Worsley at the Aussie Open: Where's the next generation of men's tennis stars?

Alexander Zverev is yet to deliver on his substantial promise.
Alexander Zverev is yet to deliver on his substantial promise. Photo credit: Getty

OPINION: At the risk of putting a curse on results, it's about time someone said the slightly stolen quote "toughen up sweethearts" to all the so-called young guns coming through in men's tennis. 

Yes, there's lots of potential, but that's been said of Alexander Zverev - now 21 for many years - the same about Frances Tiafoe, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Borna Coric, Danii Medvedev, Karen Khachanov, Alex de Minaur, Nick Kyrgios and many others. How many Grand Slams have they won? None! Nothing, zip, zero, less than one, stuff all and nada.

Maybe they have too much of a Millennial-type attitude and aren't great at working hard enough, mentally and physically. Or are they just not skilled enough? It almost seems to be too much about looks and brooding than consistency, hard work, and winning. 

Since Wimbledon 2004, the only winners of men's singles Grand Slams have been Roger Federer (18), Rafael Nadal (17), Novak Djokovic (14), Andy Murray (3), Stan Wawrinka (3), Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic (one each). Even in the past couple of years as the senior players and Slam winners have aged and all hit 30 and beyond, none of the supposed 'stars of the future' have even made finals.

To see Fed, Rafa, and Novak all make the fourth round with only one set dropped amongst is quite amazing. It's great to see, but with all three in their 30s (37 for Federer), surely others should be challenging for Grand Slam titles, not just ATP tour events and the odd Masters tournament. 

Yes the three mentioned players are good – well, great - but when is the domination going to end, or be broken by someone under 25 at least? 

Are the younger players not tough enough? It appears so. In some ways it's heartening to see the veterans continue, but in other ways it would be great to see a realistic challenge from a player who isn't just a one-off and has the genuine potential to become a future great. Is there anyone who wants to be that man? 

There are signs, but no consistent player putting their hand up and demanding attention. If anyone can spot that player, please let me know.

Dave Worsley is a Newshub sports reporter, covering his 21st Australian Open.