For many years the ATP has focused its efforts on finding a generation with which to replace the ‘Big 3’. First it was with the Dimitrov, Nishikori either Raonic with which it was intended to make believe that they would be able to compete face to face with them for the big tournaments.
However, at that time it was still very early and Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic Y Rafael Nadal continued to dominate the circuit with an iron fist and only two legends like andy murray Y Stan Wawrinka they were able to snatch some ‘major’ from them.
After these tennis players came the so-called ‘Next Gen‘, a batch of tennis players with a very aggressive game, based above all on power and physicality. Here many thought that the Zverev, tsitsipas, Medvedev either Shapovalov They would be the ones who would unseat the ‘Big Three’, since in the Masters 1000 they were getting some victory. On the other hand, in the Grand Slams they have not managed to be an alternative and except for Medvedev at the 2021 US Open, the others continue with their account at zero. Dominc Thiem’s 2020 could also be counted, although the Austrian did not become part of this generation.
THOSE OF THE XXI CENTURY ARE OF ANOTHER PASTE
Many generations had to pass before there was one capable of not shrinking from the challenge of facing the greatest legends of the king of racket sports. It is true that Roger Federer is already retired, but it is just as true that these youngsters face matches and tournaments with the conviction that they can beat anyone, in fact, there are several tennis players of the 21st century who are already considered more favorites than the first ‘Next Gen’.
In fact, the numbers do not lie and if we look at the growth of the players born in this century, we see that there are already 9 players among the top 100 in the ranking, including the number one in the world, Carlos Alcaraz. In addition to the Murcian, there are two other rackets in the top 20 (Rune and Sinner) and three more in the top 50, Musseti, Draper and Nakashima, recent winner of the Next Gen ATP Finals. The other three also in the top 100 are Lehecka, Tseng and Shelton, who has ruled the Challenger circuit for the past month and a half.
However, what is most surprising about these players are the giant steps they have taken in 2022. For example, Alcaraz has risen 31 places to reach number one, in what is the biggest rise to this position in history . Rune started the year outside the top 100 and is now one position away from reaching the top 10. But the incredible thing about all this is that there have been players capable of climbing even higher positions in their ranking, as is the case with Draper, which has climbed a total of 223 places to be near the top 40. Of course, the biggest rise has been that of the American Ben Shelton, who started the year outside the top 500 and is now number 97.
Despite these big climbs in the ranking, what stands out most about these players, led by Alcaraz, Rune and Sinner, is the way they play at their young age. All of them have self-confidence and an ability to get out of complex situations rarely seen in such young players. In fact, both Alcaraz at the US Open and Rune at Paris-Bercy had to save some match points during the tournament before lifting what is so far the most important title of their careers. The Murcian did it precisely against Sinner, while the Dane saved up to three match points in his first round match against Wawrinka.
Finally, we cannot forget that this generation of tennis players already knows what it is to defeat the previous one, for example Rune and Alcaraz have beaten Tsitsipas several times and also on different surfaces and both also already know what it is to beat a whole team. Novak Djokovic. Now, the next step for these players will be to go one step further in the Grand Slams, although for the moment many of them have already signed good results.