Alexander Zverev, who is playing in Beijing this week, says that he has become much more steady this season and has not been affected by expectations.
The 20-year-old Zverev has risen from No. 24 to No. 4, winning five titles including two Masters—Rome, on clay, and Montreal, on hard court.
He has also beaten Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal — all dominant Grand Slam champions.
“I was consistent this year, so that's a part that I've improved in the last 12 months. Always played pretty good tournaments,” Zverev told press at Beijing. “I didn't lose a lot of bad matches. Of course, everyone loses bad matches, but I didn't have a lot of them this year. That's a part where I'm happy, the way I improved, the way I got better.
"There's so many things that everybody's trying to improve. I think Roger and Rafa, they are the two best players of all time, but they still improve each year they play. You can never stop. That's something that I'm still going to be working on to get to the top of the game. Hopefully, I can do that.”
But despite being more consistent, Zverev has had some poor performances recently -- at the US Open, he lost in the second round against Borna Coric. And a week ago, he was upset by Bosnian player Damir Dzumhur in the second round in Shenzhen, China.
Still, Zverev says he is concentrating on the long-term and is used to the pressure of the tour. The German began tennis when he was extremely young, following around Mischa, his older brother. Both Zverevs are now in the Top 30 in the rankings.
“I’ve been dealing with expectations since a very young age,” Alexander said. “Obviously it becomes more and more the higher you are ranked. But I try not to listen too much from what other people expect from me or what other people think of me. I do care about the opinion of the people that are close to me, and that is my team, my family, stuff like this. It's nice to hear from great players [about] what they think I might become one day, but this is still all in the future, a work in progress. The getting better part is more important than what other people think about me."