Madrid provides the perfect stage for some of the world’s best players aged 23 and under to make a mark wearing their country’s colours
Daniil Medvedev, Russia, 23
After a quite sensational summer, this young Russian is one of the hottest properties in tennis. Already with four ATP titles to his name by July, the Nice-based right-hander arrived in Washington DC ready to take on the world. He finished runner-up in the US capital before a first Masters 1000 final in Montreal. A week later he went one better to capture his maiden Masters trophy in Cincinnati and then defied his aching, cramping legs as well as a sore shoulder to reach the US Open final, pushing Rafael Nadal all the way in a memorable fifth set. Subsequently, the youngster jumped into the top four in the world rankings before winning the St.Petersburg title.
Matteo Berrettini, Italy, 23
After the recent success of Italian teammates Fabio Fognini, Marco Cecchinato and Lorenzo Sonego, this young Roman stole the limelight with a run to his first Grand Slam semi-final in New York. Prior to his breakthrough at Flushing Meadows, the powerful right-hander’s huge serve and destructive forehand had earned him titles on clay in Budapest in April and on grass in Stuttgart two months later.
Frances Tiafoe, USA, 21
Still only 21 years old, the American right-hander has already won an ATP title and has dipped inside the world’s top 30. Look out for his lightning-fast speed around the court and his devastating forehand, a combination that helped him beat Juan Martin del Potro and Denis Shapovalov en route to collecting that first trophy in Delray Beach last year.
Felix Auger-Aliassime, Canada, 19
Touted by many as a future world No.1, the right-hander set the tennis world alight during 2019, moving from outside the top 100 to a career-high ranking of No.19 in August after reaching three ATP finals in Rio, Lyon and Stuttgart inside five months. The teenager won the decisive match during Canada’s qualifying tie in Slovakia to send his nation into the Davis Cup Finals and was part of the team that won the Junior Davis Cup inside La Caja Magica in 2015.
Denis Shapovalov, Canada, 20
Like teammate Felix Auger-Aliassime, the leftie was part of the Canadian team that claimed the Junior Davis Cup in Madrid four years ago. His instinctive attacking tennis won fans the world over as he blazed his way to his first three Masters 1000 semi-finals - first on home soil in Montreal aged just 17, and most recently here on clay in Madrid a year later and this season on the hard courts of Miami.
Cristian Garin, Chile, 23
The 2013 boys’ champion at Roland Garros - where he beat Alexander Zverev in the final - was just 16 years old when he won his first ATP match on home soil in Vina del Mar. This season has seen him fulfil that early potential by winning two clay court titles in the space of four weeks. His first came on American clay in Houston and was quickly followed by his second in Munich, during a period when he won 16 out of 18 tour-level matches on the ‘dirt’.
Karen Khachanov, Russia, 23
Still months away from his 24th birthday and this 6ft 6in Russian can already call himself a Masters 1000 champion and top ten star. Khachanov destroyed the field at the final Masters tournament of the 2018 season indoors in Bercy, Paris as he outplayed four top 10 players in a row - John Isner, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic. He dipped inside the top 10 in the world for the first time in June this year.
Andrey Rublev, Russia, 22
Along with Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov, the third of Russia’s trio of young stars has recently been recovering from back and wrist injuries that stalled his climb up the ATP rankings. His first title came on clay in Umag, Croatia during the summer of 2017, and since his return to fitness in 2019 the explosive 22-year-old can boast wins over Roger Federer, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Nick Kyrgios and Stan Wawrinka.
Alex De Minaur, Australia, 20
You’ll be hard stretched to find a better mover around the court and his intensity and desire might stir memories of watching his Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt back in the day. ‘Demon’, as he’s known, grew up in Spain and won his first two ATP trophies this year in Sydney and Atlanta. That kind of form helped him crack the top 25 in the rankings earlier this season.
Borna Coric, Croatia, 23
The gritty right-hander is already a Davis Cup champion after helping Croatia to victory in last year’s final against France and has two ATP trophies in his locker. In late 2018 he reached a career-high No.12 in the rankings after a run to his first Masters 1000 final in Shanghai where he beat Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer along the way.
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