Tennis After Federer-Nadal: Where Are The Teenagers?

Tom HCorrespondent IOctober 12, 2010

What happens to the teenage sensation of years past ?

Surely no American could forget those good years, when three American (Sampras, Agassi, Chang) were all in the top 10 before their 20th birthday, and two of them were Slam champions.  As a bonus, Jim Courier was in top 30 before his 20th birthday.

The American players enjoyed a relatively long period (about 10 years) before the next crop of teenagers started to make a splash.  These were Leyton Hewitt, Roddick, Federer, Safin, Nalbandian.  This group was not as impressive as their American teenage predecessors, but still, Hewitt was top 8, Roddick, top 20, Safin and Federer, top 30, and Nalbandian, top 50 before their 20th birthday.

Federer broke away from this group, but not too long afterward (only five years later), another crop of teenagers were hot on his heel.  Nadal was ranked number 2 at 19, Murray, Djokovic, and Gasquet, top 20, and Del Potro, top 50.

Nadal broke away from this group and presented formidable challenge to Federer and is currently ranked number 1 and dwarfed his teenage contemporaries in Slam wins, much as Federer had done before.

But the supply of top notched teeange players seems to have run out, at least for the moment.  Can you name a teenager in the top 20 ? How about top 50 ? How about top 100 ? No, you would have to go all the way to number 136 to find Grigor Dimitrov.  

This might benefit Nadal as he makes a go at Federer's record, but does this mean the ATP is going the way of the WTA after Nadal's generation hangs it up, or it just takes longer for players to mature these days ?  Let's hope for the latter.

Related

    He coached Sloane Stephens to a US Open title, but Kamau Murray’s big goal is a youth tennis center in Chicago He’s creating a pipeline of black tennis talent

    Tennis logo
    Tennis

    He coached Sloane Stephens to a US Open title, but Kamau Murray’s big goal is a youth tennis center in Chicago He’s creating a pipeline of black tennis talent

    David Mendell
    via The Undefeated

    Dubai Duty Free Championships: Garbine Muguruza through to semi-finals

    Tennis logo
    Tennis

    Dubai Duty Free Championships: Garbine Muguruza through to semi-finals

    BBC Sport
    via BBC Sport

    Table tennis trickery, Bobby Moore on street football and showboating | Classic YouTube

    Tennis logo
    Tennis

    Table tennis trickery, Bobby Moore on street football and showboating | Classic YouTube

    Guardian sport
    via the Guardian

    Johanna Konta beaten in the last 16 of the Dubai Duty Free Championships

    Tennis logo
    Tennis

    Johanna Konta beaten in the last 16 of the Dubai Duty Free Championships

    BBC Sport
    via BBC Sport