3. Borna Coric (1996 Age:19)
Number 3 on this list is filled by my favourite tennis player, the young prodigy from Croatia, Borna Coric who was born on 14 November 1996 in Zagreb, Croatia.
He found his passion at the age of 5 while watching his father play tennis. Among his idols we can count Mike Tyson, Goran Ivanisevic and Rafael Nadal which he took a liking from a young age more because of their personalities.
Coric’s favourite tournament is the Umag, his favourite surface is outdoor hard and considers the backhand shot his haymaker.
In his junior career, Coric managed to reach the semi-finals of the Australian and French Open junior tournaments, he won the boy’s single event at the US Open against our number 2 Thanasi Kokkinakis. In 2013 he was ranked as number 1 in the junior rankings and as a result he started playing in the ITF Futures tournament, winning five single titles.
Borna Coric started his professional career at the 2013 Davis Cup, after he was selected to represent Croatia. Despite showing great effort and talent, he lost to Great Britain’s Andy Murray in three sets.
In 2014 at the age of 18 he finished the season as youngest player and one of two teenagers in top 100 Emirates ATP Rankings after climbing up 276 places in a single year. He started getting attention when he defeated ATP number 13 Gulbis and his idol Nadal to reach the World Tour semi-finals. This was the first time a 17 year old defeated a top 3 player since Nadal defeated Federer in Miami 2005.
In 2015 Coric began the season in Chennai by besting Robin Haase but took a loss to the eventual champion of the season Stan Wawrinka. At the Australian Open, Coric received his first direct entry into the draw of a Grand Slam where he faced number 29 seed Jeremy Chardy in the first round, unfortunately he lost in four sets. Despite losing in the qualifying tournament he was a Lucky Loser receiving a place in the Dubai tournament where he defeated Andy Murray in the quarterfinals.
2. Thanasi Kokkinakis (1996 Age:19)
Thanasi Kokkinakis, nicknamed “The Kokk”, is a young professional athlete, who began playing tennis when he was 8 years old through his brother Panayoti. He was born on 10 April 1996 in Adelaide, South Australia but his parents are from Greece and represents Australia in the world of tennis since he participated in the ITF World Junior Tennis Competition in 2010.
In 2012 he was a member of Australia’s Junior Davis Cup team, where he won the silver medal, losing the gold in front of Italy in the finals.
As a junior, Thanasi Kokkinakis enjoyed a triumphant career which extended to reaching two junior grand slam singles finals at the 2013 Australian Open and 2013 US Open.
In 2014 the young Australian player climber more than 450 ranking spots during season to finish in the top 5 out of 150 teenagers, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios were the first junior duo from the same country to reach top 150 since the year 2005.
So far in 2015 he reached Brisbane doubles, reached ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells, succeeded in qualifying for ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid and ATP Challenger Tour event at Bordeaux where he won the title. On 22 June this year Thanasi was ranked world number 69 by the Association of Tennis Professionals, also known as the ATP.
“He was just entertaining, the way he hit the ball. He was so powerful. I just loved watching him play” Thanasi said about his childhood idol, Marat Safin.
His favourite surfaces are hard and clay, considers forehand and serve as his favourite shots and Australian Open as favourite tournament… His training camps are held in Adalaide and Los Angeles where he is trained by Jason Stoltenberg and by Todd Langman who trained Thanasi since his was 8 years old. I have seen this kid play and you can truly say that he has “The eye of the tiger”.
1. Nick Kyrgios (1995 Age:20)
Nicholas Hilmy “Nick” Kyrgios, born 27 April 1995 is an Australian professional tennis player born in Canberra who won the boys’ singles event at the 2013 Australian Open and the boys’ doubles event at the 2013 Wimbledon Championships. Kyrgios’s biggest achievements to date are reaching the quarterfinals of the 2015 Australian Open where he lost to Andy Murray in 3 sets and the quarterfinals of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships, where he defeated ATP number 1 Rafael Nadal and Richard Gasquet during the course of a tourney. He later made the fourth round of the 2015 Wimbledon tournament.
Nicknamed “Kygs”, he started playing tennis at age 7 with his mother but decided to focus to focus solely on tennis when he was 14 years old and 2 years later he received a full scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport where he developed his tennis skills.
Father, George is Greek born and works as a self-employed painter and decorator, while his mother, Norlaila, is from Malaysia and a computer software engineer, she was born a princess but lost the title when she moved to Australia. He is the third of the siblings, his older brother Christos is a lawyer and owner of the Gold’s Gym and his sister, Halimah is an actress and a singer. Enjoys playing on all surfaces and considers serve his best shot. Nick attended Radford College but completed his Year 12 certificate at Daramalan College. He always wears a gold necklace with a cross to show his Greek Orthodox faith.
Nick Kyrgios is coached by former ATP professional Todd Larkham, he is training at the Australian Institute of Sports since 2012 in coexistence with Tennis Australia, factors that helped Nick receive Australia’s Newcombe Medal in 2014, which is given annually to Australia’s greatest tennis player.
Nick has 3 wins over 3 top 10 players, Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, London, United Kingdom in 2014, Roger Federer at the Madrid open in Spain in 2015 and Milos Raonic at the Wimbledon, London this year. So far these wins put him at the top of my list for the best newcommers.