PUP FOR THE CUP Alexander Zverev has Becks Appeal as he beats Novak Djokovic to become ATP Finals champ and celebrates with family dog that his mum held in a bag

German was booed in the semi-finals but was cheered to the rafters by David Beckham at the O2 as he smashed the World No 1 - and went over to kiss his pet

19 November 2018 - 09:42

ALEXANDER ZVEREV turned the O2 jeers into cheers as he beat Novak Djokovic to win the Nitto ATP Finals title at the O2 Arena.

The German, nicknamed Sascha, was booed by fans for correctly stopping play during a rally in the semi-finals with Roger Federer on Saturday when a ball-boy accidentally spilt a ball on-court.

But he had the London audience – including David Beckham and son Romeo – on his side as he won 6-4 6-3 before celebrating by going over to kiss a dog, which was sitting in his mum's bag.

Zverev, 21, said: "That family dog has been on a lot of courts. I think every court except Wimbledon, because they just would kick him off.

"It was a great moment obviously taking a moment with the whole team, with my dog there, with my family. It was great."

Zverev has now landed the biggest title of his career after long being considered the future of men’s tennis – the leader of the Next Generation.

And this was the right stage - and the right opponent - to announce his arrival.

If he keeps this up he could eventually become as big a name in tennis as Becks is in football.

Zverev said of the famous fan: "I met him before. Seeing David again, it was nice.

"I actually took a picture with him three years ago when I was doing the ATP University here. I was here watching the final of Roger and Novak, where Novak beat Roger, and went on to win this tournament."

From the moment he stepped on-court, it was obvious there would be no issues after the controversy against Federer as he was greeted by warm applause and several well-wishers.

And Zverev rose to the occasion, matching Djokovic stride-for-stride, enjoying 86% of points won on his first serve in a pulsating first set.

Any doubts about whether he could live with the returning of Djokovic were soon answered as his serving was impeccable and he managed to break the Serb in the ninth game of the first set.

That was the first time Djokovic’s serve had been surrendered all week in the Capital.

Incredibly Djoko lost his next TWO service games in the second set as the World No.5 took control of the match and secured his £2m payday.

It's strange why Djokovic didn't play at his top level. Maybe his old coach Boris Becker had the answer. "It's going to bother Djokovic that the crowd are supporting the young gun, the 21-year-old. That's bothering him."

Undeniably Zverev’s next target is ensuring he can get beyond the quarter-finals of a major – he reached the last eight at the 2018 French Open but that is the furthest he has gone in his fledging career.

The prestigious ATP title will be added to the Masters 1,000 crown won in Madrid and underlines that, come the Australian Open in January, he will be expected to break the stranglehold of Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer in the four majors in this sport.


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