Over the last year or two, Alexander Zverev has earned a reputation as a nearly man when it comes to tennis’ four Grand Slam tournaments. The 24-year-old German is never far from the favourites in the tennis betting prior to the major competitions. However, despite his best efforts, he is yet to get his hands on one of the Slams.
It’s not for the want of trying. In 2018, he reached his first major quarter-final at the French Open, losing to Dominic Thiem at Roland-Garros. But he ended the year with a huge victory in the ATP Finals — beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets at the O2 Arena in London.
Another run to the last eight of the French Open in 2019 was bettered last season, as he reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open before he found himself in the final of the US Open — where he blew a two-set lead to gift Thiem his first Grand Slam triumph at Flushing Meadows in New York.
Currently ranked No. 5 in the world, Zverev has been prominent on the Grand Slam scene again this season. He reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne before suffering defeat in the semi-finals of the French Open. A fourth-round exit at Wimbledon would have been a bitter pill to swallow for the 24-year-old, but he has bounced back well — winning a gold medal in the men’s singles tennis tournament at the Tokyo Olympics.
With the US Open getting underway later this month, that gold medal triumph is the kind of victory that could spur the German onto his Grand Slam win. Zverev was already being touted in the tennis betting tips as one of the contenders to stop an historic Calendar Slam from Djokovic, and with a victory over the Serbian in the semi-finals of the Olympics, he will surely be well backed ahead of the hard-court tournament.
Of course, this year’s field is going to be back to full strength. Rafael Nadal, who has won two of the last four renewals of the US Open, was absent from last year’s tournament due to covid-related reasons, whilst Roger Federer will return after his lengthy injury woes.
Then there is the defending champion Thiem, who Zverev has just a 27% strike rate against. The Austrian has failed to really kick on this year, and with early exits at both the Australian Open and French Open, before missing Wimbledon, the 27-year-old will be hoping to end his year on a high, and what better way than defending his US Open crown?
Thiem even withdrew from the Olympics to focus solely on his title defence, and that could really work in his favour, as he will be a lot fresher than his counterparts who did compete in the gruelling heat and tough schedule out in Tokyo.
Djokovic needs no introduction. He is heading to Flushing Meadows as a wounded animal, and he should be feared as he looks to bounce back after his chances of landing men’s tennis’ first Golden Slam evaporated into thin air, as Zverev knocked him out in the last four.
However, after losing the bronze medal match in straight sets to Pablo Carreño Busta, the 34-year-old, who has won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon already this year, admitted that he is carrying multiple injuries, and that could affect his chances at Flushing Meadows.
It feels like it’s just a matter of time before Zverev lifts his first Grand Slam title, and there’s no doubt that he will be filled with confidence ahead of the US Open. Like any Slam, it will be no easy feat to be crowned the winner at Flushing Meadows, but after winning Olympic gold, now is the perfect time for the 24-year-old to push on and break that duck!