Who is next in line for the title of world No. 1?
Yes, Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic have a stranglehold on the top spot for now, but how long will that last? The whispers surrounding Roger Federer’s and Rafael Nadal’s decline have been around for years and are only growing louder. As one of the best generations in tennis is ushered out by old age, the new guard is standing at the ready, awaiting their turn in the spotlight.
As the 2015 tennis season enters the summer hard court stretch, we take a look at six budding superstars who are primed to take major strides on tour.
The 20-year-old phenom busted onto the world stage in 2014 with a win over Nadal at Wimbledon. How’s this for a stat? He is the only player to hold a winning record against both Rafa and Roger. Also, he beat them both on his FIRST TRY. In 2015, he became the first teen to make multiple Grand Slam QFs since Federer. If you have ever watched him play, you know he loves the big stage, loves a big crowd, and holds no fear of reputations.
The newly anointed “bad boy” of tennis plays with intense emotion and flair, but also has the game to back it up. His fearsome serve is near impossible to break, as he fired an ATP-high 18.7 aces per match in 2014.
Don’t forget, he can also do this.
World No. 18 Madison Keys is having a 2015 to remember. After recruiting former American world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport as her coach, she reached the semis at the Australian Open and the quarters at Wimbledon. These performances back up her breakout 2014, where she won her first title at Eastbourne.
Like Kyrgios, her service numbers are incredible. Her first serve often tops 100 mph, a feat not often seen on the women’s circuit. She ranks in the top 10 for aces, percent of service points won, and percent of service games won on the women’s circuit.
Fun fact: She is the seventh-youngest person to win a match on the WTA tour – 14 years and 48 days old.
In 2014, Coric was awarded the ATP Star of Tomorrow as the youngest player ranked in the Top 100. The former Junior US Open champion has beaten both Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, both on hard court.
Pundits compare his game to Novak Djokovic, which Coric has embraced: “When I am at my best I am more like Djokovic game-wise, when I’m not, I’m more like Murray.” Strong. Words.
Coric wins 27% of first serve return points, 50% of second serve return points, and 21% of return games. These stats are the best among his generation but a far cry from the blistering numbers of Djokovic and Murray, who are at least 5% better in each category.
World No. 21 Bencic was thrust into the tennis spotlight as a young junior. I guess it is partly her fault, as she caught Melanie Molitor’s eye, who happens to be Martina Hingis’ mother. She delivered on the surrounding hype by becoming the youngest player to make the US Open quarter-finals since – wait for it – Martina Hingis in 1997. Her 2014 came to a fitting end as she was named WTA Newcomer of the year.
2015 fun facts:
The 21-year-old is having a 2015 she will not soon forget. Her ranking rose to world No. 9 after her Wimbledon final loss to Serena. She has been a machine in 2015, ranking in the top 10 for all service statistics, as well as total match wins (27-13 record). Her 5-4 record against Top 10 WTA players is very respectable and truly shows the quality of competition she can hang with.
PLUS, her emoji game is on point.
📢 SI, YES, JA, OUI, 是的 SEMIFINAL!!!!@Wimbledon 🔥🌱😁🇬🇧pic.twitter.com/qhT2Yrtqhz
— Garbiñe Muguruza (@GarbiMuguruza) July 7, 2015
World No. 32 Vandeweghe is not a newcomer to the WTA, but has definitely taken her game to a new level in 2015. She made her best Grand Slam result at the Australian Open, making the third round with wins over Francesca Schiavone and Samantha Stosur. She then upgraded her best GS result at Wimbledon, making the quarter-finals.
The 23-year-old is rarely broken and is known to have one of the strongest second serves on tour. In 2015, she has won the highest percentage of second serve points on tour at 51.5%. Even the Black Mamba had to give her props…
We are witnessing the rise of a younger generation of tennis stars and the future certainly looks bright.