However, that wasn't exactly the case for this, the fifth edition. Of the last set of 20 players from January, five have since turned 20, two have been plagued by injuries (plus Mikael Ymer who was 14th in the 3rd edition), and many others have had poor results over the summer.
Still, there are three teenagers in the top 60 of the ATP right now and a total of nine inside the top 200. That's a massive improvement from just a few years ago when not a single teenager ranked inside the top 200. Now, Duckhee Lee has well established himself inside the top 200 at just 18 years old and he still isn't on many tennis fans radars and (spoiler alert) only barely made this list.
Previous Top 20 Under 20
|No.||July 2014||Feb. 2015||July 2015||Feb. 2016|
|1.||Nick Kyrgios||Nick Kyrgios||Borna Coric||Alexander Zverev|
|2.||Alexander Zverev||Borna Coric||Andrey Rublev||Borna Coric|
|3.||Borna Coric||Roman Safiullin||Alexander Zverev||Taylor Fritz|
|4.||Andrey Rublev||Andrey Rublev||Jared Donaldson||Frances Tiafoe|
|5.||Christian Garin||Jared Donaldson||Hyeon Chung||Felix AA|
|6.||Jared Donaldson||Alexander Zverev||T. Kokkinakis||Hyeon Chung|
|7.||Frances Tiafoe||Hyeon Chung||Taylor Fritz||Andrey Rublev|
|8.||T. Kokkinakis||Y. Nishioka||Frances Tiafoe||Jared Donaldson|
|9.||Nikola Milojevic||T. Kokkinakis||Elias Ymer||Roman Safiullin|
|10.||Stefan Kozlov||Elias Ymer||Roman Safiullin||T. Kokkinakis|
|11.||Hyeon Chung||Christian Garin||Omar Jasika||Elias Ymer|
|12.||Noah Rubin||Laslo Djere||Duckhee Lee||Noah Rubin|
|13.||Kyle Edmund||Frances Tiafoe||Y. Nishioka||Oliver Anderson|
|14.||Gianluigi Quinzi||Taylor Fritz||Mikael Ymer||Karen Khachanov|
|15.||Roman Safiullin||Stefan Kozlov||Tommy Paul||Rayane Roumane|
|16.||Yunseong Chung||Seong Chan Hong||Reilly Opelka||Stefanos Tsitsipas|
|17.||Elias Ymer||Duckhee Lee||Stefan Kozlov||M. Kecmanovic|
|18.||Laslo Djere||Ernesto Escobedo||M. Kecmanovic||Quinten Halys|
|19.||Johan Tatlot||Yun Seong Chung||Stefanos Tsitsipas||Duckhee Lee|
|20.||Nicolas Jarry||Noah Rubin||Felix AA||Michael Mmoh|
The 20 most promising tennis players under the age of 20 years old, as of August 28, 2016.
1. Alexander Zverev (GER) Age: 19, Rank 28
A teenager being ranked 28th in the world is no small accomplishment. However, it's not a guarantee of future success either. The last teenager to be seeded at a major was Bernard Tomic, who so far in his career has failed to live up to what were once very high expectations. Zverev had a very successful junior career and had his big professional breakthrough in the summer of 2014, landing the German the No. 2 spot on this list in its first edition. Zverev has since endured the typical sophomore slump and has built his ranking with consistent results instead of occasional breakout performances. The 19-year old has reached two finals this year and three semifinals to go along with third-round appearances at each of the last two majors. That's not to say his 2016 season has lacked for big results. In the semifinals of Halle, Zverev defeated Roger Federer at his most successful tournament in three sets to advance to the final.
What makes Zverev so successful on court is his combination of size, speed, and power. That might sound like a better description for a running back in the NFL than a tennis player, but at 6-foot-6, Zverev produces easy power, while still being able to move better than anyone else his size. Zverev is quick enough and solid enough that he could win matches by simply grinding from the back of the court. When you add his serve, which has been clocked at 142 mph, and the ability to rip the ball off both wings without littering the stat sheet with errors, he becomes one of the toughest players to beat on the ATP. The area where the German will have to improve the most to reach the top 10 is his serve. Despite being able to reach back and light up the radar gun, his serve ranks behind even David Ferrer's at 46th on the ATP website. A big reason for that is that when he flattens out his first serve, he makes a very low percentage. Since he is 6-foot-6 this is an issue that should be relatively easy to fix. Whether he rises or falls in the rankings in the next six months will correlate directly with his ability to improve his serve.
2. Taylor Fritz (USA) Age: 18, Rank 54
Fritz has great strokes and can produce winners off the return just as easily as his serve. However, when the points last more than a few shots, Fritz's poor movement gets exposed. It's hardly a fatal flaw, but it limits what he can do tactically. He has to go for more early in rallies and can't afford to be patient. Movement is something that can improve over time, but he will never be able to move like Coric and Tiafoe. Still, Fritz put on a dominant performance against Tiafoe in Winston-Salem, showing speed isn't everything, while Tiafoe for the first time in his career in eight tries. Fritz has a big strike zone on the backhand side, doing a great job of getting down for low slices to his backhand and driving them cross court, while also using his height and left wrist to punish anything that is left up around his shoulders. That in particular is what allows him to hit so many return winners off the second serve, which is a big reason why he is winning 50% of second serve return points on hard courts. For Fritz, it isn't a question of how many short rallies will he win, but how many rallies can he keep short without piling on the unforced errors. Fritz is also one of the few players on tour who does a better job saving break points than winning normal service points, making him harder to break despite sometimes getting a handful of opportunities. That speaks a lot to how advanced Fritz is for his age mentally and tactically, which spells good things for the future as his body starts to catch up.
3. Borna Coric (CRO) Age: 19, Rank 40
4. Frances Tiafoe (USA) Age: 18, Rank 125
5. Denis Shapovalov (CAN) Age: 17, Rank 246
6. Jared Donaldson (USA) Age: 19, Rank 122
7. Felix Auger Aliassime (CAN) Age: 16, Rank 741
8. Andrey Rublev (RUS) Age: 19, Rank 186
9. Reilly Opelka (USA) Age: 19, Rank 292
10. Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) Age: 16, Rank 851
11. Stefan Kozlov (USA) Age: 18, Rank 154
12. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) Age: 18, Rank 335
13. Michael Mmoh (USA) Age: 19, Rank 384
14. Quentin Halys (FRA) Age: 19, Rank 136
15. Casper Ruud (NOR) Age: 17, Rank 450
16. Alex De Minaur (AUS) Age: 17, Rank 614
17. Tommy Paul (USA) Age: 19, Rank 213
You look at the ranking and you are impressed; you watch him play a match and all you can say is "how?" Paul has put up some great results and even has a nice looking strokes. However, the positive results of those nice strokes are scattered between many many head-scratching decisions. Still, he is a teenager that has cracked the top 200 (and since fallen out), so there has to be something to this. He is currently on a five-match losing streak and he hasn't won a match on the Challenger Tour since June. That win came on clay, which is the same surface on which he won a junior grand slam. He might be the first clay specialist to come out of the United States in ages. If that is the case, the height of his possibilities is pretty low. To reach the top 10 of the ATP, you have to win on hard courts regularly. Paul's ranking doesn't lie, but how much higher can it actually go?
18. Rudolf Molleker (GER) Age: 15, Rank 1537
19. Duckhee Lee (KOR) Age: 18, Rank 191
20. Zane Khan (USA) Age: 14, Rank N/A