Rod Laver is a name that is synonymous with tennis. The Australian was the first superstar in the truest sense, winning 11 Grand Slam titles across his career. So when he picks players who can be superstars, they are surely very good.
Laver feels that Denis Shapovalov, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and compatriot Nick Kyrgios will be the four players who will step up after current stars, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal call time on their careers.
When asked the question, Laver said, “I’m very impressed with the young Canadian, Denis Shapovalov. He’s a leftie, like me, and at 19, he’s showing a tremendous amount of promise. I feel like he’s certainly going to reach the top if he continues with this attitude.”
“Alexander Zverev is a bit older, and he’s a better player than Denis is at the moment. Zverev and Dominic Thiem, who made the French Open final, are probably the two young ones at the moment that are great.”
The tennis great was also of the opinion that Shapovalov is raw at the moment and just needs to keep his head in pressure situations to truly reach his potential.
“But Denis just needs to get a little bit more experience. Sometimes when you’re young, you say ‘I want to show you guys how I can do this’ and so the next thing you know, you’re trying to do too much in your game. You’ve got to stay under control”, said Laver of Shapovalov.
He certainly saved his favourite for the end. “Nick Kyrgios is the other one who has heaps of talent. He played a great match in the Laver Cup against Federer, almost should have won the match.”
But he had one area where he wanted the Australian to improve. “But he has a lot of injuries. Elbow issues don’t go away very quickly, I’ve had elbows on the inside, outside, and you have to work through it”, he stated.
The four choices have a lot of merit to say the least and there can be no greater praise when you have the blessings of the legend himself.