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Jannik Sinner Roland Garros 2021

Australian Open: Eight top young ATP talents who could win first major


There can be on question that men’s tennis heads into the Australian Open on the cusp of a new era. Carlos Alcaraz has already proven it. 

The 19-year-old Spaniard won’t be in Melbourne due to injury, but he showed tennis is changing by winning the US Open in September and ascending to world number one.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will have plenty to say about that, of course, but both are in their mid-30s now, even if the Serbian especially is still looking as good as ever.

Roger Federer retired earlier this year to truly mark the end of an era, so who are the young ATP talents vying to follow in Alcaraz’s footsteps at the Australian Open?

Jannik Sinner

Age: 21
Best Australian Open: QF (2022)

There probably isn’t any such thing as a sure thing in tennis, but Jannik Sinner is about as close as we can get. The Italian has been steadily improving and in 2022 made some big leaps too after adding Darren Cahill to his team. Matter of when, not it, he wins a major.

Holger Rune

Age: 19
Best Australian Open: R1 (2022)

The Dane is one of the biggest rising stars in the ATP right now and he has already broken into the world top ten after winning the Paris Masters, beating Novak Djokovic in the final no less. Rune has a lot of pedigree as a former boys’ French Open champion and ITF junior world number one.

Felix Auger-Aliassime

Felix Auger-Aliassime Cincinnati Open 2022

Age: 22
Best Australian Open: QF (2022)

Tennis has known about the talent of Felix Auger-Aliassime for a few years now, but he is only now starting to piece his game together into the special package we always expected to see. Produced a 17-match winning streak late this year to underline his quality.

Lorenzo Musetti

Age: 20
Best Australian Open: R1 (2022)

In an era of power powers, Musetti is a throwback to finesse. That means he is perhaps taking a little longer to develop than the likes of Alcaraz and Rune, and he needs to learn how to pick his attempted winners much more selectively than he currently does. However, in terms of raw talent he is up there with anyone, and his one-handed driven backhand is a thing of genuine beauty.

Jack Draper

Jack Draper US Open ATP 2022

Age: 20
Best Australian Open: N/A

Great Britain have been waiting for another male tennis star to follow the trail blazed by Andy Murray, and in Draper it looks like they could have one. The left-hander some big shots and 2022 provided tantalising signs that he is starting to put them together to form an even bigger game.

Brandon Nakashima

Age: 21
Best Australian Open: R1 (2022)

There are signs that men’s tennis in the US is starting to stir again, and Brendon Nakashima could end up leading the charge. The 21-year-old won the NextGen Finals this year, following in the footsteps of Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner and Stefanos Tsitsipas, so no one should be taking him lightly.

Sebastian Korda

Sebastian Korda Indian Wells 2022

Age: 22
Best Australian Open: R3 (2022)

If Sebastian Korda is going to come through and cause a stir at any Grand Slam, it feels inevitable that it will be the Australian Open. His father Petr Korda won it in 1998 and 20 years later Sebastian was crowned the junior champion. Add in a little coaching from four-time Australian Open champion Andre Agassi, as well as his own huge talent, and anything can happen.

Alex de Minaur

Age: 23
Best Australian Open: R4 (2022)

The 2022 Australian Open saw a Aussie women’s champion for the first time in more than 40 years. Could it be the men’s turn to break the near half0century hoodoo this time? If it happens it will be Nick Kyrgios most likely to do it, but Alex de Minaur has an outside chance too. His relentless running and supreme speed will make him a nightmare opponent for many in the Melbourne heat.

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