The days of teenagers winning grand slams on the ATP World Tour seems to be a thing of the past. A couple of Americans, Pete Sampras and Andy Roddick, were able to win the U.S. Open at young ages: Sampras won at 19, while Roddick won in the Big Apple after just turning 21.
While this can certainly still be done, it won’t come easy.
On the ATP World Tour, most players find their greatest success after they turn 23. The Top Three players in the world—Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray—are all either 24 or 25, and there is not a single player under the age of 23 in the Top 20.
The supreme dominance of the Top Four players has been astounding. As if Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were not making it tough enough for other players to win grand slams, now Novak Djokovic has made it that much tougher: Djokovic, Nadal and Federer have won all but two of the past 30 grand slams.
Winning a grand slam is harder than ever before, and no one knows that better than Andy Murray. Murray, as talented as he is, has not been able to win a single grand slam event. To think that a teenager would be able to knock off more than one of these guys in the same tournament is almost unimaginable.
However, there are a number of young guns that possess big games. As they gain valuable match experience, they will continue to climb the rankings. Many of these young players have already shown great results, but have not quite broken through.
You do not make your way to the top overnight. Players take time to mature, both physically and mentally. It was not too long ago that Novak Djokovic was just like these guys, improving his game while working his way up the rankings. Now, Djokovic is the king of tennis.
Here are seven up-and-coming players that are poised to make a run to the top.