The US Open always promises to bring the best of the best in the tennis world together and have them battle it out to see who will be crowned as the champion. The final major tournament of the season is nearly upon us with the top players flocking to New York for the US Open 2019.
Nearly eight months into the season and most of the top players have played 40-50 matches with the wear and tear already affecting their bodies. Nevertheless, the US Open brings vibrant energy back into the players. Corresponding to the past editions, the US Open 2019 also guarantees to produce some of the iconic matches in tennis history.
The ATP Tour has been dominated by the ‘Big Three’ for a decade and a half now. There are, however, a group of rising next-gen stars who have positioned themselves to create major upsets at the Grand Slams. Though the next-generation stars are yet to make a breakthrough at the major tournaments, they have proved themselves to be closer to the current crop of players. Could the US Open 2019 be the tournament where the young guns make an imperishable mark in tennis history?
Daniil Medvedev is having a dream run of his career in the 2019 season. He is currently leading the ATP Tour with 44 match wins this year, including a tour-leading 31 match wins on the hard courts. The Russian reached the finals of three consecutive tournaments in Washington, Montreal, and Cincinnati.
Daniil Medvedev secured his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Western & Southern Open 2019, last week. With this victory, the 23-year-old made a debut at the top 5 ATP rankings and reached a career-high ranking of world No.5. Medvedev has already defeated world No.1, Novak Djokovic twice in the 2019 season and promises to be one of the top contenders to win the US Open 2019.
Stefanos Tsitsipas is one of the rare players on the tour to defeat the ‘Big Three’. He came into the limelight at the Barcelona Open and Canadian Open last year when he reached the finals in both the events. However, the 21-year-old was defeated by Rafael Nadal in both the finals.
The Greek once again impressed the tennis world when he defeated Roger Federer to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open 2019. However, his struggle against Rafael Nadal continued as he couldn’t get past through him to continue his best run in a major tournament. The young gun built on his Grand Slam success by reaching two consecutive finals in February, which led him to raise to the top 10 in the ATP rankings for the first time in his career.
Stefanos Tsitsipas finally defeated the ‘King of Clay’ at the Madrid Masters and reached the second ATP Masters 1000 finals of his career. The Greek gun also reached the top 5 earlier this month and is one of those players to challenge the ‘Big Three’ at the Grand Slams. Stefanos Tsitsipas is certainly one of the next-gen stars to look put for at the US Open 2019.
Dominic Thiem is the only next-generation player go reach the finals of a Grand Slam event. The ‘Prince of Clay’ has already proved his capability on the red surface as he reached two consecutive finals at the French Open. However, the Austrian also exhibited his potential on the hardcourt as he reached the quarterfinals of the US Open, where he was defeated by Rafael Nadal in a thrilling five-setter.
Dominic Thiem also defeated the 5-time champion, Roger Federer at the Indian Wells 2019 finals to conquer his first ATP Masters 1000 title and proved to be the man of all surface. The 25-year-old is currently enjoying a career-high ranking at world No.4 and is closest to the ‘Big Three’ standing at the top 3 spots.
His aggressive baseline play never cuts him off the match and can turn out to be the most dangerous player on the tour. Dominic Thiem as already defeated the ‘Big Three’ at the big stages and is certainly one of those players to go through to the final stages of the US Open 2019.
The Russian No.1, Karen Khachanov came into the limelight when he won his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Paris Masters last year. Khachanov defeated four top 10 players on his course to the title, including the world No.1, Novak Djokovic.
Karen Khachanov also reached his first major quarterfinals at the French Open 2019 before losing to Dominic Thiem. His consistency and success on the ATP tour from the past one year saw him enter the top-10 for the first time as world No. 9. The 23-year-old has already proved his potential on the hard surface, reaching two consecutive semifinals at the Canadian Open and winning the Paris Masters last year.
Karen Khachanov has failed to beat Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in career till now. However, he knows what it takes to defeat the top players as he has defeated Novak Djokovic, last year. Khachanov will certainly be one of the top next-generation players to watch out for at the US Open 2019.
Felix Auger-Aliassime is the youngest player ranked within the ATP top 100. The 19-year-old recently got attention from the tennis world owing to his success on the ATP tour this year. He became the youngest ever ATP 500 finalist at the Rio Open 2019. The Canadian also reached the semifinals of the Miami Open 2019, becoming the youngest semifinalist in the tournament’s history.
Felix Auger-Aliassime also proved his capabilities at the bigger tournaments as he entered the main draw of the Wimbledon Championships 2019. He earned his first victory at the majors in only the second Grand Slam match of his career. Auger-Aliassime reached the 3rd round of the 2019 Wimbledon.
Though Felix Auger-Aliassime has not won a single ATP title in his career till now, he has the capabilities to reach the last stages of a major event. The Canadian has also won the US Open 2016 Boy’s singles title and is completely familiar to court. He is known to be an all-court player and has all the weapons to make a major upset at the US Open 2019.
World No.6, Alexander Zverev has also been one of the prominent rising next-generation players in the past three years. However, the 22-year-old is not having the best of the seasons due to his personal issues. It is highly unlikely that Alexander Zverev could make an impact at the US Open 2019, looking at his current form.
The German has not won a single match against a top 10 player, this year. He also had a substandard win-loss record of 2-6 against the top 20 players in the 2019 season and 8-9 against top 50. His best results came at the French Open 2019, where he reached the quarterfinals. Alexander Zverev is currently running at the tenth position for the 2019 ATP race to London with 1,940 points.
Also, Zverev has not been able to make an impression at the major tournaments when he was playing at his peak. His best results at the US Open came last year when he reached the 3rd round at the Flushing Meadows.
MBA tech grad.| Sports enthusiast| Writer by passion