Hey guys, you may remember a while ago I made a post about the future of tennis and the fact there were no teenagers in the top 100, if you read the comments then you'd have also seen that one of the readers here (Jovica) closely follows the young guns on the ATP tour and pointed out there were in fact no teenagers in the top 250 at that moment in time. A worrying stat.
Following on from that he's kindly put together this analysis of U20 players in first 3 months of 2013, at all 3 levels of competition, from the ATP Tour to Futures.
Take it away Jovica…
Rankings: U20 players in the Top 500 (as of 1st April)
|Ranking||Name||Nationality||Date of Birth||Ranking Points|
|#289||Roberto Carballes Baena||ESP||1993||162|
|#419||Ji Sung Nam||KOR||1993||89|
|#487||Juan Ignacio Londero||ARG||1993||69|
|#492||Joao Pedro Sorgi||BRA||1993||66|
Currently we are still without an U20 player in Top 200, the only promising aspect of it is that Jiri Vesely needs just a few points to make that group. However, he is the only U20 player in Top 270, thereby the only teenager too.
In 2009. for the first time since the rankings started in 1973 there were no teens in year end Top 100, which happened again in 2010 and in 2012. (Tomic and Harrison bucked the trend in 2011).
It's safe to say looking at the rankings that no teenagers or U20 players will finish the season inside Top 100 for many years to come.
Another alarming fact is that we have only 2 players born after 1994 that are currently in Top 500 at the moment, two highly regarded talents; Kyrgios and Quinzi.
ATP : (20 tournaments)
I started to follow U20 players 3 years ago, desperately waiting to watch the next teen or U20 player win an ATP title. Marin Cilic won New Haven in the summer of 2008 and that's last ATP title for a player in these age groups.
It's very likely that it will stay that for many years to come, and this will be 5th consecutive season without an U20 player making at least an ATP final.
Neither Dimitrov, Harrison or Tomic could make it and players born after them just cannot compete.
Here's a list of ATP titles for U20 players since 1990 per season (a picture soon begins to emerge):
|Year||No. of Titles Won by Players Under the Age of 20|
After March and with only 20 ATP tournaments played, it's almost certain that 2013 will be worst season for U20 players in the last 40 years at least at this level of competition (ATP level)
Only 7 players got the chance to play a match on the ATP Tour so far this year, in 6 different tournaments. Therefore, the other 14 tournaments were played without an U20 player in main draw.
In both 2011 and 2012 there were only 19 ATP tournaments without U20 players in the draw (largely thanks to Dimitrov, Harrsion and Tomic who played lot of them), but in 2013 that number will be reached very very soon.
Here are the results of all U20 players who played in an ATP Tournament in first 3 months of 2013:
|Doha ATP 250||Mohamed Safwat vs Jabor Mohammed Ali Mutawa (QAT, 1994_||6-0 6-0|
|Doha ATP 250||Gael Monfils vs Mousa Shanan Zayed (QAT, 1994)||6-0 6-3|
|Australian Open||Go Soeda vs Luke Saville (AUS, 1994)||6-7 6-3 6-2 6-3|
|Montpellier ATP 250||Viktor troicki vs Lucas Pouille (FRA, 1994)||6-4 7-5|
|Zagreb ATP 250||Lukas Rosol vs Filip Veger (CRO, 1994)||6-2 6-4|
|Zagreb ATP 250||Philipp Petzschner vs Mate Pavic (CRO, 1993)||7-5 6-2|
|Viña del Mar ATP 250||Christian Garin (CHI, 1996) vs Dusan Lajovic||6-3 6-4|
|Viña del Mar ATP 250||Jeremy Chardy vs Christian Garin (CHI, 1996)||4-6 6-3 6-2|
|Marseille ATP 250||Julien Benneteau vs Lucas Pouille (FRA, 1994||7-6 6-3|
So, in 9 matches on the ATP tour, the U20 players only managed 1 win and could only win 4 sets in total.
The only player with an ATP win is the youngest of them, Christian Garin. In his home town tournament at Viña del Mar he got a Wild Card and used it perfectly.
The draw was on his side and gave him a not too experienced qualifier who was outside Top 150 as his opponent and he won with an amazing performance, without even facing a break point.
In the second round he played against Chardy, again he started the match in great form taking the first set. After that he faded but still showed great skills and fighting spirit before eventually losing in three sets.
3 Important Milestone of the Season so Far:
January 15th: Luke Saville (1994) became the first player born in 1994. who played in Grand Slam tournament. He fought bravely, taking the first set in a tie break against Soeda. After that he was struggling physically in the next two sets, needing a MTO too. He lead 3-0 in fourth set, but didn't win any more games after that.
February 4th: Filip Veger (CRO, 1994) became the first player born in 1994 to qualify for an ATP tournament, at his hometown in Zagreb.
February 5th: Christian Garin (CHI, 1996) played his first match in an ATP tournament for his generation (before any player born in 1995) and scored one win. He is only one of 5 players since 2000 who scored an ATP win before their 17th birthday along with:
- 2002 Monte Carlo : Richard Gasquet (FRA, 1986) – 15y 9m 28d
- 2002 Mallorca : Rafael Nadal (ESP, 1986) – 15y 10m 26d
- 2008 Houston : Ryan Harrison (USA, 1992) – 15y 11m 7d
- 2009 Australian Open : Bernard Tomic (AUS, 1992) – 16y 2m 29d
- 2013 Viña del Mar : Christain Garin (CHI, 1996) – 16y 8m 6d
Challenger Level: (21 tournaments)
Things are looking very poor in this level of competition too, with only one U20 player who achieved anything of note in the first 3 months.
The big problem here is the number of tournaments, and the fact we already have 9 less Challengers being played than in same period of 2012. On the other hand, there's a great difference between Futures and Challengers, and its not easy for young players to make that transition (not to mention they need to achieve good rankings to even play them).
In 2011 U20 players won 5 titles, and 6 last year (only 11 from 148 tournaments played in those two years). Among them there were no players born in 1993, that generation still waits for first title at Challenger level, albeit they turn 20 this year. Nick Kyrgios (1995) stepped up after his title in Junior Australian Open with 2 great results in Challengers.
Out of these 21 tournaments, U20 players played in 15 and scored 23 wins (1993-11, 1994-2, 1995-9, 1996-1). Oldest players won most matches, but only 3 more than Kyrgios alone, and that's another fact to be worry about. U20 players made only 4 Quarter finals (from 168 possible spots):
- Burnie, Australia, $50,000 – Andrew Whittington (AUS, 1993) made 1/4
- West Lakes, Adelaide, Australia, $50,000 – Nick Kyrgios (AUS, 1995) made 1/2
- Sydney, Australia, $50,000 – Nick Kyrgios (AUS, 1995) won the title
- Santiago, Chile, $35,000+H – Gonzalo Lama (CHI, 1993) made 1/4
A few important dates to remember on the Challenger Tour so far this year:
February 5th: Nick Kyrgios became first player born in 1995 with a Challenger win (17y 9m 9d), he beat Brydan Klein who was ranked 209 in the world at that moment in time.
February 9th: Even though West Lakes was his first career Challenger, Kyrgios won two more matches and finally James Ward stopped him in the semis. After his first win, he became the first player of his generation who made a Challenger Quarter Final and Semi Final.
February 26th: Nicholas Horton (AUS, 1995) played his first Pro tournament at Sydney1 Challenger, with big success. He qualified for the main draw and then won his first round match against a fellow U20 player, becoming second player of his generation after Kyrgios with a Challenger match win.
March 3rd: One of the days that will mark the 2013 season for U20 players. In just a few hours, Nick Kyrgios played 4 matches (1/2 and final of both single and doubles) in the Sydney1 Challenger, becoming the first player of his generation with a Challenger title, before any other players born in 1993 and 1994 could do it. He lost only one set on the route to his first Pro title, and was a few points away from taking doubles title too.
Kyrgios is on the list of 30 youngest players who won a Challenger since 1978 and he joined names like Gasquet, Tomic, Nadal, Del Potro, Djokovic, Ancic and Berdych who won Challengers title before their 18th birthday since 2000. Kyrgios is also the first player since Andy Roddick in 2000 to win a Challenger title in the same season after taking the Junior Australian Open.
March 4th: Christian Garin (CHI, 1996) won his first Challenger match at home in Santiago, becoming the second player from his generation with a win at this level of competition (Hyeon Chung last year was the first).
Futures : (95 tournaments)
This is the lowest and most mass level of competition, this is of course the starting point for all U20 players, where they gather their first Pro experience and ATP points. Here all the Futures finals and titles for U20 players in first 3 months of the season:
|Israel F1, Eilat, $10,000 (Outdoor Hard)||Jiri Vesely (CZE, 1993) Title|
|Great Britain F2, Preston, $10,000 (Indoor Hard)||Christian Harrison (USA, 1994) Final|
|Israel F2, Eilat, $10,000 (Outdoor Hard)||Jiri Vesely (CZE, 1993) Title|
|USA F3, Weston, $10,000 (Outdoor Clay)||Bjorn Fratangelo (USA, 1993) Title|
|Great Britain F3, Sheffield, $10,000 (Indoor Hard)||Christian Harrison (USA, 1994) Title|
|USA F4, Palm Coast, $10,000 (Outdoor Clay)||Bjorn Fratangelo (USA, 1993) Final|
|Mexico F3, Mexico City, $15,000 (Outdoor Hard)||Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN, 1995) Title|
|Turkey F5, Antalya – Belconti, $10,000 (Outdoor Hard)||Mathias Bourgue (FRA, 1994) Final|
|Spain F2, Mallorca, $10,000 (Outdoor Clay)||Taro Daniel (JPN, 1993) Final|
|Ukraine F1, Cherkassy, $10,000 (Indoor Hard)||Marat Deviatiarov (UKR, 1994) Final|
|Spain F3, Murcia, $10,000 (Outdoor Clay)||Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP, 1993) Final|
|Ukraine F2, Cherkassy, $10,000 (Indoor Hard)||Maxim Dubarenco (MDA, 1993) Final|
|USA F6, Harlingen, $15,000 (Outdoor Hard)||Jiri Vesely (CZE, 1993) Title|
|USA F6, Harlingen, $15,000 (Outdoor Hard)||Bjorn Fratangelo (USA, 1993) Final|
|Israel F4, Netanya, $10,000 (Outdoor Hard)||Dennis Novak (AUT, 1993) Title|
|Spain F4, Cartagena, $10,000 (Outdoor Clay)||Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP, 1993) Final|
|Switzerland F1, Frauenfeld, $10,000 (Indoor Carpet)||Edoardo Eremin (ITA, 1993) Title|
|Colombia F2, Bogota, $15,000 (Outdoor Clay)||Gianluigi Quinzi (ITA, 1996) Final|
|India F3, trichy, $10,000 (Outdoor Clay)||Patrick Ciorcila (ROU, 1996) Final|
|Switzerland F2, Vaduz (Liechtenstein), $10,000 (Indoor Carpet)||Edoardo Eremin (ITA, 1993) Final|
|Spain F7, Villajoyosa, $10,000 (Outdoor Carpet)||Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP, 1993) Final|
|Croatia F5, Rovinj, $10,000 (Outdoor Clay)||Dominic Thiem (AUT, 1993) Final|
|Croatia F6, Vrsar, $10,000 (Outdoor Clay)||Dominic Thiem (AUT, 1993) Title|
|Australia F5, Bundaberg, $15,000 (Outdoor Clay)||Jason Kubler (AUS, 1993) Final|
|Spain F8, Villajoyosa, $10,000 (Outdoor Carpet)||Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP, 1993) Final|
|Vietnam F1, Bac Lieu City, $10,000 (Outdoor Hard)||Lucas Pouille (FRA, 1994) Final|
All in all, 9 titles from 26 finals, which is far from good. Jiri Vesely won 3 of them, and 6 more players took one. Only 2 titles went to players born after 1993 and I really hope that will change very soon, after all they are the players we will follow after this season.
In 2011 players won 7 Futures in this period, but 14 in 2012. Its not too alarming a statistic yet, they just need to play better in finals. Also, I would love to see the first pro title for players born in 1996 as soon as possible.
One thing that bothers me is the number of players in main draws of these tournaments. In 35 tournaments there were at least 10 Under 20 players in the main draw, but the number was over 50 last year, that's mainly because the 1992 generation was better than the players born a year later. With more players in the draw there's better chance for all-U20 matches and for making later stages and more points.
Here are the best results in Futures per each generation (i.e. their D.O.B):
1993 – Older players achieved far more than younger generations, but since they are turning 20 I would be much happier with at least some decent results in Challengers until the end of season from them. They made 18 finals (Carballes Baena 4, Vesely and Fratangelo 3, Thiem and Eremin 2) and won 7 titles.
Vesely took 3 titles, and 4 more players won one title. The third best U20 player of the world, Spaniard Carballes Baena made 4 finals but lost all of them.
1994 – Players that turn 19 this year made 5 finals, with the only title coming for Christian Harrison. This is the younger brother of Ryan Harrison who is starting to show his full potential, after he missed year and a half with foot injury.
In 3 consecutive weeks in Great Britain he made semis, final and took home a title, in his first in Pro tournaments. With points from these 3 events he is now ranked the 2nd best player of his generation, behind Luke Saville.
3 players from Belgium made Futures semis, Kimmer Coppejans, Julien Cagnina and Jeroen Vanneste. Frenchmen Mathias Bourgue and Lucas Pouille played in finals, but couldn't take the crowns.
Marat Deviatiarov from Ukraine also played in final and 6 more players born in 1994 played at least one Futures semi (Adam Pavlasek, Pol Toledo Bague, Martins Podzus, Andre Gaspar Murta, Bastian Wagner and Jordan Thompson)
1995 – These players are interesting because they are playing their last Junior season, so they need to mix Pro and Junior tournaments wisely.
Yoshihito Nishioka won one title and made another semi, taking the most points of all the players from his generation. He made a Futures final in 2011 at the age of 16, and finished that season as youngest player in Top 1000.
Now he won his first Pro title in Mexico and I hope he will be Top 500 player very soon. He is for sure one of the greatest talents from Asia in the last 20 years or more.
Kyle Edmund is also one of the best players born in 1995, last year he won first Futures for his generation. In the first 3 months he made one semi and one 1/4, like Nishioka he will break Top 500 soon too.
As well as them, 8 more players made a Futures quarter final: Alon Elia, Spencer Papa, Adam Sanjurjo Hermida, Nick Kyrgios, Albert Alcaraz Ivorra, Igor Smilansky, Enzo Couacaud and Mario Vilella Martinez
1996 – These guys turn 17 and they already had afew great results in 2013, with Quinzi entering Top 500. 13 players in total won at least one match, but 5 of them went even further. Ernesto Escobedo made the semi final in his second Futures tournament in his entire career, and same thing happen to Elias Ymer.
Daniel Elahi Galan Riveros won two matches at home in Colombia in the F2 Futures, but the biggest results go to Patrick Ciorcila and Gianluigi Quinzi. They both made the final (2nd and 3rd Futures final for this generation after Quinzi played one in 2012.) but couldn't deliver the first Pro title for this generation. Quinzi is an extremly talented player and we can expect great things from him in the future
1997 – For this generation the important thing is to get Wild Cards for Futures and to gather experience. Of course, every win is a bonus, and 4 players so far won one match in 2013.
Omar Jasika and Alexander Zverev already showed potential (Zverev made Futures final last year) and along with them Ukrainian Vitalii Shcherba and Frenchman Theo Fournerie also scored a win and 1 ATP point.
It would be great to see another Futures final for some of these players later in the season, Alexander Zverev is ranked in first 830 players of the world so he can play some tournaments entering directly into main draw.
1998 – These guys are the youngest players on the Pro Tour, but that didn't stop Stefan Kozlov to make a surprising 1/4 last season (and also made the semis in doubles in the same tournament). He has played 2 tournaments this year too, but with no wins so far.
Besides him, only Mexican Luis Mariano Argote and Ozzie Oliver Anderson got a Wild Card for main draw at Futures and we are still waiting for some of them to get their maiden win.
Hope you enjoyed this post and analysis of the current young guns of the ATP tour, who knows we might see some of them winning a Grand Slam in just a few years. Let me know your thoughts in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them 🙂 Jovica.