Alexander Zverev
Germany’s Alexander Zverev in action during his group stage match against Croatia’s Marin Cilic at The O2, London, on Monday. Image Credit: Reuters

London: Don’t be too surprised if you bump onto Alexander Zverev, tennis’ latest sensation, in Dubai during the course of next week.

Known for his on-court flair and easygoing lifestyle and an unkempt mop of hair, the 21-year-old German is one of the few who could be trusted with carrying forward the baton from the current crop of tennis legends.

Nicknamed ‘Sascha’, this 21-year old prodigy is coached by his father Alexander Zverev Sr. He began playing at the age of five, and in 2013 at the age of 16, was crowned ITF’s world junior tennis champion, a title previously held by some of the greatest names in the world of tennis.

In 2014, Zverev emerged victorious in his first ATP Challenger tournament, the Sparkassen Open in Braunshweig and two weeks later, was invited to play in the Hamburg ATP 500 event. He made headlines there — beating three top-20 players and reaching the semi-finals where he lost to David Ferrer, a top-five ranked player then.

Zverev has featured at the annual Dubai Tennis Championships just once — in 2015 — when he made a first round exit against Marcel Ilhan. Since then, Zverev has continued progressing in his career. In May last year, Zverev entered the ATP top-10 for the first time after defeating Novak Djokovic in the final of the 2017 Italian Open, thus also winning his first-ever Masters 1000 crown.

The German is already looking forward to a life after this tournament as he’s got a holiday planned in the Maldives with a brief stopover in Dubai. “I’m going there [Dubai] after London. I’m going to Dubai for five days and then the Maldives for vacation,” Zverev told Gulf News.

In all likelihood, the German youngster may indulge in some shopping while in Dubai next week — and looking for some gold could well be on his agenda. Zverev now sports a Richard Mille watch on his wrist. For this right-handed player who is extremely powerful in his game while being comfortable on any surface, the RM 27-01 is the ideal timepiece as its carbon nanotube case weighs just 18.83 grams.

In addition, the German has at least three gold chains around his neck. “I mean, I’ve had those chains since I was a little kid and I’m never taking them off. They have a meaning for me ... that’s why I wear them,” Zverev said.

The German, currently the youngest player in the ATP Top-10, has already put himself in contention for a spot in the semi-final in ATP Finals following his win against Marin Cilic on Monday. He was scheduled to be in action against Novak Djokovic later on Wednesday — with a win securing him a place in the knockouts.

Even if he loses to the world No. 1, Zverev could advance following his last group match against American John Isner on Friday.