Today’s post finds me musing about teens in the Top 200. As you tennis geniuses (genii?) probably already know, the average age of the Top 100 keeps on rising and rising (it currently sits at 27ish). Today, men over 30 are reaping tremendous results on the ATP World Tour, and gone are the days of the Beckers (Boris, not Benji), the Kricksteins, and the Ariases (Arii?) bashing their way into the Top 20 whilst still comfortably in their teens.
As of this writing, there is only one teen in the Top 200 — the 18-year-old Australian wunderkind Nick Kyrgios at #188. Dominic Thiem almost joined him for a spell, but turned 20 just six days before hitting the T200*. 19-year-old Lucas Pouille of France is poised right on the cusp of Top 200dom at #202. It seems reasonable to expect the Frenchman will join Kyrgios soon, and probably well before he turns 20 on the 23rd of February, 2014.
Which leads me to wonder: which teen(s) do you think have what it takes to make it and join Nick and (possibly) Lucas before he turns 20? Will it be:
Filip Peliwo – the Boys’ US Open and Wimbledon champion and junior #1 (on 7-Sept 2012) has been adjusting fairly well to life on the pro circuit, with a 29/19 record, a challenger semifinal (Lexington) and a Futures final to his name this year. At ATP #283, he has a ways to go to make the Top 200, and just over four months to do it. On the plus side, he only has 7 ATP points coming off between now and then. The gregarious Canadian will turn 20 on the 30th of January, 2014. Odds of making it: 14%
Kimmer Coppejans – the Belgian 19-year-old was the Junior #1 just a couple of months before Peliwo grabbed the top spot, and beat the Canadian to claim the 2012 Roland Garros Boys title. Kimmer’s also having a better year than Filip, at 41/18 with a Challenger SF (Meknes) and 5 Futures titles on his 2013 CV. He’s now ranked just 10 rungs below Peliwo at #293, but he has almost 10 days more to get into Top 200ville; his 20th birthday falls on the 7th of February, 2014. And he has precisely 0 (zero) ATP points coming off his ranking before then. Just last month he said his end-of-year goal was to make the Top 300. Methinks he needs a new goal. Odds of making it: 27%
Kyle Edmund – 2012 US Open Boys’ Doubles champ (with Portugal’s Frederico Silva) and 2-time Grand Slam Boys’ Singles semifinalist, Edmund is perhaps the most precocious of the young guns, taking titles at USA F11, Italy F20, and just this morning pushing Slovenian Top 100 player Aljaz Bedene (ATP #83) to a 3rd set tiebreak. Kyle currently resides at #315 on Ye Olde Rankings Liste, and the ’95-born Brit has over a year to gain those 115 spots into the Top 200, as he won’t turn 20 until the 8th of January, 2015. Odds: 68%
Thiago Monteiro – This former #2 in the junior ranks has been making ever-greater ripples in the pro world of late. qualifying and making it to the semifinals of two Challenger events this summer (Scheveningen and Oberstaufen) and taking home two Futures titles this past spring. Overall, he’s 35/17 on the year (after a slow 2/6 start) and is just 8 spots back of Edmund in the rankings at #323. The Brazilian lefty has about 8 months (more specifically, until the 31st of May, 2014) to make the vaunted 200. Odds: 23%.
And now, a note of caution: Even if any/all of these players make the Top 200, they’re still many grinding miles away from making it in the tennis world, of course. We’ve seen a number of “teen phenoms” sputter and stall quickly after rocketing to attention (most notably one Mr. Bernard Tomic). These are arbitrary benchmarks and somewhat meaningless milestones. But it’s still a lot of fun the try and read the tennistical tea leaves.
So which teen do you think has it in him to bust into the Top 200 whilst still a teen? Any of the above? Or one of these guys below:
|450||David Perez Sanz||ESP||5/15/1994|
(data courtesy of Tennis Abstract)
Whoever it is will be as close as we get to teen phenoms these days.
*not to be confused with Jimmy Connors’ T-2000.