Tennis, as a sport, has seen many legends ruling the charts over the years. And, in the modern age, the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have undoubtedly emerged as a cut above the rest.
But, as all good things come to an end, the trio of these superstars, too, have faced hardships in recent times. From injury concerns to slump in form, the likes of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are still the players to beat. But, it's safe to say, they are no longer 'the invincibles' they once were.
The ongoing Australian Open has once again sparked the great debate whether ageing Federer can still continue to prove his mettle following his Round of 16 loss to a 20-year-old. It also turned our focus on the next generation superstars who can very well go on to replace the old guard in the sport.
Here's a look at four upcoming talents who can enthrall tennis fans as new-age superstars:Stefanos Tsitsipas
Back in 2001, when a young Federer defeated Sampras in Wimbledon, it was termed as the change of guard. And now, another change of guard is in the offing as the young Stefanos Tsitsipas stunned Federer in the fourth round of the Australian Open 4th yesterday.
The Greek had become the talk of the town after he defeated four players amongst the Top 10 in Rogers Cup last summer. He began his charge by beating No. 8 Dominic Thiem in the second round. Then, it was No. 10 Novak Djokovic, No. 3 Alexander Zverev and sixth seed Kevin Anderson who all ran into a resilient Tsitsipas. His commendable run finally came to an end in the summit clash where he was defeated by king of clay Rafael Nadal. But, despite his defeat, the youngster undoubtedly made a mark with a fine showing.
Now, in the Australian Open, the 21-year-old is looking to repeat his heroics as he reached the Quarter-finals.
His triumph over the 'Swiss ace' highlighted his capabilities on the court. And, for the sake of tennis, let's hope he continues to perform with same enthusiasm in times ahead and keeps surprising us with his talent.Frances Tiafoe
Frances Tiafoe, definitely the most unpredictable entry to the list, sent shockwaves across the tennis fraternity after he got the better of proven stars such as Juan Martin Del Potro and Alexander Zverev in recent past.
Recently turned 21, Tiafoe, continued his fine form in the Australian Open as he recorded a stunning win over fifth seed Kevin Anderson in the first round, earning the ticket to the Quarter-finals on his 21st birthday by defeating Grigor Dimitrov in the 4th round.
Recent burst of the young American with an arsenal of screaming forehands and blistering serves, surely puts him into consideration for the next big thing in tennis.Denis Shapovalov
A possible Next Gen star, Denis Shapovalov has enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2017. From making his mark at the age of 16, by winning biggest prestige in tennis, The Wimbledon (Junior's), to later defeating stars like Rafael Nadal and Del Potro, the 19-year-old lad has achieved a hell lot at his age. His win over Nadal came in Rogers Cup in front of his home crowd, where he became the youngest player to reach a Masters semi-final; later delighting the New York crowd when he reached The US Open fourth round.
The tennis pundits even declared him the third favourite to win at the Flushing Meadows after he entered the last 16.
Despite having a bad form over the past 6 months, he still has achieved a lot at his age and is expected to be in the big four of the Next Gen.Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev had a dream end to the year 2018, defeating Novak Djokovic to win his first World Tour Finals. Being World No. 4 at the age of 21 is surely not a fluke, rather it's pure determination and hard work which has brought him to this point this soon. Winning 10 ATP titles and reaching a career-high ranking of World No. 3, he has surely been after the big four ever since he entered the tour. Despite being the newbie, he has been singled out by many players and commentators, as one of the apparent heirs to the Big 4 and a future World No. 1.
Although he has proven his mettle a lot of times, the department he still lacks in is performing in Grand Slams. Being the World No. 4, his highest achievement in Grand Slams is being the Quarter-final finish at the Roland Garros in 2018. Even this time in Australian Open, he lost to Milos Raonic in the 4th round itself. Keeping all that aside, Zverev has been a hard-hitting baseline player and is equally good at the net as well. Defeating players like Djokovic and Federer numerous times, one thing can be assured off, that this player is surely the next big thing in tennis world.