Next Gen stars making a surge as hard-court season begins

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WATCH —Championship point from Zverev's win over De Minaur in D.C.:

The beginning of the hard-court season has been marked by a surge of younger players on the ATP tour, and veteran Kevin Anderson says it's helping make the sport more exciting.

All four semifinals at the ATP event at Washington—Sascha Zverev, Alex deMinaur, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev were 21 or younger—while Tsitsipas and Karen Khachanov were semifinalists in Toronto. Tsitsipas defeated Anderson, while Khachanov fell to Rafael Nadal

"Two guys, myself and Rafa, 32," said Anderson, "Khachanov can't be more than 22 years old. And obviously Stefanos is only 19. So really interesting contrast.

"Obviously Zverev has broken through, definitely at the Masters level... a lot of talented players there."

But they've yet to have a significant impact at the majors, noted Anderson. "You know, there's been a bit of a question mark for Grand Slams,'' he said. "We haven't seen that sort of breakthrough yet on that front. But certainly in other tournaments definitely I think you're seeing them at the later stages in tournaments."

Still, their rise up the ranks has introduced new names among the now familiar figures at the top of the game.

"This sport definitely needs it," Anderson said. "It's a really interesting contrast between guys playing into their 30s and sort of the new group of guys."

There are three teenagers and three other players 21-or-under among the top 50 in the ATP rankings.

ATP Toronto
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev headline the Rogers Cup in Toronto. Watch live coverage from four courts on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday, August 6th at 11:00 A.M.

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