Next generation ready to break out of the shadows in tennis

Mon May 16, 2016 10:42pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Tennis fans should intoxicate themselves on the elixir still being served up by the best men's generation to grace the game before the well dries up and mere mortals take over, at least that's what the doom-mongers think.

They say when 17-times grand slam champion Roger Federer, claycourt king Rafael Nadal and Serbian winning-machine Novak Djokovic, not to mention the mercurial Andy Murray, hang up their rackets quality, and interest, will suffer.

However, a hungry bunch of young lions are showing all the signs of keeping the flame burning long after the Fab Four settle down to a quiet life polishing their silverware.

At Indian Wells this year the men's Tour launched its ATP#NextGen campaign to promote rising stars aged 21 and under.

They were not short of names.

Volatile but dazzling 21-year-old Australian Nick Kyrgios, Borna Coric, a Croatian teenager with uncanny similarities to a young Djokovic and Alexander Zverev, a German already being compared to Boris Becker, are already established in the top 50.

Throw teenagers Hyeon Chung (South Korea), Karen Khachanov (Russia) and Quentin Halys (France) into the mix alongside American 18-year-old Taylor Fritz, the youngest player in the top 100, Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka, Britain's Kyle Edmund and Swede Elias Ymer and there appears to be critical mass of youngsters boasting 'future grand slam champion' potential.

Five years ago there were seven players aged 21 and under in the top 150, today that figure has risen to 13.   Continued...

Tennis - Monte Carlo Masters - Monaco, 15/04/2016. Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a shot to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France .  REUTERS/Eric Gaillard