By Ros Satar, at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals
- Alexander Zverev  v Marin Cilic 
- H2H: Zverev leads 5-1
LONDON, UK – After blasting the practice of getting towels and roaming around London without socks, it is time for Alexander Zverev to start his Nitto ATP World Tour Finals campaign, against Marin Cilic.
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Alexander Zverev  v Marin Cilic  | H2H: Zverev leads 5-1
Alexander Zverev was within a whisker of making the semi-finals on his debut here last year, before Losing a break advantage in the final decider of the last round robin match. He arrives having secured the services of Ivan Lendl earlier this year as his coach.
It is perhaps a little too soon to see the impact of Lendl on his new charge, but after slamming Next Gen winner Stefanos Tsitsipas for perhaps relying on the services of ball boys and girls too much, he looks ready to deliver a statement this year at the World Tour Finals.
He said in the pre-tournament press conference: “You guys should ask Next Gen guys who actually use the towel. Frances Tiafoe takes it basically every point. Tsitsipas takes it after an ace or double fault as well.
“I heard Tsitsipas say it’s the ball boys’ job but it’s the ball boys’ job to give you balls – that’s what I see the ball boys as. I think you should also prevent players from taking the towel after every single serve and every mishit return – sometimes it does get a little bit ridiculous in my eyes.
“So maybe it will prevent it from that and people will only use it for when they’re really sweating a lot. Sometimes it’s more a superstition than an actual use of the towel.”
Whilst it would be interesting to get Tsitsipas’ take on Zverev’s fashion statement of roaming around London with no socks, the German’s fashion sense did not impress Marin Cilic who has yet to even get past the group stages in his last three attempts.
It is not the best start for the Croatian, whose only tour win against Zverev was back when the German was still very much finding his feet on the tour. Success has been solid for Zverev in a comparatively short space of time, although Cilic has been more of a challenger at the Slams than Zverev has managed, much to the chagrin of onlookers in Germany who expect him to win a Slam soon.
Obviously, both can count on free points behind their serve, and Cilic’s second second serve has often proved efficient as well. However, he has never been able to find his groove here, and he does have elements of his game breakdown when he is put under pressure.
Zverev can also count on both serves and perhaps has the march on Cilic at being a little more nimble around the court and more effective at the net.
Prediction: Zverev in three sets.
Zverev & Cilic are scheduled not before 2pm.
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