Tennis: Who is NEXT?
AGE: 21 | HOMETOWN: Vilnius, Lithuania
FAME CLAIM: At age 21, Berankis is already the top-ranked Lithuanian player of all time.
Nearly every male tennis player under age 25 claims that Roger Federer is his idol. But not many can say they were invited to train with the Swiss star in Dubai prior to the 2011 season. "Practicing with Roger is an amazing experience," Berankis said in an article in DEUCE. "Sometimes he'll come up to me in the locker room, slap me on the back and say, 'Hey, Richard, how are you?' It makes me feel very good." Very good can also describe Berankis' game. At 17, this modest son of a post office worker and a taxi driver won the U.S. Open junior title without dropping a set. In 2010, at age 20, he finished the year as the youngest player in the top 100. His Agassi-like return is his biggest weapon. But the versatility of his game also enables him to either push the pace with superior fitness and mobility or stay back and take whatever his opponent throws at him. In this, his first full year on the ATP Tour, Berankis has collected wins over Nicholas Mahut, Donald Young and Alex Bogomolov Jr. No doubt there will be more to come.