Wimbledon 2014: Five young men who could breach the fortress of the big four
The mens tour has been a picture of consistency for the past decade and more. The top men have hogged all the important titles on offer gaining a stranglehold on the silver and glory that goes with it. Incredibly just seven men have captured the 38 grand slam titles since Marat Safin won the Australian Open in 2005. Of these, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have accounted for a whopping 27 of those titles.Novak Djokovic went on a tear in 2011-12 to capture six titles, while Murray snatched two of them, most notably Wimbledon last year. The only others to taste grand slam success were Juan Martin Del Potro (US Open 2009) and Stanislas Wawrinka (Australian Open 2014).But the golden generation is ageing and many are beginning to wonder who might break through from the younger lot. It is time for someone to step up to the plate on the biggest stages to provide the game with an alternative story line.In this feature we look at the youngest men inside the top 100 and speculate about their ability to break into the fortress of the legends that rule the game today.
#5 Bernard Tomic; Rank 86; Age 21
It is a pity that we are still discussing Tomic among a collection of players who are striving to make a mark. Nearly two years ago, the Aussie was already ranked 27th in the world and creating waves around the circuit with his free flowing game. But his young head played games with him and his volatile parent added some unsavoury ingredients to a potion that went horribly wrong. After spending much of last year in a series of unnecessary controversies, it finally appears though that Tomic has perhaps learnt his lessons.
Although he hasn’t done much of note since reaching the finals at Sydney at the start of the season, Tomic has a game to trouble the best. And the sight of the Wimbledon lawns seem to bring out the best in him. Tomic has already reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, where he took a set off Novak Djokovic in 2011. Even last year, he offered stiff resistance to Tomas Berdych before making an exit in the round of 16.
Tomic will gain an opportunity to exact revenge over Berdych, if he can get past Evgeny Donskoy in his first round match. The Czech is already through to the second round, having beaten Victor Hanescu 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4, 6-3. We will soon know if Tomic is ready to be a better student of the game.