Tennis-Zverev sets sights on best season after strong finish in 2021

Tennis - ATP Finals - Pala Alpitour, Turin, Italy - November 21, 2021 Germany
Tennis - ATP Finals - Pala Alpitour, Turin, Italy - November 21, 2021 Germany's Alexander Zverev celebrates winning his final match against Russia's Daniil Medvedev REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

SYDNEY (Reuters) - German Alexander Zverev said he has matured enough to be able to build on his success and the world number three hopes to use the momentum from his strong finish in 2021 as a springboard for the best season of his career.

Zverev won six titles this year, including the Olympic gold in Tokyo and two Masters titles in Madrid and Cincinnati, capping a memorable season by clinching his second ATP Finals trophy last month in Turin.

The 24-year-old will begin his 2022 season in Sydney where he will lead Germany's campaign in the ATP Cup.

"I won the finals in 2018 and had a really bad 2019. I hope I can change that," Zverev told reporters. "I hope I can do it differently. I was a lot younger back then. I didn't know how to handle big titles maybe as well.

"I was 21-years-old going into the 2019 season. I do feel I'm a little bit of a different player but also I'm a different person, I think. I've had a lot more experience on the court, I had a lot more experience outside the court.

"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.

"After the Olympics I continued to play great tennis. I hope I can still use that momentum going into 2022, and hopefully have the best season of my career so far."

Germany are in Group C of the 16-team event and will open their campaign against Britain on Sunday with Zverev taking on world number 12 Cameron Norrie in the second singles tie. Canada and the Unites States are the group's other teams.

With Zverev's success in 2021 and Daniil Medvedev defeating top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open final, the younger generation look poised to give the 'old guard' a run for their money in 2022 and the German predicted an exciting year ahead for the sport.

"The first six months of this season, Novak has dominated tennis. In the last six months of the season, I think the titles were a bit more split. They were split between Novak, Daniil, and myself," he said.

"I'm looking forward to the beginning of the season, looking forward to the season in general."

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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