Where will they be in 2020? Rating tennis' 5 young talents of 2016
Several of the players on the current ATP circuit are still teenagers and defeating legends of the sport. German teen star Alexander Zverev defeating World No. 3 Roger Federer at the semi-finals of the Gerry Weber Open this week, played on grass, a surface Federer has, over the years, truly claimed as his own.
A week before that, the Swiss Maestro was ousted at the finals of the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, Germany, by another of tennis’ quickest rising talents.
Here’s a look at where 5 of the fastest young movers of tennis today will be in the next 5 years.
#5 Borna Coric
Like many on this list,1996-born Croat ace Borna Coric is a former Juniors World No. 1. He made his international debut for Croatia at the country’s Davis Cup tie at only 16 years old, and would go on to be a regular fixture on the country’s Davis Cup side.
At 17, Coric played the Swiss Indoors Tournament in Basel, a favoured tournament of grass court champion Roger Federer, and a home tournament for the Swiss ace. Up against the giant Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the event, a teenage Coric played confident, strong tennis to keep his cool and take victory over the Spaniard – in straight sets.
He would end up breaking a record held by Nadal in his run up to the semi-finals in Basel, becoming the youngest ever player, at seventeen, in the ATP top 100. That year, he would also receive the ATP Star of Tomorrow award; and spent the next year proving he was deserving of it.
His biggest win yet came at the quarter-finals of the 2015 Dubai Tennis Championships, where he not only defeated, but routed Andy Murray in straight sets – 6-1, 6-3, eventually losing himself to Roger Federer.
Coric has not only beaten both Nadal and Murray at his young age, but beaten them both in straight sets.
He ended 2015 ranked 44th but has since dropped to 49; despite lacking the wins to keep his rankings as high as they were earlier, the 20-year-old has shown tenacity and an ability to take wins over far higher-ranked players.
A confident baseliner, Coric has been described by various analysts as ‘Baby Djokovic’ for his style of play and strength from the baseline. He has upset several good players already through the 2016 season, and although he had a first round departure at the Australian Open, he did better at Roland Garros, finishing at the round of 32 after a couple of well-fought wins.
With youth and fitness both on his side, Coric should be be able to improve his play over the remaining year. If he can, he is en route to becoming a top 5 player in the near future.