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Alexander Zverev has titanic talent and a small secret weapon—his toy poodle Lövik.

The 20-year-old Zverev, who opened the Australian Open with a three-set win over Thomas Fabbiano, was asked what's changed in his life since winning five titles, including two Masters championships, and ascending to the world No. 4 ranking.

Djokovic: No Major Boycott

The Rome champion said on-court success has not changed off-court life and credits his dog for keeping him grounded.

"My dog doesn't even realize who I am, so, you know, nothing changes at home," Zverev said with a smile.




Actually, there has been a significant change in the family dynamic. Older brother Mischa Zverev wed during the offseason.

The Zverev brothers, who live close to each other in the tax haven of Monaco, still travel together to many tournaments along with their parents and coaches Alexander, a former ATP pro, and mother, Irina.

"We obviously have separate apartments. He has a wife now, and, you know, I'm a little bit by my own," Alexander Zverev said of brother Mischa. "But, you know, still we travel a lot as a family, because my dad is obviously my coach still. My mom travels with him.

"It was more of a joke. But, you know, they asked me what changed for you since you're 24, No. 4 in the world. At home nothing changed. My brother still makes fun of me. My mom is still there. Dad is still there. My dog doesn't even realize who I am, so, you know, nothing changes at home."

The fourth-seeded German will face Peter Gjowczyk in round two.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

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