© Ella Ling/ATP Tour

Alexander Zverev finishes Group Tokyo 1970 play with a 1-2 record following his loss against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

Zverev: 'A Lot To Build On Next Year'

German falls short of the semi-finals in London

Alexander Zverev’s 2020 season came to an end on Friday when he lost against Novak Djokovic at the Nitto ATP Finals. The World No. 7 needed to beat the Serbian to reach the semi-finals, which would have eliminated the World No. 1.

Instead, the 2018 champion will be left to chase a second title at the year-end championships next season.

“It was a great year. Unfortunately I lost a lot of big matches,” Zverev said. “I lost [in the] semi-finals in Australia, which I could have won. Lost the final of the US Open which I should have won, kind of. Finals in Bercy. This match here. So a lot of tough matches, a lot of tough moments, but a good year for me. A lot to build on for next year.”

The German only won one set in three matches at the ATP Cup to start the season. But he quickly found his rhythm, reaching his first Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open and his maiden major championship match at the US Open.

Although his defeat at Flushing Meadows still stings — Zverev let slip a two-set lead against Dominic Thiem — the 23-year-old is happy he was able to find good enough form this year to earn those opportunities.

“You want to put yourself in those positions every time. The US Open match obviously still hurts, but all the other ones, it's great that I'm playing at this level again,” Zverev said. “If it would be a normal [FedEx ATP] Ranking, a normal year, I think I would be much higher up the Rankings than I am now. Still, it was a good year and there is a lot to build on for next year.”

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Zverev’s elimination from the season finale didn’t come because he played poorly. Djokovic was simply too good on Friday. The 17-time Grand Slam champion and five-time Nitto ATP Finals titlist won all 11 of his service games.

“Novak served incredibly well, I thought, today. I had to go very far back to return his serve. It was very difficult for me,” Zverev said. “I started playing really well actually in the second set, so a few points decided the set. Yeah, credit to him. He's doing [an] incredible job.”

Zverev, who won his 12th and 13th titles this year in Cologne, finishes his season with a 28-11 record and a fourth consecutive year-end Top 10 finish in the FedEx ATP Rankings.