Move Over, Djokovic: Meet the Next Generation of Men’s Tennis Players
Novak Djokovic is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. While tennis fans may never tire of watching him dominate the sport, a new generation of men’s tennis stars is ready to step into the spotlight. Three, in particular, seem ready to do so. Let’s meet them.
At the end of 2016, Stefanos Tsitsipas ranked 210th in the world. Now? He’s sixth. The 20-year-old turned pro in 2016. Since doing so, Tsitsipas is 13-8 in Grand Slams and has accumulated a total record of 84-51. He hasn’t won one yet, though he does have three tour victories. His record against top-10 players is 10-15.
Fearless both on and off the court, the Greek athlete is unafraid to go after the sport’s legends. He once said it was “boring” to see the same players — meaning Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal — win every Grand Slam.
While some found the comment inappropriate, women’s tennis star Daniela Hantuchová supported Tsitsipas’s gumption. She said, “Most of the other NextGen guys are just waiting for those three to retire and then they can take over. But Stefanos is saying ‘No, I’m not going to wait for anything.'”
A bold sentiment to be sure, but based on his meteoric rise up the rankings, Tsitsipas has the game to back it up. Another interesting note: He has his own podcast called “A Greek Abroad,” where he discusses his travels around the world while on tour.
Growing up, Felix Auger-Aliassime idolized Roger Federer. The Canadian has a lot of potential, so he may get to the Fed’s level someday. Nicknamed FA2, Auger-Aliassime turned pro in 2017 and is already the 21st-ranked player in the world. That’s an impressive achievement for any athlete, much less an 18-year-old.
During Wimbledon 2019, Novak Djokovic revealed that FA2 is his favorite NextGen tennis player. The World No. 1 said, “He’s very mature for his age. … Good manners. Respectful. Wants to learn. He’s very dedicated.” Known for a courteous demeanor himself, Djokovic elaborated, “He’s probably the one that I like the most from the young generation as a tennis player and as a person.”
Auger-Aliassime’s career record stands at 32-24. He has yet to win a Grand Slam or tournament on tour. Drawing comparisons to current tour great Nick Kyrgios, FA2’s playing style involves powerful shots, a strong wrist, and a strong serving style.
Coming from a tennis family, Alexander Zverev’s father is also his coach and a former pro himself. His mother is a tennis coach, and his brother Mischa Zverev is also a member of the ATP tour. The world’s fifth-ranked player, Alexander turned pro in 2013. The Hamburg, Germany native currently has 11 career titles and a career win-loss record of 204-102. However, he has not won a Grand Slam event yet.
According to Bleacher Report, Alexander is known for his “effortless power on his serve thanks to his fluid motion and high ball toss.” He’s described as “masterful” on the baseline, with a “masterful two handed-backhand.” One of the all-time greats and fellow German, Boris Becker, had this to say about Zverev in an interview with the Guardian:
“It’s not only the fact he has beaten the world No. 1 and Roger Federer, it’s the way he carries himself. He understands the responsibility that title has and he has done a great job with it.”
When a tennis player as accomplished as Becker takes notice of a player, it’s time for the rest of the world to do the same.