For years, tennis has been dominated by all-time greats like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, and Novak Djokovic. The question many fans ask is: “Who’s next?” Who is the next player or group of players that will achieve success in a top-heavy sport?
In women’s tennis, that question has been answered. Led by Naomi Osaka, the reigning WTA No. 1, the WTA Next Gen players have fully arrived. And they’re not going anywhere.
The Talented Group of WTA Next Gen Players
The WTA Next Gen begins with Naomi Osaka. She is the reigning US Open and Australian Open champion and has firmly planted herself at the top of the game. Despite some early round struggles after achieving the No. 1 ranking, she has shown to have the skill and poise to regularly win Grand Slams.
Outside of Osaka, there are many talented young players such as Bianca Andreescu, Aryna Sabalenka, Ashleigh Barty, Amanda Anisimova, and others. It’s safe to say we will see this cast of players compete for Masters and Grand Slam titles for years to come.
Who is Next to Join Osaka?
All of these players are poised for success. But who will be the next WTA Next Gen player to join Naomi Osaka in achieving Grand Slam success?
Right now, Bianca Andreescu may be the clearest choice. The Canadian has had an impressive 2019 campaign and has won Indian Wells, defeating top players. It will be interesting to see how her recent success translates to results in Grand Slams.
Their Impact on the WTA
Ultimately, with the arrival of these WTA Next Gen players, fans are seeing the changing of the guard. No longer are tour mainstays favored to win every big tournament. In some cases, they haven’t even reached the later rounds.
Andreescu defeated five seeded players en route to the 2019 Indian Wells title. In her two Grand Slam runs, Naomi Osaka defeated two proven champions in Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova. In the past year, these young women have shown they have the game to overcome battle-tested champions.
How Do They Compare to the ATP Next Gen?
Compared to the ATP, the WTA Next Gen has achieved more in a shorter amount of time. Naomi Osaka is the prime example. In a year (2018), she won her first Grand Slam and broke into the top five after being ranked No. 8 at the start of the season.
On the men’s side, however, we are still waiting to see an Osaka-like breakthrough player. Alexander Zverev appears to be the likeliest Next Gen player to achieve that status. He’s had Masters success and has planted himself in the ATP top ten. However, fans are still waiting for him to capitalize on his skill at a Grand Slam. Felix Auger-Aliassime is another player quickly showing his potential, though he has not been as consistent as Zverev.
Enjoy Their Continued Growth
In the past two seasons, these WTA Next Gen players have played exciting tennis, beaten top players, and won big titles. And the best part? They’re only going to get better.
These women will become the new mainstays that are regularly in the second week of Grand Slam tournaments. Tennis fans everywhere should be excited. They get to sit back and enjoy the ride.