By Ros Satar, at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals

  • Novak Djokovic [1] def. Alexander Zverev [3] 6-4, 6-1
  • Urges patience for the chasing pack of young talent to deliver
LONDON, UK – Novak Djokovic overcame sniffles and a spirited start from Alexander Zverev to coast to a 2-0 lead in the group stages.


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Novak Djokovic [1] def. Alexander Zverev [3] 6-4, 6-1

Alexander Zverev in the first round-robin at the ATP World Tour Finals 2018, London

Alexander Zverev in the first round-robin at the ATP World Tour Finals 2018, London | (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)

There were high hopes that this would be the match that would deliver the kind of intrigue a season-ending finale should. Certainly, at the start of the winners’ clash between World No, 1 Novak Djokovic and pretender to the throne Alexander Zverev, and the start did not disappoint.

It was maybe the first match so far that looked as though it was going to be a closer contest. The pair gave each other no quarter at the start of the match and for just a fleeting moment it looked as if Zverev would strike first – the first to bring up break points against Djokovic, who was spending his changeovers sniffing into tissues – a hangover from the cold that was troubling him in Paris.

Zverev could not convert, and in the end a double-fault sealed his fate as Djokovic wrapped up the first set with a break. From that point though and disappointingly for Zverev, thigs really faded away for him rapidly. Two breaks in succession left Djokovic clear to wrap up a straight sets win – so far, no match has gone the distance.

So far, the kids are far from alright! The 30-somethings have been in total command, but Djokovic urged people to have a little patience on the chasing pack. The ‘Lost Boys’ generation is all but forgotten and all eyes are now on the chasing pack of the ‘Next generation’.

Djokovic said: “I know you guys might be a little bit rough on them. I think there is a lot of quality in the new generation. Zverev is obviously the leader of that next generation. He has proven himself, established himself as a top player.

“He has won many Masters 1000 events already, I think three in his career, which is quite impressive. You have to give him credit for that, qualifying for World Tour Finals two years in a row.

“Then you have players like [Karen] Khachanov, of course, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, [Borna] Coric. I think tennis is in good hands. At the same time I think us older guys, we’re still obviously working hard and working smart and trying to get the most out of what we have in ourselves left.

“How long that’s going to go for, we don’t know. Obviously, experience plays an important role in these kind of matches, knowing how to kind of approach, play, behave in certain moments, how to deal and cope with pressure. So obviously that’s on our side.”

Djokovic will face Marin Cilic in the final round-robin stage match on Friday.

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