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Ranking the 10 Best Men's Tennis Players Under 23 Years Old

Jeffrey RuthFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2013

Ranking the 10 Best Men's Tennis Players Under 23 Years Old

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    At one point in their professional careers, the top-10 men's tennis players all shared one thing in common: they were under 23 years old.

    What today's champions had accomplished by that age is astounding. Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have been on top for so long it's hard to remember the era before them. Indeed, their results have squeezed today's youngsters right out of contention since then.

    For comparison purposes, look at what those four had done by their 23rd birthday:

    • Novak Djokovic ranked No. 4, won 16 titles including the Australian Open
    • Andy Murray ranked No. 2, won 14 titles including a final at the U.S. Open
    • Rafael Nadal ranked No. 1, won 31 titles including the Australian Open, Wimbledon and four French Opens
    • Roger Federer ranked No. 1, won 19 titles including the Australian Open and two Wimbledons

    The top-10 men's players under age 23 have yielded little to date when looking at those numbers. If there is a concern about the state of young American tennis players, there must exist just as much concern about young players in general.

    Here is the ranking of these up-and-coming men showing just what they have, or haven't accomplished.

     

No. 10 Pablo Carreño Busta

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    Pablo Carreño Busta is a clay-court specialist. According to his official ATP tour biography, he grew up idolizing Juan Carlos Ferrero, and now admires David Ferrer. His results, however, have not matched his talent.

    Unfortunately for Busta, his career has been somewhat derailed by a herniated disc in 2012 which required surgery, according to Nick Fishpool of ITFtennis.com.

    There is hope going into the U.S. Open, though. He is coming off a victory at the Challenger event in Segovia, Spain, which is played on a hard court. For that breakthrough, he gained 90 ATP points.

     

    Player Bio:

    • Born: July 12, 1991
    • Current Ranking: 90
    • Turned Pro: 2009
    • Nationality: Spanish

     

    Career Results:

    • Career-High Ranking: 90
    • Titles Won: 0
    • Best Grand Slam Result(s): First round French Open

No. 9 Jack Sock

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    Jack Sock is the most accomplished of up-and-coming American players.

    Thus far, his greatest accomplishment was his 2010 U.S. Open junior title, which raised hopes for United States tennis fans. Since then, though, the career of "J. Sizzle" has done nothing but fizzle. In his most recent tournament at the Rogers Cup he lost in the second round of qualifying.

     

    Player Bio:

    • Born: September 24, 1992
    • Current Ranking: 87
    • Turned Pro: 2011
    • Nationality: American

     

    Career Results:

    • Career-High Ranking: 84
    • Titles Won: 0
    • Best Grand Slam Result(s): R32 U.S. Open

No. 8 Andrey Kuznetsov

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    Andrey Kuznetsov is a player whose own ambition lets him down. According to his player profile for the ATP tour, he only wants to someday rank inside the top three.

    He did win the Wimbledon junior title in 2009. Despite that result, though, he hasn't managed to make it past the second round in the main draw and has yet to make a breakthrough anywhere.

     

    Player Bio:

    • Born: February 22, 1991
    • Current Ranking: 81
    • Turned Pro: 2008
    • Nationality: Russian

     

    Career Results:

    • Career-High Ranking: 68
    • Titles Won: 0
    • Best Grand Slam Result(s): R64 Australian Open, Wimbledon

No. 7 David Goffin

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    David Goffin has quite the claim to fame in this group. He was the first lucky loser to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam since Dick Norman's run in 1995. More amazingly, Goffin accomplished this in his first-ever main draw, in the 2012 French Open.

    As reported by Kevin Mitchell of The Guardian, when he eventually lost that year in Paris, his star still shone bright as he managed to take the first set from Roger Federer. He would lose 7-5, 5-7, 2-6, 4-6.

    Sadly, he has done a lot of losing since then.

     

    Player Bio:

    • Born: December 7, 1990
    • Current Ranking: 80
    • Turned Pro: 2009
    • Nationality: Belgian

     

    Career Results:

    • Career-High Ranking: 42
    • Titles Won: 0
    • Best Grand Slam Result(s): R16 French Open

No. 6 Jiří Veselý

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    has had a serious struggle in 2013.

    He has only played three matches in main draw ATP events, losing each one. His schedule has been filled by nine Challenger tournaments and four ATP Future's tourneys. What has helped his ranking and brought him to this list is the fact he won three of the Challenger events.

    All of them were on clay.

     

    Player Bio:

    • Born: July 10, 1993
    • Current Ranking: 78
    • Turned Pro: 2009
    • Nationality: Czech

     

    Career Results:

    • Career-High Ranking: 78
    • Titles Won: 0
    • Best Grand Slam Result(s): First round French Open

No. 5 Federico Delbonis

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    Federico Delbonis dreams of being No. 1. As seen a few slides ago, this is actually noteworthy, if not unexpected. In July 2013, he showed he has the game to back up that goal.

    FOXNews.com's headline said it all: "Delbonis stuns Federer in Hamburg semis."

    That week Delbonis also defeated Tommy Robredo and Fernando Verdasco, showcasing talent, not luck. He is 10-6 so far in 2013 main draw matches, and might be an interesting player to watch at the U.S. Open.

     

    Player Bio:

    • Born: October 5, 1990
    • Current Ranking: 59
    • Turned Pro: 2007
    • Nationality: Argentinian

     

    Career Results:

    • Career-High Ranking: 59
    • Titles Won: 0
    • Best Grand Slam Result(s): R64 French Open

No. 4 Bernard Tomic

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    Bernard Tomic is already a known quality through most of the world.

    As a junior, he was the youngest ever victor at the 2008 Australian Open, and also won the 2009 U.S. Open junior tournament. He is clearly comfortable with success.

    His most remarkable victory to date was his four-set dismissal of world No. 9 Richard Gasquet at the 2013 Wimbledon tournament. Unfortunately, all the headlines seemed to concentrate on his success as it related to his father's absence, such as the story by Ben Rumsby of The Telegraph.

     

    Player Bio:

    • October 21, 1992
    • Current Ranking: 42
    • Turned Pro: 2008
    • Nationality: Australian

     

    Career Results:

    • Career-High Ranking: 27
    • Titles Won: 1
    • Best Grand Slam Result(s): Quarterfinal Wimbledon 2011

No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov

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    Grigor Dimitrov also has two junior Grand Slam victories to his name: Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. As a professional, he showed tremendous versatility by advancing on the clay of Roland Garros all the way to the Round of 32.

    He is perhaps the most well-rounded of players under the age of 23.

    He also gains much respect among the world's media. According to Yeshayahu Ginsburg of Tennis Grandstand, not only did Dimitrov play well against Rafael Nadal in the 2013 Cincinnati Masters tournament, but would have easily won the match had the Mallorcan been just a bit off.

    Look for more good results from the Bulgarian.

     

    Player Bio:

    • Born: May 16, 1991
    • Current Ranking: 29
    • Turned Pro: 2008
    • Nationality: Bulgarian

     

    Career Results:

    • Career-High Ranking: 26
    • Titles Won: 0
    • Best Grand Slam Result(s): R32 French Open

No. 2 Jerzy Janowicz

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    Jerzy Janowicz made a huge splash at Wimbledon 2013.

    According to Sports Illustrated, he became the first Polish man to reach the semifinal of a Grand Slam. In doing so, he also defeated three players ranked within the top 50 in the world. Only eventual champion Andy Murray could do away with him, but Janowicz still won the first set.

    His 23-15 match record this year should only get better in the next three months.

     

    Player Bio:

    • November 13, 1990
    • Current Ranking: 14
    • Turned Pro: 2007
    • Nationality: Polish

     

    Career Results:

    • Career-High Ranking: 14
    • Titles Won: 0
    • Best Grand Slam Result(s): Semifinal Wimbledon

No. 1 Milos Raonic

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    Milos Raonic may be young, but he's not inexperienced. His ranking states the obvious.

    He is the real deal.

    Just ask Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic, both of whom fell to him this campaign. More telling is his win over del Potro at the Masters 1000 at the Rogers Cup. The pressure was on not only because of the size of the tournament and the points at stake, but he was playing in front of his own home fans.

    Raonic, in his post-match interview, claimed the fans' ovations didn't unnerve him or increase the pressure.

    If that is true, Raonic is on his way to moving on up.

     

    Player Bio:

    • Born: December 27, 1990
    • Current Ranking: 10
    • Turned Pro: 2008
    • Nationality: Canadian

     

    Career Results:

    • Career-High Ranking: 10
    • Titles Won: 4
    • Best Grand Slam Result(s): R16 Australian Open, U.S. Open

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