Tennis, like most sports, is all about forward thinking and discovering the stars of the future. While we will always delight in another delightfully placed Roger Federer forehand winner, there perpetually remains this interest surrounding the next generation of rising stars; the players whose future beckon brightly and inspire us with the dreams of tomorrow. Here are some key youngsters that made bold moves forward in 2014 and could be poised to win many Grand Slams in the near future:
Simona Halep – After a strong 2013 that saw her soar up the rankings, the 22-year-old finally broke into the world’s elite this year, reaching the French Open Final and the later stages of both the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Now ranked 2nd in the world, it likely seems to be just a matter of time before she earns a major title.
Kei Nishikori – at 24, this rising Japanese hero recently became the first Asian man to grace a Grand Slam Final when he soared through the US Open. While he ultimately fell short of his goal (to another rising star…), Nishikori has made a strong statement of intent and will be leading the charge for an entire continent!
CiCi Bellis – While her US Open run lasted just two matches, the 15-year-old made a huge splash in New York, defeating the 13th ranked Dominika Cibulkova in the first round. Still just a child, we’ll have to wait and see if Bellis can truly develop into a world class star, but for a player that young to beat a top opponent is outrageous, and her passionate and excited play on the court suggest she is ready to burst onto the WTA scene.
Marin Cilic – After a relatively uninspiring young career, the 25-year-old finally came through last month, claiming the 2014 US Open. With a mighty frame and a passion to win, Cilic has finally gotten into a groove, and could certainly begin to rattle the established core of men’s tennis stars, with a bit of belief behind his racket following his emergence.
Eugenie Bouchard – Ranked 7th in the world following a dazzling run to the Wimbledon Final, the 20-year-old Canadian has been knocking at the door all year, reaching semifinals of the French Open and Australian Open. An aggressive player, she is clearly hungry for glory, and I suspect she’ll get just that sooner rather than later.
Nick Kygrios – At just 19, the youngster fought to the Wimbledon quarterfinals this year, using his impressive size to power through Rafael Nadal and Richard Gasguet. Such results alone suggest he’s ready to contend, and I expect 2015 could possibly be a tremendous year for this rising star from Australia.