Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The next generation of men’s tennis remains a jumble of unrealized potential.

With Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer skipping the Miami Open, the tournament was expected to bring the game’s new faces into sharper focus. Instead, the outlook remains fuzzy as the clay season begins.

Sunday’s match between No. 37-ranked Hubert Hurkacz and No. 31 Jannik Sinner was the first ATP Masters 1000 final since 2003 with two players ranked outside the top 30. Hurkacz became the lowest-ranked champion in the ATP’s top-level series since 2005.

Story continues below advertisement

Meanwhile, for players touted as future Grand Slam champions, Miami represented an opportunity missed. Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev failed to make it even to the semi-finals.

“With the Big Three absent, I think all the NextGen guys were trying their best to play their best game, to compete as hard as they can,” Hurkacz said. “Hopefully the spectators enjoyed it.”

But what should fans make of it? Twentysomethings have been trying to overtake the Big Three for years, and no front-runner for 2021 emerged in Miami.

Medvedev, seeded No. 1 at a Masters 1000 event for the first time, was upset in the fourth round by Roberto Bautista Agut. No. 2 Tsitsipas exited in the same round with a loss to Hurkacz.

“I felt like it was my opportunity,” Tsitsipas said. “There was more space for me to show something greater.”

No. 3 Zverev flopped worst of all, double-faulting three times on break point in a loss to No. 83-ranked Emil Ruusuvuori. No. 4 Andrey Rublev, a Russian who leads the tour with 20 wins this year, reached the semi-finals before Hurkacz upset him.

This all came after Nadal and Federer withdrew before the tournament started owing to injuries, while Djokovic decided to stay home in Serbia amid the pandemic.

Story continues below advertisement

For Hurkacz, 24, the title is by far the biggest of his career, and the first for a Polish player in a Masters 1000 event. But he won’t be among the favourites at the French Open.

In sum, no twentysomething appears poised to wrest the mantle from the thirtysomethings who have dominated the sport for so long. Dominic Thiem won his first major title at the U.S. Open in September, but he is just 5-4 this year and skipped Miami.

“The next generation still has to show they can beat the Big Three,” Sinner said. “The next generation is not ready yet to win against them consistently. At some point there will be the moment; I don’t know when. It can be two years or five years, I don’t know. But the moment will come.”

Perhaps Grand Slam greatness will skip a generation, and it will be someone now a teenager who supplants the Big Three. Sinner, a 19-year-old baseline basher from Italy, took a giant leap in Miami, just his third Masters 1000 event.

Also making a splash was unseeded 20-year-old American Sebastian Korda, who reached the quarter-finals before losing to Rublev. Korda, the son of former Australian Open champion Petr Korda, is widely considered the best hope to end an 18-year drought in major titles for U.S. men.

He sounds more patient than some fans.

Story continues below advertisement

“My parents are super big on baby steps,” Korda said. “You can play tennis for so long if you stay healthy – for 15-plus years. Guys now are playing until 40; it’s incredible. There are a lot of years ahead of me.

“I’ll always put my head down and keep working, and hopefully one day I could achieve something like what my dad achieved.”

Korda and Sinner have considerable flair and star appeal, as do Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Zverev and Rublev.

“The future of tennis looks great, because the generation is changing,” Rublev said. “The NextGen players, they are different. They look different compared with previous ones. I think they have charisma.”

Charisma, yes, but not yet many trophies.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies