At only 19 years old, Alexander Zverev is one of the youngest players in the top 100, and he's already climbed to number 28 in the rankings; in January, he was number 83. Although he has been a pro since 2013, this Wimbledon will be only his fifth slam event participated in (not including his early exits in qualifying rounds). Dominic Thiem had his breakout tournament in Roland Garros earlier this year, so it would be fitting that Zverev is next in line to make a splash at a slam.
Notable results to date
Zverev's first big splash of 2016 came when he had multiple match points against Rafael Nadal in the Round of 16 at Indian Wells. While the young German couldn't finish off the legendary Spaniard, he was able to pull out victories against a handful of top-20 players, Marin Cilic, Gilles Simon (twice), and David Goffin.
While those wins helped the world number 28 get some recognition, it wasn't until the Open de Nice Cote d'Azur in Nice, France that Zverev made it to the finals of a Masters event. Despite it only being a Masters 250 event, it was a step in the right direction, that is, until he was pasted by fellow-rising-star Thiem, 4-6, 6-3, 0-6.
Even though that final ended on a bagel, it took Zverev just four weeks to find himself another chance on a different surface.
Best grass results leading to Wimbledon
Different surface, same result. In the Gerry Weber Open in his home country, Zverev met countryman Florian Meyer in the final. Prior to that showdown, the young German defeated one of the greatest grass court players ever in Roger Federer, 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3. Meyer, who was having the tournament of his life, proved to be too much for the 19-year-old and won the final, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.
Nonetheless, making the final of a grass court event gives Zverev some momentum and championship experience heading into Wimbledon.
Best result in Wimbledon
The 2015 Wimbledon marked Zverev's inaugural tournament on the world's most famous lawns. It was also the first major that he didn't have to qualify for. While he won his first match against Teymuraz Gabashvili in a five-set thriller, the German youngster received an early exit in the second round by American Denis Kudla, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-4.
Zverev later admitted that the five-setter wore him out and that he needed to be more fit in the future.
How Zverev's game translates to the surface
Equipped with an improved fitness, Zverev can now move his 6'6" frame with the best. That will be exceptionally important as grass favors those who move--more specifically, those who move forward. His serve and strokes are also improving as his body matures and adds muscle.
And he can do this.
Similar to Nick Kyrgios, it is imperative that Zverev keeps a level head. He has shown star potential at times; but when things swing out of his favor (pun not intended), those times are often marred by racket throwing and a variety of outbursts. One would hope that those displays can be kept at bay long enough for the future star to shine on the prestigious lawns of Wimbledon.