Could one of these youngsters finally break the tennis ‘fouropoly’ in 2018?

Dating back to 2006, just four men have won 43 of the last 48 majors. They need no introduction: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

The only other players to have broken this “fouropoly” have been Stan Wawrinka, who won single majors in 2014 (Australian Open), 2015 (French Open), and 2016 (US Open), Marin Čilić, who won the 2014 US Open, and Juan Martin del Potro, who also won the US Open back in 2009.

Never before in tennis have such a tight-knit group of players dominated the sport for such an extensive period. But, with all four now on the wrong side of 30, could 2018 be the year that tennis sees the new blood come to the fore? And which players will represent the future of men’s tennis? Below we’ll look at three of the sport’s rising stars.

Alexander Zverev
Many people are tipping 20-year-old German, Alexander Zverev, to have a huge future in the game. Measuring in at an enormous 6’6, Zverev, from Hamburg, offers a very attacking style that is very pleasant on the eye, making him a terrifying prospect for opponents with a strong all-round game.

Indeed, there’s no doubting that Zverev is already a serious contender, with the young German entering 2018 ranked number four in the world – he reached as high as number three in November.

Nick Kyrgios
If you’re hoping that another unpredictable maverick rises to the top of tennis, then Nick Kyrgios is your man. The volatile Australian is an undoubted talent in the game, who is capable of playing majestic tennis, but he has more than his share of critics, who dislike the youngster’s unsportsmanlike behaviour, which often sees him berate his opponents – and sometimes even the fans too.

Source: Nick Kyrgios via Facebook

In terms of credentials, well, the 22-year-old Australian managed to beat Roger Federer, Raphael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic at the first time of asking. And – to give an insight into Kyrgios’ high-energy character – following a defeat to Andy Murray at Wimbledon in 2016, when interviewed, said of his feelings towards tennis, “I’ve previously said, I don’t love the sport. But, you know, I don’t really know what else to do without it.”

Dominic Thiem
The antithesis of Nick Kyrgios is probably 24-year-old Austrian, Dominic Thiem. Caricatured as a “steady Eddie”, Thiem’s brutally hard groundstrokes have already seen him reach the semi-finals at the French Open for the past two seasons. Indeed, he’s very much seen a clay specialist and was the only player to defeat Nadal on the surface in 2017.

Source: Dominic Thiem via Facebook

Ranked number five in the world heading into 2018, Thiem made steady if unspectacular progress last year, reaching at least the fourth round of all the majors. But, at 24, time is running out for him being labelled as “potential”; this is the year the Austrian really needs to kick on – and don’t be surprised if that happens at Roland Garros in the summer.