Several players in great shape to challenge Novak at US Open: Zverev

Germany’s Alexander Zverev said after winning the Western & Southern Open title here that his next target would be the US Open starting later this month, and though Novak Djokovic would be the favourite, there are many who would be in “great shape” to challenge the world No. 1 Serb.

Zverev defeated Russia’s Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-3 here on Sunday to lift his fifth ATP Masters 1000 title and become the first German champion in Cincinnati since Boris Becker in 1985.

“The US Open is a week that everybody is looking forward to. I think Novak [Djokovic] will be back. He’s obviously going to be the favourite, as well. But I think other guys are going to be in great shape,” Zverev told on Monday.

“I’m looking forward to the week. Let’s see how it goes. But there is still one week to go. I still have a lot of work ahead of me. I have to find my rhythm in New York, as well.”

Zverev is riding on a high, as he has not just won his fifth ATP Masters 1000 trophy to add to the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, but he is also on an 11-match winning streak.

The victory over Rublev here means he has not lost a match since his fourth-round exit at Wimbledon seven weeks ago and ensures he will arrive in Flushing Meadows as one of the favourites to go one better than he did a year ago in a five-set defeat to Dominic Thiem in the final.

Zverev ended Djokovic’s bid for the Golden Grand Slam this season on his way to Olympic gold. The Serbian has not played an event since Tokyo, but Zverev holds no doubt he will still be the man to beat at the US Open.

“I do think that he’s still the favourite. I do think he’s going to be playing incredible tennis there,” Zverev said. “He’s going to be fresh, and I think there is also other guys that are in very good form. I think Rublev is in very good form, Medvedev, Tsitsipas, all those guys are playing great tennis.

“It’s definitely going to be an interesting US Open. But I’m also looking forward to it, because I know where I stand, I know how I’m playing, and I hope I can continue the work and hopefully play even better in New York.

On the future players in men’s tennis, Zverev said: “I mean, we have to see. The other guys are still there (Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Rublev), right? I mean, Novak is still world No. 1. Let’s not forget that. Rafa is still top 10, as well. They are still there. I think… they’re going to come back even stronger,” Zverev said.

“But we’ll see. I think tennis is in a good spot, I would say, because the other guys are still there. Novak is still at the top of his game, but the young guys all look quite strong. It’s going to be interesting to see who will do what in the next few years.”