Alexander Zverev has scored the biggest win of his career. He has become the first German man to win an Olympics tennis singles gold medal, and he is only the second German, period, to win an Olympic tennis singles gold medal.
"It's much bigger than anything else in sport, especially tennis," Zverev said. "Yes, I won the London Masters, but for me a gold medal is invaluable."
The 24-year-old has joined legendary Stefanie Graf with that honour; she won the gold medal in 1988 the first-year tennis returned as a full medal sport and that year she also won the “Golden Slam” and remains the only player to achieve that.
At the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo, Zverev was awesome from start to finish in the final as he took one hour 19 minutes to defeat Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-1. This was only the second time that a German and a Russian squared off in the men’s gold medal match with the last time being at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 and on that occasion Russia claimed the top prize when Yevgeny Kafelnikov defeated Tommy Haas.
Zverev was on the attack from the start of the final. He broke serve in the third game and held on to that advantage with very precise tennis as he out rallied Khachanov from the back of the court. He proved to be even more dominant in the second set when he swept through the first five games before Khachanov was on the board.
Khachanov tried to keep himself in touch, but the German’s power was not giving up any opportunities. It was Zverev’s third win from five matches with Khachanov.
Zverev has been in solid form most of the event. His semi-final win over Novak Djokovic was a brilliant effort as he came back from a set and a break down to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-1, at one stage he reeled off eight consecutive games. Khachanov meanwhile defeated Pablo Carreno Busta in the semis 6-3, 6-3.
It had been a remarkable tournament for the Spaniard. He had defeated world No.2 Daniil Medvedev and then in the bronze medal play off he stunned Djokovic, the world No.1 6-4, 6-7, 6-3.
The doubles gold medal match was an all-Croat affair with Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic defeating Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig 6-4, 3-6, 10/6. The bronze medal went to New Zealanders Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus.