Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Australian Tennis is Finally Looking Up

When Australia dominated men's tennis with the likes of Laver, Emerson, Newcombe, Roche and Rosewall, Australians must have felt like they would never run out of champions.  For whatever reason, Australia's dominance came to a close by the 1970s, and the country has seen particularly hard times throughout much of the 2000s.  Other than Lleyton Hewitt (who hasn't been a grand slam threat since the early 2000s) there simply wasn't much for fans of Australian tennis to get excited about.  This has clearly changed in the last couple of years, as there are now several young Australian players with bright futures.  Below is a look at perhaps the four brightest prospects Australia has to offer.

Nick Kyrgios:  Kyrgios is one of the most promising young players in the game, and has already shown he belongs at the top.  He has a huge game, lots of charisma and loves the big stage.  The key for Kyrgios will be finding consistency week in and week out on the ATP Tour.  He hasn't yet shown he can compete consistently throughout the year with the best in the game, though he does raise his game at the biggest stages.  His backhand and mental game could use some work, but there's no doubt he's a fighter.  Consistency should come with age, and Kyrgios appears well on his way to the top of the game.

Thanasi Kokkinakis:  Kokkinakis isn't yet as well known as Kyrgios, but don't be surprised if this soon changes.  Tall and armed with a powerful serve and forehand, Kokkinakis possesses all of the tools to succeed in today's game.  He's already in the top 150 in the world and is only 18.  It won't be long before he breaks the top 100, and it doesn't look like he'll stop there.  He knocked out Gulbis in round one, and this is just the first of many times we'll be hearing from Kokkinakis this year.

Bernard Tomic:  Tomic has been around for a while, but he's still just 22.  After going through personal issues for the last few years, Tomic appears to be back and focused on his tennis.  He looks like he's filled out a bit and appears to have added some pop to his crafty game.  Tomic likely realized it was time to pick it up, or else he'd soon be passed by his younger countrymen.  It's not clear if he's going to be more than a top 25 player, but he has the talent to be if he wants it.

Omar Jasika:  Jasika is the reigning US Open junior champion, and at 17 years old is by far the furthest away from making it on the pro tour.  However, the lefty does possess plenty of talent, and has given Australia reasons to get excited.  While his ranking is only in the 500s, he appears to be playing well above this ranking so far in 2015.  He reached the final round of qualifying at the Australian Open, and will be a player worth following in 2015. 

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