Thursday, May 26

Mutua Madrid Open 2021: A ‘sticks’, Zverev reigns in Madrid | sports

Pim, pum, pum! Welcome to the tennis of today, tomorrow. Slamming everywhere, balls at breakneck speed, arms spouting fire. Two, three, four strokes, why else? Why rally? There are two very long youngsters, 1.98 one and 1.96 the other; they are aggressive, they break the ball with every shot and they don’t want any trouble, so they abbreviate and the games follow one another at a monotonous, robotic pace, so overwhelmingly flat that the Madrid final is translated into a simple heads or tails, stick here and stick There, from blow to blow until the law of the strongest says that this time the champion is Alexander Zverev: 6-7 (8), 6-4 and 6-3 to Matteo Berrettini, after 2h 40m on the plain. The longest three-set final of the tournament, over Federer-Berdych in 2012 (2h 38m).

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It is the new tennis, the one that is already here and has come to stay. There were Edberg’s class, McEnroe’s daring, Agassi’s virtuosity. The brave were left there. Federer fades slowly, heading for 40. They are the new canons: youth, height, lever, power. The Next Gen, They call it. A new single-registration generation for which, fortunately, there are some exceptions that stand out, such as Alcaraz, Musetti, Shapovalov. Few more, but there is still hope. In any case, force already rules, the demolition, that modern prototype of a gigantic adolescent who ends up becoming a machine to shoot balls.

There is a shortage of doll, creativity to dropper. Shots at 230 kilometers per hour. It rains on the outside of the Magic Box and the projectiles inside. The closed deck multiplies the loudness of the rackets and also of the applause – around 4,000 attendees on an afternoon in autumn – when it occupies its town VIP the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso. “What’s happening?” Asks Zverev innocently, and the referee Mohamed Lahyani, when he is going to proceed to the initial draw, explains that it is a matter of authorities and points to the background, where the mayor, José Luis Martínez, also laughs -Almeida, and the tournament director, Feliciano López.

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“Long live Ayusoooooo!”, Jaley from the stands several times, forcing the judge to ask the respectable for moderation. Then the action continues, consisting of a fine balance of forces, whip to whip until one of them takes a wrong step. The first is from the German, who despite tracing the tie-break of the first set, 0-5 adverse starting, he fails when he should not and with 8-8 he commits a double fault that rewards Berrettini. The Italian (25 years old, 10th in the world) points with the serve, but in the second set he slips inopportunely, also with a double fault (break for 5-4), and in the third his right arm already falters after bursting the ball so much and Zverev imposes his hierarchy, which for something was already crowned here three years ago, and for something he already has four Masters 1000 (the other two in Rome and Canada, 2017).

The 24-year-old German, who refuses to train among young people, is already the one with the most titles (15) of the new batch, the fifth active tennis player with the most miles behind Novak Djokovic (36), Rafael Nadal (35), Roger Federer (28) and Andy Murray (14). Now that the old guard increasingly competes à la carte, the second echelon of tournaments opens a juicy vein for alternatives, until it does nothing unthinkable. This season, Hubert Hurkacz celebrated in Miami, Stefanos Tsitsipas in Monte Carlo and he celebrates again in the Caja Mágica, a very peculiar dirt territory because the ball travels at a higher speed due to the height. Sticks, Sascha he is the king of Madrid again.

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