The US Open is about to begin and several of the most notable names on the men’s side are out. Others (Federer and Nadal) are still taking up the top seeds. While some of the best to ever play the game are still winning, there is a new generation of players working hard to climb the rankings. Here are the top players who can make a splash in this year’s US Open.
Shapovalov burst onto the scene in Montreal during the Rogers Cup when he surprised several top players in route to the semi final. The young Canadian opened eyes with notable wins over Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal, and Adrian Mannarino. Playin gin his home country, the lefty electrified the crowd with a barrage of aces and winners. What made Shapovalov particularly entertaining to watch was his ability to hit winners off both wings from seemingly anywhere on the court.
What makes Shapovalov an interesting watch in the US Open this year is that we’ve seen him at probably his best in Montreal, but can he maintain that level? Prior to his breakthrough he was playing challenger tournaments and was ranked well outside the top 100. For this reason, nobody knows quite what to expect from him in this tournament. Making things even more fascinating is that his first round match is against fellow Next Gen player Danil Medvedev. If Shapovalov does make it a few rounds, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will most likely be waiting for him in the third round.
Looking for the next top American tennis player? It could very well be Jared Donaldson. Donaldson made his first major appearance at the US Open in 2014 and has been slowly climbing the rankings ever since. Now ranked 51st in the world he has gained entrance into every major this year and posted his best result at Wimbledon with a third round finish.
There’s reason to be optimistic that Donaldson can continue to rise given his performance in the Western & Southern Open where he defeated David Goffin in the first round and made it to the quarterfinal. Donaldson eventually went out in a close two set match to fellow American John Isner. If the 20 year old keeps playing like he has been, he could crack the top 30 in the next few years.
Karen Khachanov made his major debut in the US Open last year and hopes to surpass his second round finish from a year ago. This year, he made it past the first round in all three majors played and made it to the fourth round of the French. In Cincinnati Khatchanov had a surprising lost to Sugita from Japan but looks to rebound in the US Open where he has a nice draw. If the seeds hold true, Khachanov will have a third round date with 17th seeded Sam Querrey.
Out of the Next Gen players, Khachanov is the second highest ranked at 29th in the world. In less than two years he has gone from a relative unknown to one of the top young players in the game. He is definitely someone to keep an eye on going forward.
By a wide margin, Alexander Zverev tops the list of top under 21 players. For over a year now tennis experts have been tabbing Zverev as not only a top 25 player but a future number one. This year, his best major finish was the fourth round at Wimbledon where he lost a tough five set match to Milos Raonic.
Zverev has had a great summer in which he climbed the rankings all the way to a four seed at the US Open. In addition to his high ranking, Zverev has the distinction of the only man on tour to win two Masters 1,000 events this year not named Nadal or Federer.
With a bevy of top players withdrawing from the US Open including Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, Zverev has a great chance to make some noise and potentially even win his first major.
The big four have enjoyed unprecedented longevity at the top of the game. However, this may be the generation that finally dethrones the top players and turns the sport over to the new guard. Fans may see this process in action at this year’s US Open