For fans of nostalgia, 2017 was a pretty special year to be a Tennis fan. The Grand Slam season began with Federer and Nadal in a final, it was like 2008 again and everything felt right with the world. The fact it ended with all four slams in either Nadal or Federer’s bulging trophy cabinet was genuinely astonishing and something that even their staunchest fans could not have seen coming.
However 2018 feels like it is going to be the year of young guns, the time that the players tasked with taking tennis forward after Rafa, Novak, Roger and Andy are finally going to shine through. The ATP Nextgen series in Milan showed that the talent is there and the time is now for them to strike and wrestle at least one of the slams away from their current and previous holders. Here are the top four to back next year:
When Zverev decided to play at ATP Finals in London, rather than participating in the Next Gen Finals in Milan, it was clear that whoever would take the title in Italy would have a large asterisk next to their name as they hadn’t beaten the young German Zverev to the crown. He is clearly the standout player of his generation and had almost four time as many points as his nearest competitor in the race to Milan that calculated who qualified for the tournament.
Despite being just 20 years old he is already ranked number 4 in the world having at one point been number 3. The one thing he needs to improve though is his performance at slams, he won his second Masters 1000 event this year, but failed to make it past the fourth round of a slam. 2018 though could be the year to push on and fulfill his stunning talent.
In Zverev’s absence in Milan, someone had to step-up and take the lead and Chung was just the young man to do it. The 21 year old South Korean player had arrived as the sixth seed and at seventh in the list of best young players of the year but performed when it counted. He finished top of his round robin group and in doing so beat number one seed Andrey Rublev. He repeated the trick in the final taking on Rublev again and beating him once more to claim the biggest prize of his career so far. He will be hoping to take that momentum into 2018
Tiafoe did not manage to make it to Milan after quite an inconsistent season but one match in particular showed why the young American is absolutely one to watch next year. At only 19 he still has a good amount of work to do but in taking Federer to five sets in their first round match at the US Open this year, he proved that he will be something special. He has managed to break into the top 70 in the world and will be aiming for more, after making the 2nd round of the Australian Open last year it will be very interesting to see how he kicks off the Grand Slam year down under in 2018.
It is anyone's guess if the next generation can match the Big Four. If you think they can why not check out these betting offers for the weekend and beyond, as the future seems bright.
We have been lucky to live in a special era of tennis with Federer, Nadal and Djokovic at its forefront however it's clear that it cannot go on forever. This new breed of top players might not quite get to the same heights as their predecessors but 2018 is the time for this nextgen to breakthrough to the top.