Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Murray's Old Team Are in Town to Give Zverev a Capital Boost

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Murray's Old Team Are in Town to Give Zverev a Capital Boost

Article excerpt

Byline: tennis Matt Majendie

ANDY MURRAY may be missing from the ATP Finals at the O2 from Sunday, but there are echoes of Murray in Sascha Zverev's box for the coming week. Ivan Lendl, who coached the Scot at the time of his first Grand Slam success in New York and first Wimbledon win a year later, will accompany the German, along with Jez Green, for a long time the man behind Murray's punishing fitness regime.

Zverev laughs at the suggestion he is copying Murray but knows there are worse career paths to follow.

"Obviously, I'm not trying to rebuild Andy or anyone else's thing," he said. "It's just both Ivan and Jez are great people at what they do, and they've done great things with Andy."

There are parallels between Zverev and both Murray and Lendl, the latter pairing taking until 24-25 to make their Grand Slam breakthrough.

At 21, Zverev has time on his side, but just one Grand Slam quarter-final appearance at this year's French Open before injury does not do justice to the talents of a player tipped to take over from the 'big four'.

He has grown accustomed to the tag, but countered: "I try not to think about it as I don't think there's a next big thing. I just want to be the best I can be, and work hard for the future."

When he began in the professional ranks, he was haunted by pre-match nerves against the big four, now he relishes such opportunities.

"It's not nerves any more, it's just I enjoy playing the very best," he said. "Their results show they're still the best, but that's what you want to face."

He looks likely to face just that at the O2 and is seen as the best-placed to upset Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

Of that possibility, he said: "Of course, I'm coming here to win. It's a great tournament, with a great atmosphere. It's really not like anything else, as you play against a top-eight player in your first match. …

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