Cape Town – Novak Djokovic says Alexander Zverev has the ability to surpass his own achievements in the game, after the young German defeated him to win the ATP Finals title on Sunday.
Zverev secured a surprisingly convincing 6-4, 6-3 victory over world No 1 Djokovic in Sunday’s final, having also beaten Roger Federer in straight sets in the semi-final.
The 21-year-old became the youngest winner of the ATP World Tour’s season finale since Djokovic achieved the feat in 2008, and the significance of the achievement is not lost on the top-ranked Serb.
“There’s a lot of similarities in terms of trajectory of professional tennis, in our careers,” 14-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic said.
“Hopefully he can surpass me. I sincerely wish him that. He seems like someone that is very dedicated. Without a doubt, he’s a really nice person, someone that gets along very well with everyone.
“He deserves everything he gets so far. There’s a lot of time ahead of him. I wish him to stay healthy and obviously win a lot of titles.”
Asked if Zverev’s performance meant he was likely to go on and win a Grand Slam, Djokovic said: “We knew that before already, so it doesn’t make any difference tonight.
“Of course, he won a huge tournament, but he always had quality to win a Slam.
“There’s no doubt he will be one of the favourites at every Slam.”
Reflecting on his own incredible season, which saw him return to the top of the world rankings after victories at Wimbledon and the US Open, Djokovic said he had to be extremely happy with his own performances, despite not quite closing the deal in London.
“Health-wise I haven’t been really perfect in the last three, four weeks. That took a lot out of me,” Djokovic added.
“But at the same time I played finals of (Paris Masters) and here. I have to be happy with that result. Of course, finishing the year as No 1, that was the goal coming into the indoor season. I managed to achieve that.
“Overall it was a phenomenal season that I have to be definitely very proud of.”