Predicting which tennis superstar will be next to grab a Grand Slam title

Jannik Sinner recently won his first Grand Slam by winning the Australian Open.

Daniel Pockett/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Jannick Sinner grabbed his first major trophy at this year's Australian Open. Joining an exclusive club that consists of Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, who Sinner beat in five sets, and Dominic Thiem as the only players active on tour who are under 30 years old with a grand slam title.

There are only nine total active players who have won a major title. Novak Djokovic (24), Rafael Nadal (22), Andy Murray (3), Stan Wawrinka (3) and Alcaraz (2) with Cilic, Thiem, Medvedev and now Sinner all at one title.

With Sinner claiming his first title, it now begs the question, who is next?

Which ATP player might be next to earn his first Grand Slam title?

In recent years plenty of new young stars have risen to the near top of the tennis world. All seemed set to challenge the likes of Nadal and Djokovic, but very few have been able to conquer the biggest names on the biggest stage for one reason or another, usually, the two players just mentioned.

There are quite a few notable players who stand out as potential future winners. Let's dive in and break down why or why not each of them might succeed. To help me do so, I will use the recently released Lob and Smash power rankings.

The Ones Who Should

Alexander Zverev (5th in power rankings): The 26-year-old German made the semi-final in Australia a few weeks ago and was up two sets to love before Medvedev came back. In 2020 Thiem beat Zverev in a five-set U.S. Open final as well. It is possible Zverev should, and could have already had a major title by now if it wasn't for those collapses and his injury in the 2022 French Open. His obvious talent allows him to make every shot, and his improved movement makes him a contender at each major.

The one concern is his seemingly bad ability to get tight under pressure with a faulty second serve and not close out matches even after being up two sets.

Andrey Rublev (6th in PR): The 26-year-old Russian seems as solid as ever on the court and competes well with anybody inside the top 10. His forehand is considered one of the best in the game and this allows him to hit winners from spots all over the court.

His only problem is an 0-10 record in Grand Slam quarterfinals, losing to players he should be beating based on ranking and/or talent. Whether it's nerves and a mental roadblock or something else, in time Rublev should eventually win one of those matches and take a step towards lifting a trophy.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (10th in PR): The 25-year-old Greek would have hoped for a better first major in 2024, going out to Taylor Fritz in the fourth round. However, he has been to a Grand Slam final before, losing to Djokovic at the 2021 French Open and last year in 2023 in Australia. His ability on clay and hard court makes him a contender at three of the four majors.

The concern lies in his poor performances on grass, never making it past the fourth round at Wimbledon. Also, his attitude and mental side can sometimes get in his own way.

The American Hopefuls

Taylor Fritz (8th in PR): The first of three 26-year-old Americans who might have a chance at bringing the USA its first title since 2003, Fritz is the highest-ranking American at No. 9 in the world. 2024 got off to a decent start, reaching the quarterfinal by beating Tsitsipas. Fritz's game is well rounded but he doesn't have much major tournament success, his only other quarter-final appearance came at Wimbledon in 2022.

The pressure and expectation of being a favorite at some of these tournaments to go deep and carry the USA is something Fritz will need to learn to handle.

Frances Tiafoe (Not ranked in PR): Taifoe is one of the most well-liked players on the ATP tour by his peers. He is also well-liked by fans as he has an abundance of charisma that shines through in his style of play. The U.S. Open seems to be his best bet for a major, making the semi and quarterfinals the last two years on home soil.

A serve and forehand that are deadly, and precise play around the net, keep Tiafoe inside the top 20. Consistency and some more variety might do him well though if he ever wants to lift a major trophy.

Ben Shelton (Not ranked in PR): 2023 was a coming-out party for the ex-University of Florida tennis player. His big lefty serve was at full throttle during the U.S. Open where he reached the semifinal. He also reached the quarterfinal at last year's Australian Open. At just 21, Shelton has plenty of time to develop his game and become more well-rounded to be another rising star for the USA.

Tommy Paul (Not ranked in PR): This 26-year-old American has had an interesting career so far. The talent is there to see and displayed for all at certain points, including a semifinal run at last year's Australian Open. A well-rounded player, Paul has struggled at majors for the majority of his career. Putting together two weeks of good tennis is not impossible for the No. 15 ranked player, however.

We will see

Hubert Hurkacz (7th in PR): The 26-year-old Polish big hitter was one set away from a semifinal in Melbourne this year and looks poised to make more deep runs at the majors in 2024. A massive serve combined with a strong forehand allows for Hurkacz to control matches and win important points when needed. He has also improved his overall game to be a more well-rounded player even after his 2021 semifinal appearance at Wimbledon.

The concern is the other top players on the tour. The talent and consistency of other players mentioned in this article make it tough for Hurkacz to break all the way through.

Holger Rune (Not ranked in pr): At just 20 years of age, the Norwegian youngster has come on the scene strong in the last few years making quarterfinal appearances at the 2023 French Open and Wimbledon. When he is at his best he can beat anybody and his snappy forehand causes a great deal of problems. He will need to mature as he gets older and hope he doesn't have to face Alcaraz in any of the finals he reaches over the next 10 to 15 years.

All these players may end up winning a major, or maybe we end up with an era where Sinner and/or Alcaraz dominate the "next-gen" era. Grand Slam titles now seem more and more available, yet still very hard to come by for plenty of players trying to write their names in the history books.

Read more from Lob and Smash

manual