Image source: TPN/Getty Images
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are the first names that come to mind when you are talking about tennis. During the last decade, the BIG 3 of tennis proved, they are among the best tennis players of all time. The three players share 58 Grand Slam titles among them.
Djokovic won the latest Grand Slam tournament. It was the Serb’s ninth Australian Open title and 18th major. Spanish tennis star Nadal won his 20th Grand Slam title last year, to match the record of Swiss star Federer.
The 39-year-old Federer has been out of tennis for a whole year as he was recovering from an injury. The 34-year-old Nadal failed to reach the final of the Australian Open, as he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals. While 33-year-old won the championship at Melbourne, despite injury issues.
Despite their age, three tennis stars claim, they are not planning to retire soon. However, there are some young stars, who are ready to compete with the best of the best. Here are five tennis players, who have a promising future, in no particular order.
The number third player in the world ended 2020 in style by winning the Tour Finals and started 2021 with a good mark. The 24-year-old Russian has everything to compete with the best stars in the world and he has proven it. He reached the US Open final and added another final appearance to his name when he lost to the world No 1 Djokovic in the Australian Open.
Tsitispas has already established himself as a contender to end BIG 3 dominance. The Greek player is a regular in the top 10 of the ATP rankings. He has five career titles, including the 2019 Tour Finals crown. The 22-year-old reached the semi-final of the Australian Open in 2019 and beat Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals of the same tournament in 2021. However, he still needs to work harder, as he lost to Medvedev in the semi-finals.
Zverev has been a permanent player in the top 10 since July 2017. He won the 2018 ATP Finals, making him the youngest winner at the year-end championship in a decade. Moreover, he is one of just two active players outside of the Big Four with three ATP Masters 1000 titles. The German player reached his first Grand Slam final at the 2020 US Open, finishing runner-up to Dominic Thiem. This year, the 23-year-old started well, however, he lost his chance to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open, as he lost to Djokovic in the quarter-finals.
Thiem enjoyed the best season of his career last season. The tennis star won his first Grand Slam title – The US Open. He also reached the Australian Open final. The 27-year-old has established himself as one of the biggest names in the game. However, didn’t start 2021 very well, as he lost to Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round of the Melbourne tournament.
Shapovalov is currently 11th in the ATP rankings, but he is a man with a point to prove. The 21-year-old won the 2016 Wimbledon Boys’ singles but failed to win a title and crashed out of the Australian Open in the first round in 2020. This year he lost to F. Auger Aliassime in the third round of the same tournament. However, he still has time to prove his right to be alongside the best tennis players of the generation.