One of the biggest wins of Alexander Zverev’s career was tainted by a ball boy interrupting a point during a crucial second-set tiebreaker.
Zverev, pictured, denied Roger Federer a shot at a 100th career title with a 7-5, 7-6 (5) victory yesterday to advance into today’s final at the ATP Finals at London’s O2 Arena.
Federer was leading the tiebreaker 4-3 and was in the ascendancy of a rally on a Zverev service point when a ball boy at the back of the court dropped a ball. Zverev immediately signalled for the point to be stopped and the umpire ordered the point to be replayed.
Zverev served an ace before going on to close out the match moments later.
“I want to apologise for the situation in the tiebreak,” said Zverev, who was booed by some members of the crowd during his on-court interview. “The ball boy dropped the ball so it’s in the rules that we have to replay the point. I’m a little bit upset about the whole situation because this is not how I wanted it to end.”
Federer didn’t think Zverev needed to say sorry to anyone. “He apologised to me at the net,” said the 37-year-old. “I was like, ‘Buddy, shut up. You don’t need to apologise to me here. Congratulations on a great match and a great tournament so far. All the best for the finals.’ And you move on.”
Zverev, 21, is the youngest player to reach the final of the season-ending event since 2009 and the first from Germany since 1996. Today he will play Novak Djokovic, who beat Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-2 in last night’s other semi-final.