Alexander Zverev joined an elite few as he overcame Serbia's Novak Djokovic to win the ATP World Finals this evening in London. I knew I had to take care of my service games, because he's serving really well.
Zverev, the third seed, broke Djokovic for a 5-4 lead in the first set, then served three big aces to take the set.
"I won't let that get in my head, make me go insane, because it should be something I'm excited about and not something I should feel extra pressure". In the semifinal, he continued his dominance of Kevin Anderson with a quick 6/2, 6/2 victory, keeping him fresh for the title match.
Against world number one Djokovic, however, the 18,000 fans wedged into the cavernous O2 arena were roaring their support as he produced a level of tennis his opponent could not match.
Zverev is still searching for his first grand slam title, with his run to the French Open quarter-finals this year his best result. "It is the biggest title I have ever won", he said.
"I'm a little bit upset about the whole situation because this is not how I wanted it to end".
"We [Djokovic and Zverev] had so many talks, not only about tennis but all different types of subjects - I won't mention what - but you are a sharing person and you have shared some titles with me".
A high-quality first set remained on serve in the opening eight games, both players only managing to win three receiving points up to then, before a stray forehand from Djokovic - a rare unforced error this week - brought the first break point of the match in the following game.
At the conclusion of the match Zverev was jeered as on-court interviewer Annabel Croft began to speak to him, with Croft at one point admonishing the crowd for their reaction.
Later, Djokovic told reporters: "There's a lot of similarities in terms of trajectory of professional tennis, in our careers".
Zverev is the first German to win the title since Boris Becker in Frankfurt in 1995 and the youngest since Djokovic won at the same age in Shanghai in 2008. "Hopefully he (Zverev) can surpass me". Zverev's affinity for other dogs has been shown on his social channels, referring to one at the Boodles event in June as "my new second best friend".
"He deserved to win, he's still quite young but he's had an wonderful career so far and I wish him all the best for his future". "Novak has been incredible and he's barely lost a match, but I'm glad you lost one to me today".
"I'm incredibly happy and incredibly proud right now".
"I wasn't happy that he beat me, but I was happy for the victory that he had because I'm quite good friends with him".
The new champion fell to the floor in jubilation and was warmly congratulated on court by Djokovic, who later said: "I'm really happy for him. As a team, we'll look for ways to improve because I still think there's room for improvement, and there are a lot of objectives I've set myself for next year".