For years now, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have dominated the world of tennis. However, over the course of the last couple of years there have been several breakthrough players who have definitely got the old guard looking over their shoulders. Whilst the younger players are yet to make much of a dent in the way of Grand Slam titles, they have certainly started to make their presence felt, and the upcoming 2021 season could be the year that the next generation begin to push the likes of Nadal and Federer aside.
So, with the ATP Cup and the Australian Open just around the corner, let’s take a look at a number of players to keep an eye out for in the tennis odds throughout the course of the 2021 season.
Dominic Thiem – World No. 3
At 27 years of age, Dominc Thiem isn’t the youngest of players on our list, but what he does have on the others is experience, and last season was definitely the best year of his professional career thus far. The Austrian, who has climbed up to third in the ATP world rankings, started 2020 by reaching his first Australian Open final, but despite going 2-1 up against Djokovic, he was unable to secure the Grand Slam.
However, when the season restarted following the coronavirus enforced hiatus, Thiem was able to get his hands on a major title – the US Open. With defending champion Nadal withdrawing due to safety concerns and Djokovic disqualified for hitting a line judge with a ball, the door was blown wide open for those on the hunt for their first Grand Slam title and Thiem took advantage, coming back from two sets down to beat Alexander Zverev.
Alexander Zverev – World No. 7
That leads us nicely onto Zverev. The 23-year-old broke into the top 10 in the world back in 2017 and he has remained there ever since. It was in 2017 that the German actually started to make a name for himself. He stunned Djokovic and Federer in the Rome and Montreal ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, and he got the better of Thiem in 2018 to scoop his third title in Madrid, before going on to beat Djokovic in the finals.
Last season, Zverev reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open, where he lost to Thiem, before losing to the Austrian once again in his first Grand Slam final at the US Open’s Flushing Meadows. At only 23, there’s no doubt that the German still has his whole career ahead of him, but this year he will be hoping to build on those early career victories, and hopefully he can make his presence felt throughout the Tour on a more regular basis.
Daniil Medvedev – World No. 4
Daniil Medvedev shot onto the scene back in 2019, reaching six consecutive Tour finals, which included the US Open and a further three Masters 1000 showpieces. Like Zverev, the Russian has won three Masters 1000 titles, winning in Cincinnati and Shanghai in 2019, before beating the German in Paris last year, and going on to defeat Thiem in the London finals.
However, aside from that ATP Finals triumph, Medvedev would be disappointed with his Grand Slam performances. He exited the Australian Open in the fourth round before a disappointing first round defeat to World No. 55 Márton Fucsovics in the French Open. At the US Open, he failed to build upon his 2019 final appearance, losing to Thiem in semi-finals in straight sets.
Stefanos Tsitsipas – World No. 5
At just 22 years of age, Stefanos Tsitsipas is the youngest member of the top 10, whilst his World No. 5 status makes him the highest ranked Greek professional of all time. Don’t let his age fool you either, as he has already reached 10 Tour finals, winning five, including the ATP Finals in 2019, where he defeated Thiem to become the youngest player to win the tournament in almost 20 years. Last year, he largely failed to make an impact in the three Grand Slams, exiting the French and US Opens in the third round, but there was a promising run to the semi-finals of the French Open. Could this be the year that he finally makes his first Grand Slam final? Or even goes on to win one of the big four tournaments? We’ll just have to wait and see!