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Who is the Next Men’s Tennis Superstar
Feb 19, 2020, 6:41:00 AM

Who is the Next Men’s Tennis Superstar

With perennial stars Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic entering a new decade, who can succeed them as the superstars of tennis?

At the start of the previous decade, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic were at the top of the ATP rankings and ten years later, they are still at the top of the table. While they are still playing at the highest level, there will come a time when they will be surpassed by the next generation.

In the current era, there are players like Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev who have won multiple titles and are looking to dethrone the superstars. These players have not managed to achieve Grand Slam victories. It has been almost six years since there was a first-time Grand Slam winner when Marin Čilić won in 2014.

With Djokovic defeating Thiem in the Australian Open final earlier this year, the Serbian won his 17th Grand Slam singles title. The World Number 4 Thiem pushed Djokovic to his limit in a gruelling five-setter, almost winning his first Grand Slam and signalling the start of a new era.

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World Number 5, Daniil Medvedev is hot on their trail. The Russian almost went undefeated in the ATP Cup earlier this year, his sole defeat coming was from Djokovic in a competitive three-setter. He has earned high praise from the legendary Serbian, who has described him as a ‘very complete player’.

At only 24 years old, a long career is still ahead for the current World Number 5. With his amazing performances in 2019, reaching six consecutive tournament finals. He looks to ride that momentum on the road to dethroning the Big 3.

On the other hand, Alexander Zverev from Germany has also made his case as a future superstar, with an admirable performance at the Australian Open. He reached the semifinals to go against Thiem, who eventually won to reach the final.

At six feet and six inches, Zverev is a very tall player. His size complements his powerful serves with sharp angles that are very hard to return for the opposing player. Djokovic had previously complimented the young German, ‘He moves well for his height’. His greatest strength is his backhand which is regarded as one of the best in the game today.

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Alongside these players, there are young rising stars popping out. Players like Denis Shapovalov have made waves in the tennis world.

The 20-year old Shapovalov already has a victory over Rafael Nadal in 2019 and has won a title in a Masters 1000 at Stockholm last year. Ranked 15th in the world in the early part of 2020, his stock is sure to rise in the following months. The young Canadian has an unorthodox playing style. As a left-handed player, he feels that he throws opposing players off with his style and he capitalizes on that advantage.

He became the youngest player to reach the Top 30 since Richard Gasquet in 2005 when he did so in 2019. He was the only teenager ranked in the top 20 last year. He has garnered praise from former World Number 1 John McEnroe, ‘Well, I'd say Shapovalov is, Denis is the guy that reminds me the most’.

With the plethora of great players that the tennis world has right now, it will not be a surprise if the Big 3 is dethroned soon. But knowing the Big 3, they are not going anywhere anytime soon.

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Words: Cholo Martin

Image: PA