Multiple Rising Stars Give Optimism To Future Of Women's Tennis
Sports leagues usually seem "depleted" when their star athletes retire or move on, but women's tennis might be able to "avoid this," according to Jon Wertheim of SI.com. Serena Williams is "still a towering figure" in the sport, but there is "enough room on stage for other players to ascend." Last weekend's quarterfinal match between Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu at the China Open "generated much anticipation and hype," and the match itself "exceeded both." It also "gave us a glimpse of 'What will fill the Serena vacuum?'" The answer: "Instead of one peerless player, running roughshod over the field for the better part of two decades, maybe we get a restoration of rivalry." If the next phase in women's tennis is "marked not by a double-digit Major winner, but players like Andreescu and Osaka locked in a rivalry -- with contrasts and drama and wavering results -- that can be just as compelling" (SI.com, 10/8).
NEXT BIG THING: TENNIS.com's Steve Flink wrote teenage phenom Coco Gauff has been one of the "keynote performers in tennis this year, fully capturing the imagination of the public and earning the respect of her peers." Gauff reached her first WTA quarterfinal this week at the series' Linz Open in Austria, making her the "youngest player to advance that far at a WTA tournament" since '05. Gauff has left "many indelible impressions this season on the fans and among the players." She is "unmistakably emerging as a high profile player, but will rise to higher prominence on her own timetable." The game is "lucky to have this captivating performer who will undoubtedly play a significant role in shaping the future of women's tennis" (TENNIS.com, 10/9).
ON THE RISE: There are currently four men's players under the age of 23 in the top 10 of the ATP rankings (Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Karen Khachanov), and Roger Federer said that they are "now starting to push toward the top of the men's game." Federer: "I am seeing big improvements now. Not like there were none beforehand, but now they are playing with the big boys and really able to challenge us, beat us, having good rivalries also within each other, which I think is important for them to improve as players." TENNIS.com's Kamakshi Tandon noted there is an "even younger group behind them that is also climbing the ranks," as Felix Auger-Aliassime, Alex de Minaur and Denis Shapovalov, among others, are "all ranked inside the Top 40." Tandon noted "particularly striking" for Novak Djokovic is the "breakthrough of Medvedev, who's reached five successive finals, including a five-set loss against Rafael Nadal at the U.S. Open, and won two events" (TENNIS.com, 10/9).