Men's tennis has been dominated by the big three for some time now and the question that is continually asked is if any up and coming youngsters that can break the strangle hold that Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have had on the game in recent years?
Of the past 27 Grand Slams, these three players have accounted for 26 victories, with only Juan Martin del Potro able to upset the trio when winning the 2009 US Open. A stat that must be daunting for any youngster trying to make a name for himself in the game
It took time for Nadal and more recently Djokovic to overtake Roger Federer, so imagine how difficult it will be for any new emerging talent to overtake those three, particularly when Federer, despite his 16 Grand Slam titles, still seems hungry for more.
Here are five names of male tennis players that are moving in the right direction and have a reason to be optimistic in the 2012 season.
This 22-year-old player from the Ukraine has moved up to No. 16 in the ATP rankings, due to good performances at the Australian Open last year, where he made the last eight, achieving the same position in the recent Shanghai 1000 Masters.
He also won his first professional title when he defeated, Marin Cilic in the final of the Croatia Open in July and can continue where he left off in 2012.
Originally from Montenegro this 20-year-old made a big impression at the 2010 Australian Open, reaching the last 16. He got there by defeating two seeded players, Michael Llodra and Mikhail Youzhny, before eventually succumbing to Spaniard, David Ferrer.
The 2011 season saw him win his first ATP title, when he defeated Fernando Verdasco in the final at the San Jose Open, which he followed up a week later by losing to Andy Roddick in the final of the Memphis Open.
A player clearly making strides it is only a matter of time before Milos Raonic makes an impact at a big tournament.
At 21 years old, Nishikori could be the best player produced by Japan in many years. He won his first tournament in 2008, when he beat American James Blake, in the Delray Beach International. He has also made a final this year and was the runner up to Ryan Sweeting, in the US Men's Clay Court Championship in April.
He has yet to make a big impression in a Grand Slam tournament, but he did make the 4th round of the US Open in 2008, the third rounds of the US Open in 2010 and the Australian Open in 2011.
His best performance however, was his semifinal place he reached in the ATP 1000 Shanghai Masters last month. He was beat by Andy Murray in two straight sets, but he showed signs of a return to the kind of form he showed when first breaking on to the scene, so 2012 could be a big year for Nishikori.
Tomic, now a naturalised Australian, will be remembered mostly for his excellent performances at Wimbledon earlier this year, where he was beaten in the quarterfinal by Djokovic, who went on to win the title.
At just 19 years old, Tomic still has a long way to go to become established on the ATP tour, but he is highly rated by fellow professional’s and it should not be too long before he wins a first ATP title.
Left-hander, Donald Young, came to serious prominence after his excellent run at the US Open this year where the 22-year-old made the last 16, before being eliminated by Murray.
He also lost to Murray in early October this year, in the final of the Thailand Open, but on both occasions he proved that he may have what it takes to win his first ATP title in 2012 to add to the five titles he has won on the Challenger tour.
Young is a player who has made big strides in 2011 and similar improvement in 2012 should see him climb the rankings.