US Open: Sky Sports takes a look at five youngsters to look out for at Flushing Meadows
By Razwan Mirza - Tweet me: @RazMirza. Last Updated: 21/08/13 4:25pm
The last 34 men's singles Grand Slam titles have been shared between just five players, so which young player could come through and break that sequence?
Given the fact that Andy Murray has racked up two major titles and Juan Martin del Potro has one, that has left Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to share an incredible 31 crowns between them.
But all eras must eventually come to an end and when the likes of Federer and Nadal do finally slow down, a new generation will be waiting to take up the mantle.
Here, we take a look at some of the young talent who will be aiming to make a major breakthrough at Flushing Meadows.
Jerzy Janowicz (Sky Bet odds: 50/1)
Jerzy Janowicz: Has risen swiftly through the rankings in the last two years
Janowicz claims to have Pete Sampras' style and Marat Safin's attitude. He is Poland's very own rising star at 6ft 8in and is also climbing up the rankings like a steam train. He has gone from 161 in the world to No 14 in a little over two years thanks in large part to his recent heroics at Wimbledon. His parents were both professional volleyball players, so it was a no-brainer that he was always going to follow in their footsteps and become a professional sportsperson. He picked up a racket at the age of five and hasn't looked back. After making his Grand Slam debut as a qualifier at Wimbledon, Janowicz rose to prominence at last year's Paris Masters by reaching the final in his maiden Masters 1000 event. Although he lost in straight sets to Spain's David Ferrer, he has been trying to become the first Pole to win a title since Wojtek Fibak in 1982. The 22-year-old from Lodz plays with passion and flair and never holds back with a dangerous crosscourt forehand and flat serves which hit top speeds of up to 135 mph. The big-hitting beanpole crashed out of the Madrid Open to eventual semi-finalist Tomas Berdych, although he did make his mark in Rome by upsetting Jo-Wilfried Tsonga before catching the attention of the female public by ripping his shirt off in celebration. He went out of the French Open in the third round to Stanislas Wawrinka, before making the last four at the All England Club this summer. Janowicz lost to eventual champion Andy Murray but his achievements have been quite remarkable considering he has gone from playing a tournament in Barnstaple to SW19 in the space of 12 months.
Milos Raonic (Sky Bet odds: 50/1)
Milos Raonic: Has shown signs of improvement this season
Born in Podgorica, Montenegro, Raonic moved to Canada with his family at the age of three and started playing the game at the age of eight. He has since grown into a 6ft 5in powerhouse with a booming serve and new-found maturity. Last year he was named Newcomer of the Year after rising 125 places to No 31 in the world rankings. Raonic, 22, won the SAP Open title in San Jose for the third year in a row earlier this year although he has struggled to make an impact since then. He lost to Fernando Verdasco in Madrid before a shock early exit to Philipp Kohlschreiber in Rome. He reached the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open before losing again to that man Nadal. Handily enough, Raonic trains in the Catalan city and is guided by Spanish coach Galo Blanco. He is known for his huge serves and bludgeoning groundstrokes - a perfect game for grass - but he admitted after his defeat to Sam Querrey at SW19 last year that he needed to start playing with more 'grit', although he failed to learn his lesson this summer after a second round exit to Dutchman Igor Sijsling at the All England Club. This August he reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Montreal, but went down in straight sets to Rafael Nadal. On a positive note, the result did mean he climbed three spots to become the new world No 10 - the first Canadian top-10 man in the history of the rankings system. Raonic is a danger-man and will be a player to keep a close eye on at Flushing Meadows.
Grigor Dimitrov (Sky Bet odds: 100/1)
Grigor Dimitrov: The Bulgarian is a hit with the female fans
It's now common knowledge that the Bulgarian is dating Maria Sharapova after they were seen walking hand-in-hand during the Madrid Open earlier this year. Other than his love life, Dimitrov is also starting to make huge strides in the men's game. He earned the tag 'Baby Federer' following his triumph at Wimbledon and the US Open as a junior in 2008. He finished in the top 50 for the first time in his career last year before reaching the final in his first tournament of 2013 in Brisbane - a match which he lost to Andy Murray. Since then the 22-year-old stretched Rafael Nadal to the limit in the quarter-finals at Monaco in April and he then shocked world No 1 Novak Djokovic in the Madrid second round in the longest three-set match of the year - his first ever victory against a top-five player. The Serb did exact his revenge in the third round of the French Open with a straight-sets win though. Dimitrov lost a final set decider 11-9 to Slovenian Grega Zemlja in the second round at Wimbledon before reaching the last four in Bastad, Sweden. His country feel they may have found a new hero after Hristo Stoichkov - a former footballer who led the national side to the 1994 World Cup semi-final. And they may just be right because this could be the Grand Slam that the 29th-ranked Haskovo-born player steps up to make his mark.
Bernard Tomic (Sky Bet odds: 150/1)
Bernard Tomic: Has had to deal with off-the-court issues this year
Tomic was born in Stuttgart, Germany to a Croatian father and a Bosnian mother before the family migrated to Australia when he was three. He had a talent for the game from a young age and won three Orange Bowl titles before going on to win the Australian Open Junior Boys' Championships at the age of 15. Tomic went from world No 208 at the end of 2010 all the way to No 42 the following year. He reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic. He disappointed in 2012 with a number of early-tournament losses and created more headlines off the court than on it, including run-ins with police in his sports car and claims he was not trying hard enough. He was recalled to Australia's Davis Cup team after captain Pat Rafter disciplined him for a lack of professionalism at the start of this year. The 20-year-old did begin this season by bagging his first ATP title at the Apia International in Sydney. However, just as things seemed to be looking up, he was missing from the draw for the Rome Masters after his father, John was charged with assaulting his hitting partner, Thomas Drouet, after allegedly head-butting him near their hotel before the Madrid Open. Things didn't improve heading into Roland Garros after he pulled out of his first-round match because of a hamstring injury. He put his problems behind him by reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon before bowing out to Tomas Berdych. More recently he lost to top seed Juan Martin del Potro at the Washington Open and he fell at the first hurdle of the Rogers Cup to Florian Mayer, so it remains to be seen what kind of mental state he will be in for the start of the US Open.
Benoit Paire (Sky Bet odds: 500/1)
Benoit Paire: He has been tipped as a future world No 2 in France
The youngster was recently tipped as a future world No 2 by French newspaper L'Equipe and there is no reason why the 24-year-old from Avignon can't go on and achieve that. He's currently ranked 24, but was one of the most improved players last year, jumping 48 places to No 47 with 26 match wins. Clay is his favourite surface although he suffered a third round exit at the hands of Kei Nishikori at Roland Garros. He also reached the same stage at Wimbledon for the second year in succession. He's been in promising form this season, reaching the semi-finals in his first tournament of the year in Chennai before making his second ATP final in Montpellier. Paire defeated world No 7 Juan Martin del Potro to record his first win over a top 10 player at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in April, before going on to lose to Roger Federer in the semi-finals. Heading into Flushing Meadows, Benoit shocked Stanislas Wawrinka in the second round of the Rogers Cup but then went on to lose in three sets to promising Australian Marinko Matosevic and he then suffered an early exit at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati to veteran Russian Nikolay Davydenko. He will be hoping things don't go pear-shaped in 'The Big Apple' this September.