The older a wine is, the better it’s get, that’s exactly the case of some tennis superstars both in the ATP and the WTA ranks. However, no matter how good these sets of players are, the reality is that some of them are now in the twilight of their careers.
That said, for every professional sport there would surely be a change of guard at some point, in the world of tennis though the likes of Rafeal Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Roger Federer to some extent are still very much active and dispatching their opponents on the court with lot of dexterity and confidence, except in one or two cases that the unthinkable happened and they got beaten.
Having said that, their longevity in tennis is certainly going to come to an end as some would be retiring soon. So with that playing on in every tennis enthusiast minds, let’s look at the top five players both from the ATP and WTA that would take over from the veterans.
ATP & WTA Tennis Youngsters To Watch Out For In Years To Come
Carlos Alcarez – (Spain, Ranking 127)
The wait for another Nadal after retiring might not really affect the tennis enthusiast, especially the with the young Spaniard now in town as the young Nadal in tennis who also play quality tennis just like his idol.
At the age of 16, Alcarez made his ATP main draw debut at the 2020 Rio Open, defeating fellow countryman and former world number one Albert Ramos Vinolas in three hours and 36 mintues after receiving a wildcard for the singles main draw.
Despite what the year 2020 served the sporting world due to the virus, the Spaniard was able to move up 350 spots in rankings by the end of year moving from 491 to 141, even reaching a career high of 136 that same year. Following the restart of the season in August, Alcarez went from 20-4 in the Challenger events and went on to win three titles at Trieste, Barcelona and Alicante as well as playing in the final at Cordenons.
Alcarez was also named the ATP’s newcomer of the year following an impressive outings in all of the tournaments he participated in. At the age of 17, he qualified for the main draw of the 2021 Australian Open making him the youngest participant in the tournament in Men’s Singles.
He proved himself worthy on his Grand Slam debut by beating fellow qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp in straight sets, and with the current ranking for February, 2021 the Spaniard is ranked 127 another big push in the year for Alcarez. The Spaniard trajectory so far, has suggested he’s one player to watch out for especially with his career highlight winning three ATP Challenger titles, and three ITF future titles.
Leyhah Fernandez – (Canada, Ranking 86)
The 18 year old Canadian tennis player Leyhah is one of the player to really watch out for. Leyhah started her junior career in 2019 in the Australian Open Girl’s Singles final, where she lost to the top seeded Clara Tauson.
She continues her trajectory in the French Open Girl’s Singles final to become the first Canadian female winner of a junior Grand Slam title since Eugenie Bouchard at the 2012 Wimbledon. 2019 proved to be her breakthrough year, when she won her first professional singles title defeating fellow Canadian Carson Branstine in the final of the Gatineau National Bank ITF Challenger.
Fernandez also won her first professional doubles title on the same date when she teamed with Rebecca Marino, the pair defeated the second seeded team of Marcela Xacarias of Mexico and Hsu Chieh-Yu of Taiwan. To crown it up, the following week she made her second consecutive ITF final in Granby, but lost to Lizzette Cabrera.
She made her major main draw debut at the Australian Open in January, a year after winning her junior title but it was what she did in the weeks following the tournament that raised tennis enthusiast eyebrow. Following her lost in the first round, the Canadian scored her first win over a top 10 ranked player, Belinda Bencic while representing Canada in the Fed Cup.
Fernandez has also had great moments that gives tennis fans a glimpse of what to expect from the young Canadian player, winning six matches in seven days as wildcard qualifier in the Mexico Open, where he got to the final losing to Heather Watson. She also had a decent 2017 in the US Open, defeating Sloane Stephens in the second round.
The Canadian is currently rank 86 in the world, should she continue dishing out brilliant performances on the court it’s just a matter of time before reaching the top 10, which she hope she would achieve by the end of the year.
Jannik Sinner – (Italy, Ranking 34)
Sinner was virtually unknown at the start of 2019, but he has already climbed into the top 100 and looks the ideal player that could take over from the old guard. After his breakthrough in the 2019 season in which he cracked the top 100, and even went ahead to win the Next Generation ATP finals and was named ATP newcomer of the year, it was clear he’s one of the tennis player to watch out for in coming years.
The young Italian further announced himself to the world when he defeated Gael Monfils in straight sets at the European Open in Antwerp in 2020. After his triumph in Antwerp, Sinner notched his first top 10 victory over David Goffin as a wildcard player at the Rotherham Open, and earned himself another victory against Tsitsipas in September.
Sinner French Open performances was where he truly had his best, as he became the youngest male player to reach the quarter finals at the tournament since Djokovic in 2016 and the first to do so in his Roland Garros debut since Rafael Nadal in 2005.
At 19 the Italian has already had a career high of quarterfinals, 2020 French Open, Champion in 2020 Sofia Open, and 2019 Next Gen ATP finals. With the current ranking for the year 2021, Sinner is rank 34 in the world and should he continue with his impressive trajectory then the tennis world should expect another brilliant player on the court in the years to come.
Iga Swiatek – (Poland, Ranking 15)
To say Swiatek is the next big thing after Naomi Osaka you won’t be wrong, because the Polish has shown she could deliver on the biggest stage when she surprised many in 2020 at the French Open when she went on to win the title against all odd. She delivered an incredible performances that got many fell in love with her style of play.
Swiatek, having never gone past the fourth round at a major tournament, and after two years of winning the junior doubles titles at the Roland Garros with fellow player Caty McNelly. She arrived at the French Open ranked 54 in the world, coming off a first round loss at the Italian Open, the Polish did the unthinkable and went on to win her first title.
The French Open Champion also continue her upward trajectory this year at the Adelaide International, when she cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 win in a complete dominant against Belinda Bencic to win her second career WTA title. As a result of her triumph in Adelaide, Swiatek move to a career high 15th in the latest world rankings a great feat that further buttress the fact that she’s one of the names to be on the look out for.
Following her great performances this year, the 19 year old Polish has said she wants to be consistent just like great player like Nadal, Djokovic and Roger. Apparently, it would be quite hard to achieve that but with hard work and dedication she could achieve that.
Dayana Yastremska – (Ukraine, Ranking 29)
Yastremska just like her contemporaries also had a fruitful junior career, as such it didn’t take long before she rise up to the WTA ranks. The Ukrainian won her first tournament as an 18 year old in 2018, and followed that up with two more titles in 2019 as well as third round appearances in Melbourne and New York and a round 16 finish at Wimbledon.
Yastremska ended the 2019 season on a brilliant note with a career high rank of 22 in the world, and also earned a spot at the year end WTA Elite event. Her 2020 was also filled with great success, she opened the year with three consecutive triumphs over top ranked player like Donna Vekic, Aryna Sabalenka, Angelique Kerber, to make the final at Adelaide before the pandemic happened.
The Ukrainian has a career highlight many players would be jealous off, she got a fourth round finish at the Wimbledon in 2019, Champions in Hong Kong 2018, 2019 in Hua Hin, and 2019 in Strasbourg. Should Yastremska continue with her rise, couple with consistency, hard work and dedication then she would compete favorably as one of the players to replace the old guard.
These set of youngsters are those we feel could be the next big thing in tennis, in years to come. Feel free to add yours if you know of any player.