The 6-ft-6, 21-year-old played out of his skin to become the youngest victor of the year-end championships since Djokovic himself in 2008, spoiling what had been a stellar year for the Serb, who had won 35 of his past 37 matches, including titles at Wimbledon and the US Open to lift his tally of majors to 14 in a remarkable comeback campaign.
Yesterday, in the semi final of the ATP Finals, Alexander Zverev was left distraught after fans inside the O2 Arena started booing him following his win over favorite Roger Federer. We see it in other sports all the time, but in tennis it's rare.
"But, you know, I hope the crowd and the people who were booing maybe look at what actually happened, maybe just realise that I've maybe not done anything wrong".
Shortly afterwards Djokovic revealed he had undergone right elbow surgery but on his return he suffered back-to-back early exits at Indian Wells and the Miami Open, leaving him searching for answers.
At the presentation afterwards this young man with flowing locks from Hamburg - he looks like a slightly rangier version of Bjorn Borg - banged on like an Oscar victor, his verbal diarrhoea albeit very un-Borg like.
"He obviously analysed the match I played with him [Djokovic] a few days ago", said Zverev, who had suffered a 6-4, 6-1 defeat during the round-robin stage. Tonight I just wanted to enjoy being out there'.
He has played consistent tennis throughout the year and will now finish it as number four in the world.
I wasn't entirely convinced that Djokovic should be as short-priced as he was, pre-tournament, but the Serb hasn't dropped a set in the entire event, and it is understandable why he has such market support.
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'There's a lot of similarities in terms of trajectory in terms of our careers.,' observed Djokovic later. "Hopefully he (Zverev) can surpass me". He comes from a really nice family.
There were then gasps of despair from the Federer diehards when their man got a little too delicate with an attempted drop volley at 4-5 to hand Zverev two match points.
"I apologized to Roger at the net and he said 'it's okay it's in the rules'".
Zverev took his opportunity in emphatic fashion - blasting down three consecutive aces then winning the set when another Djokovic forehand flew long.
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Zverev served an ace before going on to close out the match moments later.
Zverev stopped playing during a rally with Federer leading 4-3 in the second-set tie-break after the ballboy's error, forcing the point to be replayed. But he immediately got ahead again, party helped by a terrible attempted backhand drop shot from the Serb that landed limply in the net.
Meanwhile, Djokovic booked his place in the ATP Finals final by comfortably beating Kevin Anderson in straight sets.
He will end the year number one with Nadal two and Federer at three.
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