2018 was great, 2019 is going to be better. These five caught imaginations from all over the world with their incredible tennis, fearless approach wide range of personalities.
Borna Coric – 22 – Ranked 12
A good year for Borna. He’s only 22. He has been around the tour for so long but this year has felt like a comeback. He has been through a lot on the tour of the last few years but this year in the Masters 1000’s he has found form. The target now is to go deep in a Grand Slam he has done it against big players with wins against Federer, Zverev and Del Potro this year as well as being an integrual part of Croatia’s Davis Cup win.
Stefanos Tsitsipas – 20 – Ranked 15
A very good year. Final in Toronto was the highlight for the Greek star who saw off Thiem, Djokovic, Zverev and Anderson with a stunning level of tennis to reach his first Masters final.
His fearless play off the forehand and backhand was a delight to watch when his season kick off around April time and the highlight of course being winning the Next Gen Finals in Italy as well as that performance against Djokovic.
The push? A run at a major now.
Alex De Minaur – 19 – Ranked 31
A good breakthrough year.
It started in Brisbane and ended with a final performance in Milan. His explosive tennis, personality and of course his movement which is sublime.
The next year is about building. There isn’t and should be no pressure on him, he is only 19 and this year he made two ATP finals.
I do predict a big future but let’s enjoy the journey!
Denis Shapovalov – 19 – Ranked 27
He had his big breakthrough in 2017 with that win against Nadal in Toronto.
2018 in all honesty was a bit flat. 29 tournaments and 5 quarter final appearances. The momentum just wasn’t there and if anything was slightly forgotten about this year.
Denis skipped the Next Gen finals in Milan at the end of the year due to exhaustion which was the official story but it will be interesting to see what he adapts his schedule to next year.
Karen Khachanov – 22 – Ranked 11
Quiet Karen has been making big noises in 2018.
The Russian doesn’t get spoken in the same breath as the other players but has quietly gone about his business over the course of the year but really hit the headlines in Toronto with a semi-final appearance there and then stunned the world with his incredible run at the Paris Masters seeing off Thiem, Zverev and Djokovic in straight sets as he lifted his first Masters 1000 title.
I’m expecting big things from Karen in 2019, there will be an added expectation and extra noise around him. I’m interested to see how he does in Melbourne having never made it past R2.