Has Zverev already peaked?

King No1e

Hall of Fame
#1
We've had a few players peak really young and then never be the same again. Tomic, Dolgopolov were hyped as the next big thing when they were ~20, but then they only declined. Is Zverev about to follow suit?

Not to say he's moving to the great land of Suomi yet, but his 2019 season is scarily reminiscent of Dimitrov's 2018. Since winning the WTF, he's completely lost the plot. A temporary blip in the radar or a premature burnout?
 

Red Rick

Talk Tennis Guru
#2
Define 'peaked'

I think he was overachieving in Bo3 tournaments for large parts of 2017 and 2018, and that success wasn't sustainable. So him winning no ATP 1000s + and falling out of top 5 I'd consider regression to the mean. Doing much worse than that is a temporary albeit severe slump.

I do believe he should be like bottom end top 10, and there's sooo many bad tennis players who suddenly could well win Grand Slams because at some point the Big 3 will stop declining and start decomposing.

He's nothing special compared to up and coming talents of 15 years ago, but he's definitely one of the better ones of his generation.

ISSAL DOWNHERE FROM HERE.
 
#4
We've had a few players peak really young and then never be the same again. Tomic, Dolgopolov were hyped as the next big thing when they were ~20, but then they only declined. Is Zverev about to follow suit?

Not to say he's moving to the great land of Suomi yet, but his 2019 season is scarily reminiscent of Dimitrov's 2018. Since winning the WTF, he's completely lost the plot. A temporary blip in the radar or a premature burnout?
No, not even close. When he will get there is the question. Whether Z is nobler in the mind to handle his outrageous fortune and will dictate with backhands against a sea of worthy competitors, Rather than losing to them?
 
#5
Worth noting that he's always just peaked at random times. His entire season post-RG last year was aggressively mediocre until the WTF. And he didn't even look that great there. He got smoked by Novak in the RR and then just squeaked past Fed in the SF. The final was a peaking performance out of nowhere.

So it's not like it's been all downhill since London. London was the outlier of a very pedestrian past 11 months.
 

Red Rick

Talk Tennis Guru
#6
Worth noting that he's always just peaked at random times. His entire season post-RG last year was aggressively mediocre until the WTF. And he didn't even look that great there. He got smoked by Novak in the RR and then just squeaked past Fed in the SF. The final was a peaking performance out of nowhere.

So it's not like it's been all downhill since London. London was the outlier of a very pedestrian past 11 months.
I guess he does have some smaller upswings which are often also due to easy draws. Had an okay Washington/Montreal run, and also a semi in Shanghai which were all cake draws until he ran into a decent player and lost

And at this point I consider calling Tsits a decent player a stretch.

He also had the same thing in 2017 with random good stretches and hilarious losses everywhere else. 2017 AO was probably also his only Slam where he didn't completely shat the bed in the end.
 
#7
Worth noting that he's always just peaked at random times. His entire season post-RG last year was aggressively mediocre until the WTF. And he didn't even look that great there. He got smoked by Novak in the RR and then just squeaked past Fed in the SF. The final was a peaking performance out of nowhere.

So it's not like it's been all downhill since London. London was the outlier of a very pedestrian past 11 months.
Yeah he is a strange player. Unpredictable, and his peak performances and good tournaments seem to come out of nowhere. Just never in a slam, that is the one safe bet.

He is such a pedestrian looking player, I am amazed he has even won so many Masters and other events, I find that even more amazing than how a player who has won so many of those can be so poor and such a non factor in slams. I watched him live in Montreal winning the Canada Masters by spanking an injured Federer in the final, and while that was one of his peak performances and he was extremely good that day and whole event (I saw 3 of his matches, including his easily beating Kygrios) and even there I didnt get the aww or wow factor of his game. It was just a very generic game produced very well there, but nothing that special or unique even at his best.
 
#8
Maybe Zverev has always been very overrated? All credit to him for winning some Masters 1000's when others his age aren't able to cross that line. And genuinely big props for defeating Fed and then Novak to win the YEC.

I've seen Zverev practice and play live over the past 3 years at IW. He's seriously underwhelming in person and his serve (for his height) is just not the weapon it should be. To me, he's just a better version of Jerzy Janowicz in game, though obviously with hugely better results. He was just destroyed by 32 year old Fabio on Zverev's favorite surface for God's sake. Felix has more talent in his kneecap than Zverev. All his endless weightlifting in the gym is not going to substitute for raw talent. Fed has sticks for arms and 20 slams, maybe he needs to reflect on that?

 
#9
Maybe Zverev has always been very overrated? All credit to him for winning some Masters 1000's when others his age aren't able to cross that line. And genuinely big props for defeating Fed and then Novak to win the YEC.

I've seen Zverev practice and play live over the past 3 years at IW. He's seriously underwhelming in person and his serve (for his height) is just not the weapon it should be. To me, he's just a better version of Jerzy Janowicz in game, though obviously with hugely better results. He was just destroyed by 32 year old Fabio on Zverev's favorite surface for God's sake. Felix has more talent in his kneecap than Zverev. All his endless weightlifting in the gym is not going to substitute for raw talent. Fed has sticks for arms and 20 slams, maybe he needs to reflect on that?

I already get the impression generation 96-98 is going to be the 3rd straight total flop generation; following a mediocre but not quite total flop generation before that (88-90 with guys like Del Potro and Cilic). Guys like Felix are the true future, the Zverev generation will be bypassed altogether, but might sneak in a few slams amongst them by total default before that.
 
#10
Guys like Felix are the true future, the Zverev generation will be bypassed altogether, but might sneak in a few slams amongst them by total default before that.
I don't like Zverev, so it's hard to be unbiased with him. But it seems obvious Felix and Tsitsipas have more variety, are less robotic, less predictable and just have better games than Zverev (incoming, "yeah, well, when did they win Masters or YEC?!") If Zverev doesn't make a run to at least the semis of the FO and Wimbledon, expect Ivan to leave him in a ditch. And who really expects Zverev to make the semis of either event?
 
#11
I don't like Zverev, so it's hard to be unbiased with him. But it seems obvious Felix and Tsitsipas have more variety, are less robotic, less predictable and just have better games than Zverev (incoming, "yeah, well, when did they win Masters or YEC?!") If Zverev doesn't make a run to at least the semis of the FO and Wimbledon, expect Ivan to leave him in a ditch. And who really expects Zverev to make the semis of either event?
Agreed on all. I even think Shapapolov has more raw talent, although in his case it is super raw and I am not sure he will ever get it close to together. He almost looks like another Kygrios, just with a better attitude.
 
#12
Zverev's peak performances usually coincide with meeting a player not capable of offering much resistance. Beating an injured Federer in the Montreal final, and Djokovic coughing and spluttering at the WTF. When the opponent is a quality player at their top, or more often now a competent player Zverev is expected to beat, the wheels tend to fall off.
 
#13
Maybe Zverev has always been very overrated? All credit to him for winning some Masters 1000's when others his age aren't able to cross that line. And genuinely big props for defeating Fed and then Novak to win the YEC.

I've seen Zverev practice and play live over the past 3 years at IW. He's seriously underwhelming in person and his serve (for his height) is just not the weapon it should be. To me, he's just a better version of Jerzy Janowicz in game, though obviously with hugely better results. He was just destroyed by 32 year old Fabio on Zverev's favorite surface for God's sake. Felix has more talent in his kneecap than Zverev. All his endless weightlifting in the gym is not going to substitute for raw talent. Fed has sticks for arms and 20 slams, maybe he needs to reflect on that?

The ladies must drool when watching this vid ;)

On paper Zverev serves big, powerful groundstrokes, solid mover and very capable of grinding out long rallies. His year is that of underachievement atm but he's got too much game for this to continue much longer. Being injured/ill earlier in this year is still affecting his form. Numerous double faults in each match indicates a player whose really lacking confidence overall.

Hopefully he's peaking for the majors.
 
#16
Yeah he is a strange player. Unpredictable, and his peak performances and good tournaments seem to come out of nowhere. Just never in a slam, that is the one safe bet.

He is such a pedestrian looking player, I am amazed he has even won so many Masters and other events, I find that even more amazing than how a player who has won so many of those can be so poor and such a non factor in slams. I watched him live in Montreal winning the Canada Masters by spanking an injured Federer in the final, and while that was one of his peak performances and he was extremely good that day and whole event (I saw 3 of his matches, including his easily beating Kygrios) and even there I didnt get the aww or wow factor of his game. It was just a very generic game produced very well there, but nothing that special or unique even at his best.
Visually, his game is extremely boring. But when it's all working, he does have a level that makes you wonder how he can possibly lose as much as he does. At his best he has a serve that rivals Federer and groundstrokes that can go toe-to-toe with Djokovic.

Obviously, he has plenty of deficiencies too (net game, movement, digging out slices). But more often than not, they don't get exploited. He loses because he beats himself.
 

Red Rick

Talk Tennis Guru
#18
Visually, his game is extremely boring. But when it's all working, he does have a level that makes you wonder how he can possibly lose as much as he does. At his best he has a serve that rivals Federer and groundstrokes that can go toe-to-toe with Djokovic.

Obviously, he has plenty of deficiencies too (net game, movement, digging out slices). But more often than not, they don't get exploited. He loses because he beats himself.
At his best his groundstrokes can go toe to toe with Djokovic when he's apeshit drunk
 
#19
Visually, his game is extremely boring. But when it's all working, he does have a level that makes you wonder how he can possibly lose as much as he does. At his best he has a serve that rivals Federer and groundstrokes that can go toe-to-toe with Djokovic.

Obviously, he has plenty of deficiencies too (net game, movement, digging out slices). But more often than not, they don't get exploited. He loses because he beats himself.
His groundstrokes are good, but not exactly Djokovic-tier. Unless Djokovic was injured or drunk.

Edit: looks like I echoed Red Rick's statement almost verbatim. great minds think alike I guess...
 
#21
His groundstrokes are good, but not exactly Djokovic-tier. Unless Djokovic was injured or drunk.

Edit: looks like I echoed Red Rick's statement almost verbatim. great minds think alike I guess...
Obviously, Novak's are better. But a lot of that has to do with his athleticism/stretching. In pure ball-striking sense, Zverev isn't that far off (again: only when he's at his absolute best).

My point is more that he's one of the only guys who can stand on the baseline and not get smothered by Novak. 99% of players can't hang with Djokovic from the baseline. Zverev can off of both wings. Most players these days only have a good forehand. But Sascha can actually win BH-to-BH battles with Novak, which is incredibly rare on tour.
 
#22
I am not a fan, but I hope he can turn it around. Right now his brain is toast and subsequently his game deteriorates when faced with any obstacle.

Needs to get his head right, work on his net game as well as quickness/movement. It's the lack of quickness/movement that most concerns me. If he can't improve in that dept., may not ever see his mindset improve.

Having said that, I still think he has a slam win in him down the road.
 
#23
He doesn’t have much variety in his game besides grinding it from the baseline. But it’s not even good grinding, it’s generic and boring and easy to attack if you’re good up at the net and have decent groundstrokes. He’s basically a poor mans Djokovic. With his height he needs to have a bigger serve and needs to play better at the net. Grinding just doesn’t suit his build.
 
#25
I am not a fan, but I hope he can turn it around. Right now his brain is toast and subsequently his game deteriorates when faced with any obstacle.

Needs to get his head right, work on his net game as well as quickness/movement. It's the lack of quickness/movement that most concerns me. If he can't improve in that dept., may not ever see his mindset improve.

Having said that, I still think he has a slam win in him down the road.
Valid points but at that height quickness/movement usually works against you.
 

bjk

Hall of Fame
#26
Most players improve backhand/lose forehand power as they age. Agassi started out forehand dominant and ended his career backhand dominant. Backhand-dominant players tend to peak early. Baghdatis and Safin are two examples. Zverev is another backhand dominant player who peaked early.
 
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#28
We've had a few players peak really young and then never be the same again. Tomic, Dolgopolov were hyped as the next big thing when they were ~20, but then they only declined. Is Zverev about to follow suit?

Not to say he's moving to the great land of Suomi yet, but his 2019 season is scarily reminiscent of Dimitrov's 2018. Since winning the WTF, he's completely lost the plot. A temporary blip in the radar or a premature burnout?
shouldn't the question be asking if the letsgoyelling ziraffe already hilled or mounded ? :unsure:
he sure is abyssing at the moment...

 

Red Rick

Talk Tennis Guru
#29
22 now.

Won't enter his prime for another 5 or 6 years? The prime of a tennis player starts between 22-24.
I think we need to distinguish between making big improvements that break top 10/top 5 and then subsequent smaller improvements that turn a mainstay in the 2nd week of Slams into Slam champions. The latter I think happens at like 25 at the latest?

All later bloomers are basically there by some sort of coincidence imo. Wawrinka should not be treated as a rule, but as an exception, and instead of overperforming like Zverev, he was an underachiever until he got it together.
 
#30
Too early to tell. Ivan Lendl was branded a loser in his first 3-4 years on tour, at a time when players were breaking through earlier than now.

If, by age 25, he hasn't reached a couple of Slams finals, I'll join the sceptics. Until then...
 

mike danny

Talk Tennis Guru
#33
I think we need to distinguish between making big improvements that break top 10/top 5 and then subsequent smaller improvements that turn a mainstay in the 2nd week of Slams into Slam champions. The latter I think happens at like 25 at the latest?

All later bloomers are basically there by some sort of coincidence imo. Wawrinka should not be treated as a rule, but as an exception, and instead of overperforming like Zverev, he was an underachiever until he got it together.
Majority of the notable players peaked and reached their peimes at 22-24.
 

TnsGuru

Professional
#39
Lendl was able to take Murray's FH and make it more offensive but to me Sascha likes to hang back with his FH and grind with it too much. I remember during the Laver cup Federer was giving him tips on how to play more offensive by moving up closer to the baseline at times but he was just more or less not listening to what he had to say.

I hear commentator on tv say the same thing about how he needs to quit playing so far back but he is going to have to decide if he wants to start winning slams or just be another top ten guy who gets close but never wins one.
 
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#40
We've had a few players peak really young and then never be the same again. Tomic, Dolgopolov were hyped as the next big thing when they were ~20, but then they only declined. Is Zverev about to follow suit?

Not to say he's moving to the great land of Suomi yet, but his 2019 season is scarily reminiscent of Dimitrov's 2018. Since winning the WTF, he's completely lost the plot. A temporary blip in the radar or a premature burnout?
If you have a look at Zverev, he has a very steady pattern of improvement each year. And there has consistently been a "slow" start to the year. This year he had illness to deal with to add to that. At this stage, there really is nothing to suggest that he won't continue the standard level of improvement he has made each year.

There is still so much upside to his game. Granted, he has a lot of points to defend on clay from last year, but don't be surprised if he ends this swing with yet another big clay m1000 victory, and possibly a m1000 victory on hardcourt.

Also think a big run at a major is a distinct possibility. Maybe a SF at USO.

Too early to jump at shadows, we have only PLAYED Q1 of the season.

He certainly hasn't peaked but I think everyone would agree he overachieved massively winning the WTF at such a young age last year.
 
#41
Maybe Zverev has always been very overrated? All credit to him for winning some Masters 1000's when others his age aren't able to cross that line. And genuinely big props for defeating Fed and then Novak to win the YEC.

I've seen Zverev practice and play live over the past 3 years at IW. He's seriously underwhelming in person and his serve (for his height) is just not the weapon it should be. To me, he's just a better version of Jerzy Janowicz in game, though obviously with hugely better results. He was just destroyed by 32 year old Fabio on Zverev's favorite surface for God's sake. Felix has more talent in his kneecap than Zverev. All his endless weightlifting in the gym is not going to substitute for raw talent. Fed has sticks for arms and 20 slams, maybe he needs to reflect on that?

...but dead lifts are for legs. Most of the stuff he does in gyms are for his lower body, his arms are skinny. Nadal has huge arms but didn't not hinder his game.

Zverev might not be the most talented but he's been walking the walk and talking the talk unlike other his peers. I can agree his game isn't very exciting but I respect him for stepping up and making best of his talents.
 
#43
He certainly hasn't peaked but I think everyone would agree he overachieved massively winning the WTF at such a young age last year.
Maybe it’s an unpopular opinion because some people are crazy about the WTF, but I think WTF is easier to win (especially for someone like Zverev) than anything else on a high level. This counts for players who have no problem to qualify, because it is easier to beat 7 other competitors than a full draw at a Masters or even at some 500s.

On top of that Zverev is a guy who can lose to anyone any day, so he doesn’t benefit that much from playing against "lesser" competition in terms of ranking. Also he could lose a match at the WTF and still win in the end. That's another important factor for an inconsistant player.
 
#44
Obviously, Novak's are better. But a lot of that has to do with his athleticism/stretching. In pure ball-striking sense, Zverev isn't that far off (again: only when he's at his absolute best).

My point is more that he's one of the only guys who can stand on the baseline and not get smothered by Novak. 99% of players can't hang with Djokovic from the baseline. Zverev can off of both wings. Most players these days only have a good forehand. But Sascha can actually win BH-to-BH battles with Novak, which is incredibly rare on tour.
Well, that's if he stands on the baseline rather than 10 feet away. His ability to hit on the rise is very limited and his volleying is poor, has been. His serve is not a weakness but also not the overwhelming weapon it can be given his height. Consider that Cilic or Delpo with an all round better skill set and more heart and fight have still only managed a slam each. The case for Zverev winning loads of slams already assumes a barren field with the Big Four gone. But maybe it won't work out that way and he may struggle even against just his peers or somewhat younger players like Felix.
 
#45
Maybe it’s an unpopular opinion because some people are crazy about the WTF, but I think WTF is easier to win (especially for someone like Zverev) than anything else on a high level. This counts for players who have no problem to qualify, because it is easier to beat 7 other competitors than a full draw at a Masters or even at some 500s.

On top of that Zverev is a guy who can lose to anyone any day, so he doesn’t benefit that much from playing against "lesser" competition in terms of ranking. Also he could lose a match at the WTF and still win in the end. That's another important factor for an inconsistant player.
Very good points. WTF was a huge win, but you're right about WTF. It was a headline grabbing victory, but in a lot of ways his earlier M1000 breakthroughs were far tougher victories.
 
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