Zverev well-placed for Aust Open charge

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  • Alexander Zverev
    Alexander Zverev
    German tennis player
  • Novak Djokovic
    Novak Djokovic
    Serbian tennis player

Alexander Zverev has been in this position before.

But, on the back of his ATP Finals success, he says he's better placed to capitalise on it than he was three years ago.

The German world No.3 will headline his country's charge at the ATP Cup, due to open his campaign against Great Britain's Cameron Norrie on Sunday night.

Beyond that lies perhaps his best shot yet at a maiden major title, with Roger Federer a definite non-starter and fellow 20-time grand slam winner Novak Djokovic in doubt.

The nine-time Australian Open champion is yet to arrive in Australia and so-far unwilling to disclose his vaccination status.

Under government and tournament rules, the Serbian star needs to be vaccinated or be granted a medical exemption to play.

Rafael Nadal, another with 20 titles under his belt, is in Melbourne but has only recently recovered from COVID-19.

Their participation and form may be irrelevant though, with Zverev adamant that the tide has already turned.

"The first six months of this season, Novak has dominated tennis," Zverev said.

"He's won all three grand slams, won every single big title there is.

"But in the last six months of the season, I think the titles were a bit more split between Novak, Daniil (Medvedev), and myself."

Zverev beat Djokovic en route to gold at the Tokyo Olympics and then ended the year by winning the ATP Finals title for the second time.

World No.2 Medvedev beat Djokovic in the US Open final, while Zverev also reached two grand slam semis this year.

Zverev first rose to a career-high No.3 in 2017 and has since idled between there and No.7.

"I won the finals in 2018 and had a really bad 2019, so I hope I can change that," Zverev said.

"I didn't know how to handle big titles maybe as well.

"I was 21 years old going into the 2019 season; it was my first very big title at the ATP Finals in 2018.

"I do feel I'm a little bit of a different player but also I'm a different person.

"I know how to handle maybe the media a little bit better, I know how to handle pressure maybe a tiny bit better, as well."

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