Zverev On German Team Dynamics & Stich Influence
Alexander Zverev finished his 2021 season in style by winning his second Nitto ATP Finals crown in Turin and the World No. 3 has continued his momentum into the new year, earning ATP Cup victories against Cameron Norrie and Taylor Fritz for Team Germany this week in Sydney.
Ahead of his final Group C match at the 16-team event, the 24-year-old caught up with ATPTour.com to discuss his friendship with teammate Kevin Krawietz, the role of Boris Becker and Michael Stich on his development and more.
If you could take one shot from any member of your team and add it to your game what would it be?
Maybe I would take someone’s volleys. Kevin’s volleys maybe. They’re just better than mine, in general (laughs).
Who on the team would most likely be late for practice?
Me. Easily. If it’s important, 100 per cent [I would be on time]. If it’s not important, maybe 10 per cent.
What are three things you love about Germany?
Firstly, it’s the country I grew up in and it’s the country that raised me. It’s my home. That’s the first thing I love about Germany. Also German football, and I think the German nature is quite spectacular as well. I’m a Hamburg guy, so for me the lakes and rivers in Hamburg [are the best].
What’s your favourite football team in Germany?
I have two. Hamburg and Bayern Munich.
Tell me a little bit about the personalities on the team.
I think Yannick [Hanfmann] is maybe the one who is quietest out of all of us. He’s a very good guy, he’s somebody that gets along with everybody well, one of the nicest guys on Tour. Kevin [Krawietz] is the one that I’m probably best friends with, because we have quite a funny and similar personality. We joke around quite a lot and do a lot of stupid things.
Tim [Puetz] is a little bit ‘I know better’ on every subject, but he is also probably the smartest one out of all of us. He did go to college, so in that regard he’s very educated. But he also always has to have the last word on everything. And Struffi… Struffi is just in general a nice guy. I think nobody on Tour has anything bad to say about Struffi. You can’t say anything bad about him.
What’s your favourite Kevin mannerism?
His humour. His humour is not for everyone, I would say!
What do you like about the team competition and being with the guys?
Team competitions in tennis are very rare. I think it’s quite a lot of fun to be around those guys and to have the same goal as them, be in the same group and try to achieve the same things.
Which German player did you look up to the most, and why?
I think the obvious answer would be Boris Becker, and maybe Michael Stich, too. Michael Stich helped me a lot at the beginning of my career, with wild cards in Hamburg, so he helped me a little bit to break through. But in Germany, I think Boris, and Steffi Graf as well, were the two players who were always at the top of everything.
What do you remember about your first club in Germany?
It’s still the same club that I would be in now. It’s in Hamburg. It’s the club where I basically started playing tennis, and my whole life was spent there. I went back there after the Olympics with the gold medal. It’s quite special there. It’s called UHC. Uhlenhorster Hockey-Club. So it’s actually a massive hockey club. We won the Champions League a few times in Europe. It’s a bigger hockey club than tennis club, but it also has tennis.
What is your favourite German food?
It’s not as easy as if you were to ask Italians or someone like that. But I like the German sausages. I’m a big fan of the sausages.
To start off the year with a team competition is great, to have the team atmosphere which we don’t have a lot in tennis is always quite fun.