Alexander Zverev will join an exclusive club if he wins the Madrid Masters title

Andrew Hendrie in ATP 13 May 2018
  • Zverev looking to become the fifth active player to win three or more Masters 1000 titles
  • Only Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have achieved the feat
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Madrid at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)
Alexander Zverev (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Alexander Zverev has put a slow start to the season behind him as he attempts to secure a third ATP Masters 1000 title in Madrid on Sunday - and at the same time, join a very elite club.

Watch and bet on Zverev vs Thiem live from Madrid at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify). The final begins at 6.30pm local time on Sunday (5.30pm BST).

Prior to Rome of last season, the Big Four of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray had won 54 of 59 ATP Masters 1000 tournaments. From the 2014 Cincinnati Masters to 2017 Madrid Masters, the elite quartet took home 24 of 25 Masters titles. However, ever since Rome 2017, the Big Four have combined for just two of the last eight, with a fresh group of players rising to the top. And leading the way is 21-year-old Alexander Zverev.

Zverev started the initial takeover bid from the rest of the pack when he beat Djokovic to win his maiden Masters 1000 crown in Rome last year, and he backed that triumph up with a straight sets dispatch of Roger Federer to reign supreme in Montreal just a couple of months later. Although he’s struggled over the best-of-five sets format at Grand Slam level, nobody has been more consistent than Zverev in Masters 1000 tournaments over the last 12 months - and if he can overcome Dominic Thiem on Sunday in Madrid, he will become the first active player outside of the Big Four to win three Masters 1000 titles.


The German is the only player to have reached the final of four Masters 1000 tournaments in the span of the last year, while he’s also the only man to have made five Masters 1000 semi-finals in the last 12 months. Sometimes we forget that Zverev only just turned 21 years of age - that is a truly remarkable achievement, and yes, while Djokovic and Murray have been absent for most of that period, someone had to step up and take advantage, and Zverev has been the man to do so.

Alexander Zverev (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
The likes of Jack Sock, Juan Martin del Potro and John Isner have also collected Masters 1000 titles during the last 12 months, but Zverev has done what neither of those players have been able to do - and that’s make multiple finals and put himself in a position to secure more Masters silverware. Zverev actually could have joined Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray if he defeated Isner in the Miami Masters final earlier this year, but he ultimately fell just short against the towering American.


Zverev has another chance on Sunday in Madrid before he tries to defend a Masters 1000 title for the first time in Rome next week. It will be the first time the Madrid Masters final will be won by a player outside of the Big Four since the tournament moved to the clay of the Caja Magica in 2009. Zverev has lost all three of his previous meetings with Thiem on clay - but they all came in 2016 before he hit the level he is currently operating at. The Austrian leads their overall H2H 4-1, with their last meeting coming over a year ago on the indoor hardcourts of Rotterdam.

“It’s obviously a great final for kind of the future ahead,” Zverev said. “We played five times against each other when he was already top 10 and I was more in the developing stage still. ‘Obviously he’s leading the head-to-head. But I’m playing quite well. So is he. Hopefully it will be another entertaining one.”

Zverev appears to have gotten over some tough stages of his young career that he experienced towards the end of 2017 and the start of 2018. The current World No. 3 wasn’t himself after winning Montreal and didn’t reach a final for the rest of 2017, suffering another tame Grand Slam exit at the U.S. Open and exiting from the Nitto ATP Finals in London in the group stage. Zverev then went on to begin 2018 by losing against players ranked outside the top 50 in three of his first four tournaments, including another early elimination at a major in Melbourne.

But Zverev has recaptured his best tennis since Miami, winning 16 of his last 18 matches and riding an eight-match winning streak into the Madrid final after defending his Munich title last week. Thiem is being widely described as the second-best player on clay after Nadal, but Zverev has already won a Masters 1000 title on the surface - if he wins another by beating Thiem on Sunday, the German could lay claim for taking that mantle ahead of the French Open.


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Alexander Zverev will join an exclusive club if he wins the Madrid Masters title

Alexander Zverev has put a slow start to the season behind him as he attempts to secure a third ATP Masters 1000 title in Madrid on Sunday - and at the same time, join a very elite club.

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