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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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Upcoming Young Players

As the season is reaching it's conclusion, I thought it would be interesting to look at some of the younger players who are largely plying their trade in Challengers, Futures, and Juniors. I compiled a list of players by birth year. It's an imperfect metric because it's a bit unfair to compare someone born in January 1987 to someone born on December 1987, but it's not like you can mathematically predict who will make it on the ATP Tour anyway.

Hopefully I didn't miss anyone, although I did this by hand. Ranks are as of Nov 13

Players born in 1986 who are currently in the top 400:
2. Rafael Nadal (ESP)
18. Richard Gasquet (FRA)
46. Gael Monfils (FRA)
156. Marcel Granollers (ESP)
176. Sergey Stakhovsky (UKR)
202. Denis Istomin (UZB)
211. Pablo Andujar (ESP)
238. Farrukh Dustov (UZB)
240. Andreas Beck (GER)
246. Viktor Troicki (SRB)
258. Phillip Simmonds (USA)
264. Pablo Cuevas (URU)
271. Mikhail Ledovskikh (RUS)
284. Scott Oudsema (USA)
306. Eduardo Schwank (ARG)
316. Jamie Baker (GBR)
340. Julian Reister (GER)
348. Brendan Evans (USA)
349. Grega Zemlja (SLO)
351. Scoville Jenkins (USA)
353. Bartolome Salva (ESP)
358. Woong-Sun Jun (KOR)
375. Kamil Capkovic (SVK)

I thought this was a pretty interesting list - it's kind of surprising how badly the talent level drops off. Yes folks, Marcel Granollers is the fourth highest-ranked player born in 1986. I think he can reach the top 100, but I don't see him really making a huge mark. As always, some of the guys down the list will bloom a little late and break out, but most of those guys won't move beyond the Challenger Tour (if they even get there). I'd keep an eye on Istomin, Beck, Ledovskikh and Schwank in particular. I haven't analyzed older years, so I don't know how this yield compares to other years. We'll see if it looks better if guys break through at age 21-22 as many often do, but right now it looks pretty weak outside of the top 3.

Players born in 1987 current in the top 600
16. Novak Djokovic (SRB)
17. Andy Murray (GBR)
126. Samuel Querrey (USA)
155. Mischa Zverev (GER)
163. Robin Haase (NED)
178. Santiago Giraldo (COL)
221. Alex Kuznetsov (USA)
227. Lukas Lacko (SVK)
256. Fabio Fognini (ITA)
263. Jeremy Chardy (FRA)
288. Pavol Cervenak (SVK)
296. Leonardo Mayer (ARG)
297. Igor Sijsling (NED)
328. Matthias Bachinger (GER)
338. Andrey Golubev (RUS)
372. Ryan Sweeting (USA)
398. Gianluca Naso (ITA)
426. Sergei Bubka (UKR)
436. Andrew Coelho (AUS)
443. Ilya Marchenko (UKR)
467. David Klier (GER)
489. Ervin Eleskovic (SWE)
492. Jesse Levine (USA)
495. Blaz Kavcic (SLO)
505. Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT)
519. Petar Jelenic (CRO)
545. Daniel Brands (GER)
548. David Navarrete (VEN)
562. Antal van der Duim (NED)
564. Jonathan Dasnieres de Veigy (FRA)
571. Tim Smyczek (USA)
585. Niels Desein (BEL)
591. Piero Luisi (VEN)
599. Evgeni Kirillov (RUS)

This list speaks volumes about how much Djokovic and Murray have achieved at such a young age. They've already settled in as regulars in the top 20 long before anyone else will come close. That's not to say the rest of the list of chopped liver; Querrey and Haase in particular are flying up the rankings. Zverev, Lacko, Chardy, Cervenak, and really everyone on the first half of that list is having a good year. I'm fairly confident that the depth on this list next year will look a lot better than the current 1986 list (although Djokovic and Murray probably don't quite stack up to Nadal and Gasquet - that certainly isn't written in stone though and please debate that elsewhere!) However, it's also true that I was a lot higher on certain 1986 guys last year who didn't progress this year. As always, the second half of the list will be much more volatile with some guys stalling out at lower levels, but a few breaking out. Once you get past Sweeting, no one jumps out as me as an obvious fast-rising candidate, but I don't have great background on everyone.

Players born in 1988 current in the top 800
93. Juan Martin del Potro (ARG)
102. Evgueni Korolev (RUS)
140. Ernests Gulbis (LAT)
171. Marin Cilic (CRO)
313. Alexandre Sidorenko (FRA)
333. Alexander Dolgopolov (UKR)
334. Nick Lindahl (AUS)
440. Adrian Mannarino (FRA)
468. Thiemo de Bakker (NED)
490. Yuichi Sugita (JPN)
604. Andres Molteni (ARG)
611. Dusan Lojda (CZE)
648. Pere Riba (ESP)
666. Laurent Rochette (FRA)
668. Dejan Katic (SRB)
702. Joao Souza (BRA)
715. Philip Bester (CAN)
732. Grzegorz Panfil (POL)
740. Hsin-Han Lee (TPE)
768. Sanam Singh (IND)
776. Ivan Sergeyev (UKR)
783. Peter Polansky (CAN)
787. Albert Ramos (ESP)
789. Robin Roshardt (SUI)
791. Marcus Fugate (USA)
793. Guillermo Olaso (ESP)

Other top juniors not in the top 800:
Luka Belic (CRO), Artur Chernov (RUS), Pavel Chekhov (RUS), Jaak Poldma (EST), Pedro Sousa (POR), Ruben Bemelmans (BEL), Daniel Silva (BRA)

This is when these lists start to become less of a ranking and more of a compilation. Some of these guys are lower ranked because they are less talented than others, but some of it is simply a playing time issue - for example Thiemo de Bakker reached #1 in the juniors this year and would surely be ranked much higher if he spent the year playing futures. I'm pretty optimistic about the entire top 8 - they've all had pretty big breakthrough years. Some of these guys may flame out, but the potential is here to have an extremely talented core. Del Potro is already in the top 100 and Korolev is just outside. Gulbis and Cilic should reach it fairly soon, and count on several others being hard on their heels.

Players born in 1989 current in the top 1000
486. Donald Young (USA)
691. Kei Nishikori (JPN)
692. Michael McClune (USA)
822. Peter Gojowczyk (GER)
897. Alejandro Gonzalez (COL)
976. Eduardo Peralta (MEX)
1000. Mauricio Echazu (PER)

Other top juniors not in top 1000:
Martin Klizan (SVK), Kellen Damico (USA), Petru-Alexandru Luncanu (ROM), Greg Jones (AUS), Roman Jebavy (CZE)

Obviously this is a group still very much a work in progress. All of these players are very raw and most focus on the junior circuit, only occasionally dabbling in the ITF tour. The exception of course is Donald Young who has received a number of wild cards which have gone a long way towards his top 500 status. It's far too early to make conclusions about these guys because they haven't fully physically matured, nor have they established much of a track record. Check back again next year, and then again the year after that.

Players born in 1990 current in the top 1000
868. Cheong-Eui Kim (KOR)
934. Rafael Camilo (BRA)
937. Gastao Elias (POR)

Other top junior: Jonathan Eysseric (FRA)

BTW, the "top junior" criterion is just the current top 20. I'm just including this because I ran across these guys while compiling data. Elias had a nice run in a future a few weeks ago. The caveats of the previous list apply even more so to this one - I wouldn't bet the family fortune on Cheong-Eui quite yet.

Edit: Added Lindahl, nice catch Cornholio

Last edited by Balerion; 11-14-2006 at 04:12 PM.
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 08:27 PM
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Re: Upcoming Young Players

Cilic all the way

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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 09:12 PM
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Re: Upcoming Young Players

334 nick lindahl(aus) 31-07-1988

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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 11:37 PM
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Re: Upcoming Young Players

look at ernest gulbis of latvia
SF at st pete, winner in a challenger last week...


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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 11:46 PM
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Re: Upcoming Young Players

thanks for the list. Future elite : Nadal, Djokovic, Murray
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 01:45 AM
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Re: Upcoming Young Players

Where's Ilia Bozoljac? He should be there.

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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 01:49 AM
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Re: Upcoming Young Players

Jamie Baker.
Maybe there's still hope for Britain.

I'd love to see the 2 young Uzbekistan players make it.
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 01:52 AM
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Re: Upcoming Young Players

thanks for the list balerion.

While it's always difficult to gauge who among these young players will eventually make it as top players, if I were to make a ranking of the "potential for greatness" for each year, this would be my list: (just based on my gut feel and the matches I've seen from some of these players)

1. Nadal
2. Gasquet
3. Stakhovsky
4. Troicki
5. Istomin

1. Djokovic
2. Murray
3. Haase
4. Sweeting
5. Zverev

1. Korolev
2. Del Potro
3. De Bakker
4. Gulbis
5. Cilic

As for 1989, it's probably too early to tell, and the only one I know from the list is Young.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Upcoming Young Players

Originally Posted by binkygirl View Post
Where's Ilia Bozoljac? He should be there.
Bozoljac is too old to make the list - he was born in 1985.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 06:27 PM
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Re: Upcoming Young Players

cool thing is i was making this list as well this weekend (1986 and later years)but i got to #350, so i was very pleased to see this, thanks Balerion

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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Upcoming Young Players

Originally Posted by Jimnik View Post
Jamie Baker.
Maybe there's still hope for Britain.

I'd love to see the 2 young Uzbekistan players make it.
Yeah, Baker's on okay prospect, but he obviously won't come close to Murray's level.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the Uzbeks. Dustov looked great in 2004 when he neared the top 300, but he had a terrible 2005. He's now sitting in the top 250. Istomin broke out in 2005, but is currently #202 after beginning 2006 at #197 - he has yet to take the next step forward and really make progress in challengers.
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 07:22 PM
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Re: Upcoming Young Players

I had Del Potro and Korolev in a contest on another site guessing who within the 101-300 range at the end of last year would move up the most in the rankings this year. I'm in 8th (Del Potro) and 9th (Korolev) place. I think I had them a year too early, but Del Potro isn't eligible for next year as he has moved within the top 100.

Of the lower ranked youngsters, I'll say Cilic.
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 09:08 PM
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Re: Upcoming Young Players


1 Nadal
2 Gasquet
3 Troicki


1 Murray
2 Djokovic
3 Querrey
4 Zverev
5 Fognini


1 del Potro
2 Korolev
3 Gulbis
4 de Bakker

i'm not too sure about marin cilic. i don't think he;'s brilliant technically and donald young, there has been so much type about him but watching him play he doesnt seem that good. if he's gonna do anything he needs to seriously get in a gym and pump some iron
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 09:44 PM
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Re: Upcoming Young Players

Gastao Elias

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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 10:03 PM
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Re: Upcoming Young Players

258. Phillip Simmonds (USA)
284. Scott Oudsema (USA)
348. Brendan Evans (USA)
492. Jesse Levine (USA)
571. Tim Smyczek (USA)
715. Philip Bester (CAN)
789. Robin Roshardt (SUI)
791. Marcus Fugate (USA)
486. Donald Young (USA)
691. Kei Nishikori (JPN)

Kellen Damico
Pavel Chekhov

I have personally seen all of these players, and none of them will "make it" pro tennis is such a different game than all of these juniors think it is. It takes much more than any of them realize. The players on this list have limitations, and will not be able to adjust to become top professional players.

my two cents
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