© Peter Staples / Citi Open

Alexander Zverev will look to win his first Citi Open title this week in Washington, DC.

Zverev: Ferrero The 'Perfect Fit' For Team

German discusses what led him to work with former World No. 1

Juan Carlos Ferrero was the “perfect fit” to join the team of Alexander Zverev and his father and coach, Alexander Zverev Sr., who together made the decision to bring on Ferrero.

The Spaniard and the #NextGenATP Zverev have talked almost daily since Zverev approached him about working together at the Mutua Madrid Open in May. This week at the Citi Open in Washington, DC, is the first time they've worked together in person.

Zverev wanted to bring on Ferrero for a few reasons, he said on Wednesday. He remembered the Spaniard being of the hardest workers during his time on the ATP World Tour.

Ferrero's bonafide top-level credentials – former World No. 1, four ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles and a Grand Slam crown, 2003 Roland Garros – also appealed to Zverev. To boot, Zverev enjoys being around the former champion who now runs his own academy in Spain.

“From a personal point of view, he's one of the nicest guys I've met,” Zverev said after his 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) second-round win against Aussie Jordan Thompson. “He obviously can be very strong on court, telling me what to do and telling me what I'm doing wrong. But he's such an easy guy to be around that it was such an easy decision for me to take him into the team. He doesn't want to take my father's place; my father doesn't want to take his place. From that kind of view, he was the perfect fit.”

It's not as if Zverev needed outside help; his career has been on an upward trajectory with his father as his lone coach. The German reached a career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 8 on Monday. The 20 year old has won four ATP World Tour titles, including his first Masters 1000 title in Rome earlier this year.

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Zverev is the only player not named Roger or Rafa to win a Masters 1000 crown or Grand Slam title this season. He's currently in sixth place in the Emirates ATP Race To London and leads the Emirates ATP Race To Milan.

Alexander Zverev Sr., in addition to working with Sascha Zverev, also coaches his other son, the serve-and-volleying Mischa Zverev, who's No. 25 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

“I think my dad might be one of the best family coaches of all-time. He has two sons who are in the Top 25 in the world... with two completely different game styles. That's not easy to do. You've got to be very smart, you've got to know what to practise and what to teach... Our practice sessions are completely different,” Alexander Zverev said.

“I think no other coach has done that, to bring two players from scratch, absolute zero to the Top 25 in the world. So I think he really is one of the greatest coaches of all-time.”

The 6'6” Zverev, who fell in the Washington semi-finals (Monfils) last year and the quarter-finals (Cilic) in 2015, will try to secure his first ATP World Tour 500 title this week and achieve a personal milestone. He is one match win away from his 100th victory.

Zverev will next meet American Tennys Sandgren, who was leading 6-3, 3-0 when Aussie Nick Kyrgios retired because of pain in his right shoulder.

“I really love the crowd in DC. They're always involved in the tennis. I think they always quite enjoy coming back and supporting all of us,” Zverev said. “I've played here the past two years. I've played pretty well, and obviously it helps every single time to play in such a great atmosphere. I think they enjoy matches like that and I think we, as players, really appreciate it as well.”