4 ATP young guns who could potentially win a Grand Slam in 2019
The 2018 tennis season saw the seasoned veterans hold their ground especially in Grand Slams. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic kept the flag of the 'Big 4' flying high by notching up Grand Slam wins yet again in their 30's. Things were slightly different at the ATP Masters 1000 level with the likes of Alexander Zverev and Karen Khachanov notching up title wins. However, there too, the stamp of the 'Big 4' remained with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic combining for 5 out of the 9 ATP Masters 1000 tournaments.
The biggest statement of intent to disrupt the existing order of men's singles tennis came from Alexander Zverev, who beat Novak Djokovic in the final of the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals. Spirited performances from the Next Gen players like Alex De Minaur, Dennis Shapovalov, Francis Tiafoe, Jaume Munar and Andrey Rublev have led many to believe that their time is going to come sooner rather than later.
However, with the likes of former Grand Slam champions like Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka returning to the Tour fully fit and rejuvenated, things may not pan out as the Next Gen may hope.
We delve into the prospects of 4 young guns who could pull off a surprise with a Grand Slam win or two in 2019:
#1 Borna Coric
After getting knocked out in the first round of the Australian Open, Croat Borna Coric helped his country qualify for the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup by beating fellow rising star Canada's Dennis Shapovalov. He made the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells beating the likes of Kevin Anderson, Albert-Ramos Vinolas, Roberto Bautista Agut along the way. He lost to Federer despite leading by a set and a break. Next, he made the quarters at Miami, losing to Alexander Zverev. He had a disappointing clay court season.
His biggest win came at the Gerry Weber Open, Halle, Germany which he won. Astonishingly, he beat Alexander Zverev and Roger Federer in the same week to win the Halle Open. Riding into Wimbledon high on confidence, Coric looked to carry forward his fine form on grass.
But he was beaten in the first round of Wimbledon by Daniil Medvedev. He endured a string of disappointing results en route to the US Open. At the US Open, he exacted revenge over Daniil Medvedev by beating him but eventually fell in straight sets to Del Potro in the Round of 16. He later helped Croatia qualify for the Davis Cup final by beating USA in the semis.
His reserved his best for the final few weeks of the season, reaching the final of the Shanghai Rolex Masters. En route, he beat the likes of Stanislas Wawrinka, Juan Martin del Potro and most notably Roger Federer for the second time in the year. He ended his season with a 3rd round defeat at the hands of Dominic Thiem at the Paris Masters.
Attaining a career-high ranking of World Number 12, Coric will look to start off the 2019 season on a high with a good showing at the Australian Open unlike his outing there in 2018, where he lost in the 1st round.