Magazine, she said she tried to kill herself during the 2019 Laver Cup in Geneva.

While off-court matters continue to plague him, there is no denying that his form has been sensational in recent weeks.

There is extra bite to his ball striking, with added precision and nous, and when his serve is firing it is one of the most potent weapons in men’s tennis.

German Olympic singles medal winners


London 1908: Silver – Otto Froitzheim
Stockholm 1912: Bronze – Oscar Kreuzer
Sydney 2000: Silver – Tommy Haas
Tokyo 2020: Gold – Alexander Zverev


Stockholm 1912: Silver – Dorothea Koring
Seoul 1988: Gold – Steffi Graf
Barcelona 1992: Silver – Steffi Graf
Rio 2016: Silver – Angelique Kerber

The next step will now be for him to maintain this level across best-of-five sets matches. If he can, a first Grand Slam will not be far away.

For now, he can celebrate a first men’s singles title for his country.

This is a third German gold in Olympics tennis after Steffi Graf triumphed in Seoul 1988 on her way to the Golden Slam, while Boris Becker and Michael Stich picked up a men’s doubles win in Barcelona 1992.

Khachanov is the first Russian to medal since Yevgeny Kafelnikov won gold 21 years ago in Sydney.

While Zverev is far from emulating 20-time Grand Slam champions Djokovic, Federer and Nadal, he has found a sweet spot that none of them have achieved: winning the ATP Finals and Olympic singles gold.

Nadal has never won the season-ending ATP Finals, while Federer and Djokovic have only managed singles silver and bronze respectively at the Games. It is, of course, something Andy Murray achieved by winning the ATP Finals in 2016 to go with his two Olympic gold singles medals.

For more stories like this, check our sport page

Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Source: Read Full Article