Germany's Alexander Zverev kisses the trophy in Rome.
Germany's Alexander Zverev kisses the trophy in Rome. Gregorio Borgia

Zverev crushes Djokovic to claim maiden Masters 1000 title

TENNIS: Alexander Zverev has finally arrived as a force in men's tennis by defeating Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-3 to win the Rome Masters.

The 20-year-old German became the youngest player to win a Masters 1000 event since Djokovic claimed victory in Miami a decade ago at 19.

Zverev broke the 12-time grand slam winner in the first game and was never really headed as he took the match in an hour and 20 minutes.

"I don't know what to say," Zverev said during the trophy presentation.

"Coming in to this week I never thought I could be standing here in the finals or getting this trophy."


epa05979632 Alexander Zverev of Germany celebrates after defeating Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic in the men's final of the Italian Open tennis at the Foro Italico in Rome, Italy, 21 May 2017.  EPA/CLAUDIO ONORATI
Zverev is congratulated by Novak Djokovic CLAUDIO ONORATI

Touted as a future world No.1, the title will move Zverev up to a career-high No. 10 in the rankings.

"If I have only half of the career Novak has had, I'll be fine," Zverev said when asked if he can follow in Djokovic's footsteps.

Tennis great Rod Laver presented Zverev with the trophy.

"Getting the trophy from Mr. Laver is something very special and something I'll remember for the rest of my career," Zverev said.

Djokovic, who was forced to play two matches on Saturday to reach the final, committed nearly twice as many unforced errors as Zverev - 27 to 14.

Djokovic later announced that Andre Agassi will coach him at the French Open, which starts next Sunday.

"We are both excited to work together and see where it takes us," Djokovic said.

"We don't have any long-term commitment. It's just us trying to get to know each other in Paris a little bit."