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Rafa Nadal names tennis' next young-gun

Sporting News Sporting News 11/05/2016
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While he hasn’t exactly endeared himself to the Australian public over the past few years, Nick Kyrgios has been anointed as the future of tennis by none other than Rafael Nadal.

Speaking to the media ahead of the ATP Internazionali d'Italia in Rome this week, Nadal was asked why the younger generation of players still haven’t made a Grand Slam breakthrough and to name the player most likely to do so.

“It did not happen, but it will happen – if not this year, maybe next year, but it will happen,” the 14-time Grand Slam winner replied.

“The elements are there…or may be the next generation is not good enough or the older generation – our generation – is really too good.

“Raonic? Ok, he’s already 25-years-old, so not young enough – then Kyrgios and (Alexander) Zverev.”

Kyrgios, now ranked 20 in the world, caused a massive four-set boilover in the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2014 the only time he faced Nadal.

The win – highlighted by an audacious tweener – shot the Canberran to global prominence.

German 19-year-old Alexander Zverev is ranked 44th in the world and faces Roger Federer in the first round in Rome this week.

In the 44 Grand Slam tournaments since Nadal’s 2005 French Open victory, only three players outside the ‘Big Four’ of Nadal, Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have claimed a Major title.

Wawrinka has done it twice (at the Australian Open 2014 and French Open 2015), while Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic won the US Open in 2008 and 2014 respectively.

In comparison, over the same 44 Grand Slam period of time, 16 different women have claimed a Major tournament win.

Will Kyrgios be the next male tennis player to break the stranglehold of the Big Four? 

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