Five NextGen stars who are poised to dethrone Roger Federer and friends

Tennis Features
Stefanos Tsitsipas - climbing the ATP rankings

The WTA are enjoying a fresh and exciting new era with a changing of the established guard complete, but the ATP still lag behind. Here, we look at the five NextGen stars who look most likely to dethrone Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal in the next couple of years. 

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Of all the NextGen stars of the ATP, there is something quite special about Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The Greek just seems to have that little ‘x-factor’ to him that is a little reminiscent of a young Roger Federer.

Such comparisons are dangerous – just ask Grigor Dimitrov – but Tsitsipas’ starting point in tennis seems to be a naturally good all-round game with no real weaknesses.

He has already beaten Federer at a Grand Slam, and beaten him well, and he also seems to have Alexander Zverev’s number.

Perhaps even more tellingly, of all the NextGen players on tour, Tsitsipas is the one Zverev seems most personally threatened by.

Felix Auger-Aliassime

Canadian Auger-Aliassime has seriously turned heads so far in 2019, and it’s not hard to understand why.

At just 18, he is showing a dauntingly impressive set of tools.

His serve is big and booming, as is his forehand, but neither are perhaps the most impressive thing about him.

Auger-Aliassime has that brilliant combination of great athleticism and immaculate footwork, which provides him with a natural and effortlessly good defensive game.

We’ll know more about his true potential once he has been stress-tested a little more by the tour, but the early signs are that Auger-Aliassime has genuine elite potential.

Denis Shapovalov

Denis Shapovalov delighted

Auger-Aliassime’s compatriot is a player who is becoming evermore difficult to overlook.

A year or so ago, many looked at Shapovalov and saw great upside – not least his baseline game and the fact he isleft-handed – but one or two glaring weaknesses too.

The greatest among them was undoubtedly his net game, but that has improved considerably.

Interestingly, his solution to improve at the net was to play a lot of doubles tennis rather than overload on the practice courts, and it has certainly paid off.

Shapovalov is now starting to show some incredibly soft hands at the net to go with is lightning quick reactions, and he’s looking all the more formidable for it.

Frances Tiafoe

Frances Tiafoe PA

American Tiafoe has been long-heralded as the next big star of US tennis, and it shouldn’t be underestimated just how big a label that is for someone to carry.

US men’s tennis has fallen by the wayside and there is no getting away from it. The days when Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, and Jim Courier dominated are long gone and no one has ever really stepped up to replace them.

Tiafoe has a shot of doing that. He has the raw power needed for the modern game and he has steadily improved since he joined the tour. That’s a good sign, but what is doesn’t tell us is what his ceiling really is, as power alone is not going to get you to the top.

Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev ATP Finals PA

Zverev is the big dog of the NextGen, the man to beat. He is third in the world and the reigning ATP Finals champion, and neither of those things happen by chance.

However, he definitely struggles for consistency at times too. His Grand Slam struggles are well-documented, and an inability to truly dominate for long periods in matches, at the moment, is certainly costing him.

He is, though, thought of as well as he is for a very good reason: His talent and potential is immense.

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