Is there going to be a 'Next Gen' Grand Slam winner in 2020?

It has been a total show of raw dominance from the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, for a long time in men's tennis. 

Even though new players have showcased their talent and potential, they have not been able to make it count at the biggest stage, a Grand Slam final win, for instance. 

But Daniil Medvedev's impressively challenging performance against Nadal at the recently concluded 2019 US Open, sparked a debate as to whether or not there would be a 'Next Gen' winner in the next year.

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Courtesy: The Telegraph

2020 really could be the breakthrough year for the likes of Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Karen Khachanov and Medvedev. 

They have all come close to winning a Slam, but until they actually hold aloft one of those four great trophies, they will always be seen as the 'what-could-have-beens' in men's tennis.

Players like Felix Auger-Aliassime, Dennis Shapovalov, Frances Tiafoe and Cristian Garin are all capable of producing incredible performances on the ATP Tour against the very best players and 2020 will undoubtedly bring more of those moments. 

We are lucky enough to be at a time where we have literally three generations of tennis players playing together.

Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have been so dominant in Grand Slams that very talented younger players haven't had a chance to win a major trophy for years now. But, sooner or later they will win a Grand Slam title as the big 3 era is gonna come to an end whether they like it or not.

For 15 years the favourite of winning the next Grand Slam has been either Federer, Nadal or Djokovic. The dominance of the Big Three in men’s tennis is unique compared to other sports. 

The combined achievement is so impressive that it is hard to phrase in words or numbers. But now there are vague signs that this dominance is about to change and 2020 may be the year when the Dynasty finally starts to crack. 

Image result for big three tennis"
Courtesy: Cracked Racquets

Nothing lasts forever, not even Federer who is now 38, and cannot be expected to go on for much more than a year. He has repeatedly said that he wants to keep playing for as long as his body allows him to compete on the highest level.

Is 2020 the year when we have to say goodbye to the Swiss great?

The King of Clay has had a surprisingly strong year, winning two Slams and two Masters titles. Nadal is the World Number 1 now, and is just one Slam behind Federer and must be considered the favourite to win the 13th title at Roland Garros next year. 

But his physical playing style and the frequent injuries is a strenuous companion. Can he stay fit for another season?

Djokovic had held a firm grip of the top stop of the ranking for a year. But the 'Djoker' has previously shown signs of mental instability, most notably in 2017, but also in the matches following after the Wimbledon title. Can he keep the focus and stay fit during 2020?

The 15 year crusade of the Big Three has created a lost generation of tennis, often symbolised by players around their 30s such as Grigor Dimitrov, Kei Nishikori and David Goffin. 

But after the Lost Generation comes the Next Generation and they represent a new type of players: tall, athletic, aggressive, hungry and full of promises.

Danii Medvedev was an inch away from beating Nadal in the US Open final 2019. He is perhaps the brightest shining star of the next generation and is currently ranked 4th. 

Image result for medvedev us open 2019"
Courtesy: US Open

Other rising stars are Stefanos Tsitsipas and Karen Khachanov whose breakthroughs came in 2018. Alexander Zverev had his breakthrough in 2017 and have since then claimed a high ranking position outside the three giants. 

Another expected challenger is the very talented and athletic 19 year old Felix Auger-Aliassime who has already upset some high-ranked players. 

Dominic Thiem has been very successful on clay for many years. He has lost two consecutive GS finals against Nadal at Roland Garros but many believe that 2020 is the year when this will change.

One thing is for certain, the first 'Next Gen' player who wins a Grand Slam will shake the foundations of men’s tennis and change the game forever. This event will open up the field for new players but it will also mark the beginning of the end of a long era.

Whether it would happen in 2020 is yet to be seen, but there are strong undercurrents that might pave for a Next Gen Slam win. But, for now, it's time to wait and watch!


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