Thiago Monteiro is currently ranked 677th in the world. For that reason alone, few tennis fans will know who he is.
However, the young Brazilian has shown marked improvement lately as he won his first futures title earlier this month at the Brazil F38 event.
With that title, Monteiro claimed $1300 in prize money. Perhaps more importantly, he claimed 18 ranking points.
Prior to his title, he was ranked on the very outermost fringes of the ATP rankings. However, with those 18 ranking points earned, he catapulted over nearly 300 players to break the Top 700.
While Monteiro will need time to develop before he can challenge players at the tour level, there is reason to be aware of him if you are a tennis fan.
He was born on May 31st, 1994. To be exact, he is currently 17 years, five months and 21 days old.
I did some research, and Monteiro's age/ranking correlation is currently better than that of both of the following current Top 10 players:
David Ferrer: Ferrer, the current world number five, did not enter the rankings until a day after his 18th birthday. He cracked the Top 700 a couple months later in June of 2000.
Mardy Fish: Fish, the current world number eight, was not ranked when he was 17 years and six months old. He was about 18 years old and six months when he cracked the Top 700.
The rest of the current Top 10 were ranked higher than 677th when they were about 17 years and six months old. These include Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Even so, Monteiro is starting to break out and he looks like one of the more talented players who was born in the year 1994.
However, Monteiro did almost nothing for the majority of 2011. The recent futures title actually came out of the blue.
Perhaps Brazil has an emerging talent on their hands—one that will be a major force at the challenger level in 2012 and 2013, with eyes on 250 level titles on tour in 2014.