Alexander Zverev ramped up his impressive return from serious injury by upsetting Novak Djokovic in straight sets at the World Tennis League on Wednesday (AEDT).
German gun Zverev has only just returned to the court after a seven-month layoff, having snapped three ligaments in his ankle at Roland-Garros and then suffering a bone edema in his right foot.
But the world No.12 showed he will be a serious contender to win his first grand slam at next month’s Australian Open, riding a dominant serve to beat Djokovic 6-3, 6-4.
Watch Nick Kyrgios, Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek in the World Tennis League from December 20-25. Every match streaming ad-free, live and exclusive on Stan Sport
Zverev’s victory helped secure a 35-27 team win for the Hawks as teammate Elena Rybakina beat Aryna Sabalenka.
While the tennis was highly competitive, the two stars also found time to indulge in some comedy.
Zverev drilled a ball into Djokovic’s chest in what commentator Robbie Koenig said was “a deadly accurate shot from Zverev.”
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Djokovic then pretended to return fire at Zverev, who graciously bent over and allowed the smiling Serbian to hit the ball gently at his buttocks.
The pair then embraced.
Djokovic will now reset for a blockbuster rematch of the Wimbledon final against Australia’s Nick Kyrgios on Thursday (AEDT).
Kyrgios lost his opening singles match to Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime.
“The team that has my eye is definitely Novak and the Falcons,” Kyrgios said before the tournament.
“I can’t wait to come up against them and I can guarantee an Eagles win.”
That comment might have been tongue in cheek as Kyrgios also recently conceded that Djokovic remained the benchmark in hardcourt tennis.
“Djokovic is so dominant that unless someone really elevates their level at the Australian Open or US Open, I can’t see him losing. (Daniil) Medvedev could maybe beat him.
“Look I’d love to win one – but, realistically, he’s so dominant.”
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