The Next Generation of Tennis Stars:
Milos Raonic made it into Wimbledon Final and while he fell to the home favourite Andy Murray, it showed a slight chink in the status quo of top players. But how worried should they be, and who are the young pretenders looking to overthrow the Top three?
The average age of the ATP top ten is 30 years old. This number shows the dominance of the players at the top, with the likes Federer holding on to the bitter end. Djokovic and Murray are both 29, not old, but where are the next generation? Even the women’s game has struggled to shake off Serena, who at 34 looks like she is playing against teenagers still. It would be understandable that when Nadal and Federer dominated, there was little anyone else could do. It was two of the best players of their era perhaps all time, battling it out. Federer is now almost 35 though and Nadal has not won a tournament in over two years. Djokovic with a sprinkling of Andy Murray have been able to take advantage and collect the silverware. This lack of competition can be seen in the ATP ranks with, outside the big four, only three active players have a major now, Del Potro, Wawrinka and Cilic.
The unfortunate group of players who have had to follow these tennis gods have been dubbed the Lost generation. Those born around 1990. We have begun to see one of them, Milos Raonic finally playing up to his potential with two final appearances at majors in Australia and at Wimbledon. His fellow ‘lost boy’ has not seen the same success. Kei Nishikori at 26 is running out of time, but appears to have already peaked in 2014 when he reached the US Open final. He has plateaued ever since. Other member Grigor Dimitrov is more known for his off the court game than on it! The Bulgarian has dated Sharapova and Nicole Scherzinger to probably name only a few. Bernard Tomic too has trouble off the court that has never let him produce his best on it. The truth is probably more likely that this group of players just do not have the talent to warrant top billing, but it still begs the question how long do we have to wait for a new star?
Well if the stats don’t lie then it should be just around the corner. Nine players under the age of 20 claimed thirteen titles on the challenge tour, yes a lower level, but considering some of these players are teenagers, still mightily impressive. The number of good baby faced players Is growing too. Players under 21 in the top 150 this year has almost doubled to thirteen from the prevous years seven. Among these young guns is the mercurial Nick Kyrgios who at 19 was in a Wimbledon quarter-final. His attitude can displease many of the tennis fraternity, but they would be hard pressed to deny that there is a talent bubbling under the surface. Croatian Borna Coric has got shades of Novak Djokovic about him and if that is not encouraging I don’t know what is. The only problem is the old guard are just that good, and with the gulf in ability vast, these young teenagers don’t have a pyramid like structure of working their way up to compete. There is at least belief though in the words of another young German tennis player (who has been compared to Boris Becker) Alexander Zverev said when asked about it “There are a lot of stories about me being potential number one, about Kyrgios being a potential number one, about Coric, but what I think that shows is there is a very strong group of teenagers or young guys coming up,” he said. “I think we can all do great.”. That’s the spirit!
Bio: Joshua Mason is a huge Sports fan from the UK. He loves finding out about new sports, teams and athletes. He has written and created content for Ubitennis, Euro 2016, betting tips, and The Worldly Magazine among others and is looking forward to adding Essentially to the list!