It will be a battle between two Richard Mille ambassadors at the Australian Open Saturday as Rafael Nadal faces Alexander Zverev. Zverev, nicknamed Sascha, was signed on just a few days after Richard Mille opened its first boutique in Munich last year. The move aims to deepen Richard Mille’s relationship with Germany.
The match has been described as being a battle between generations as Nadal, 30, goes head to head with the 19-year old prodigy, considered by his peers to be leading the pack of the next generation of international stars.
Zverev, who is coached by his father, began playing the age of five. In 2013, at the age of 16 he was crowned ITF’s World Junior Tennis Champion, a title previously held by some of the greatest names in the world of tennis.
In 2014, Alexander Zverev emerged victorious in his first ATP Challenger tournament, the Sparkassen Open in Braunshweig and two weeks later, was invited to play in the Hamburg ATP 500 event where he made headlines in beating three top 20 players and reaching the Semi Finals where he lost to top 5 David Ferrer.
Incidentally Zverev’s performance was record setting in addition to being spectacular because it was an achievement that echoed those of a young Nadal. The rising star’s rise has been exponential. His game, more finely honed with each passing day, carried him into the top 100 players by the end of the 2015 season. The youngest player to be ranked, he received the ATP Star of Tomorrow Award.
Last year, at Indian Wells he held a match point against Nadal. After the match, Nadal declared, ”This is actually a major victory—I was pitted against a great player. In particular, he served amazingly well at the start. His first service were frequently travelling at 214 km/hr and his second service over 193 km/hr.”
Following in Nadal’s footsteps, Zverev now plays with a Richard Mille watch on his wrist. For this right-handed player who is extremely powerful in his game whilst being comfortable on any surface, the RM 27-01 is the ideal timepiece, with its case made of carbon nanotubes, weighing 18.83 grams, inclusive of the strap—a world record for a mechanical watch- yet to be matched. Developed hand in hand with Nadal, the tourbillon calibre suspended by cables can resist accelerations of up to 5,000g’s. Designed for tennis, this watch feels like a second skin.