The Swiss ace Roger Federer, the Spanish wizard Rafael Nadal and the Special Serb Novak Djokovic make up the Big 3 of tennis and that has come to describe the current generation of the sport. They have held a monopoly on the big-name tournaments. The Big Three’s presentation at many events is unparalleled.
In the Open Era, have we seen another group of players dominate tennis the way this group has? The answer is certainly ‘No’. But yes, there are young prodigies who are ready to challenge Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.
The above table depicts the sheer frequency of individual tournament titles won by the trio exemplifying their high consistency. But today, let us check the six players ready to challenge Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.
#6 Felix Auger Aliassime
A hard name to spell but his game is not that hard! This wonder-kid from Canada is just 19! With one of the flattest fades, the 6ft 4in talent from Montreal has the coolest look in tennis. Ranked at 18 in the singles title, he is also currently the youngest player ranked within the ATP top 100.
Felix’s impossibly elegant footwork and efficient stroke production place him on the list of future Grand Slam winners. This year, the young lad reached two finals on clay and made it to the semifinals at the Miami Open, on hard court. Though he has a long way to go in the career, he can be considered as one of the challengers to the Big Three.
#5 Matteo Berrettini
Matteo Berrettini who hails from Rome, Italy is sort of a stranger to the big stage. The 23-year-old made his debut at a Major at last year’s Australian Open. Ranked currently at 11 in the world, the young gun is among the six players ready to challenge Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. Compared with Alexander Zverev and other NextGen tennis stars who are also born after 1995 but became famous early on, Berrettini is the best instance of “a late bloomer”. Mixing his serve and his powerful forehand, Matteo Berrettini will always play well in his own service games.
#4 Stefanos Tsitsipas
A Greek professional with three Titles in his kitty is seventh in the world rankings. The 21-year-old Greek is just one of the many top 10 best young tennis players to watch in men’s singles. Tennis runs in his blood. His mother was a professional on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tour and his father was trained as a tennis coach too. He took the game at the tender age of six. He was ranked No 1 in the world junior group.
An aggressive baseliner who aims to hit influential groundstroke winners, has a particularly robust forehand. The young man who defeated Roger Federer at Australian Open (2018) has grabbed the attention of the world now. He is one of the six players ready to challenge Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.
#3 Alexander Zverev
The German international who has won 11 ATP titles in singles and two in doubles! He is none other than Alexander Zverev. The 23-year-old sits sixth in the world ranking. Zverev is the man who can generate a lot of power with both his backhand as well as with forehand. His backhand, in particular, is regarded as his strength and one of the best in the play.
It’s been a rather intriguing year for the German. He’s won only one tournament so far and has suffered through a number of early-round losses, including both of the grass-court events he’s entered. However, this man of the future has the potential to dominate the world of tennis and is one of the strong challengers to the Big 3.
#2 Dominic Thiem
Welcome the Austrian on the list! Dominic Thiem has a scorching forehand that makes a sound like a bomb coming from his racket and his sounds are just as flamboyant. The world number 5 has been coached by famous tennis coach Gunter Bresnik since age nine. Over the years, Thiem is recognised as one of the game’s best clay-court players, with back-to-back French Open finals on his CV.
The most memorable breakthrough maybe, when he beat Federer in the Indian Wells final for the biggest title of his career. The 26-year-old, who is regarded as the second-best clay-court player today, after Spaniard Rafael Nadal, has yet to prove his noisy game. But many tennis experts think that he is the one who can rule the clay court for years in the future.
#1 Daniil Medvedev
Believe it or not, this 23-year-old Russian can simply flat-line a tennis ball. Not sure? One can ask Novak Djokovic, who faced him in the Cincinnati Masters (August 2019). Djokovic hailed Medvedev as a ‘very complete’ player.
Daniil’s game is centred on un-attackable in long baseline rallies, courtesy: his long, low bouncing and sharp groundstrokes. The Russian is capable of taking shot up the line with pace as well as trading cross court and his slice is effective too. With current ranking 4, Daniil Medvedev is the top contender in the list who can surpass many records of biggies such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray.