Wimbledon 2018: Keep out! Why aren't young male players breaking through?


Alexander Zverev (left) and Nick Kyrgios have been touted as players to lead the next generation
Wimbledon 2018 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club, Wimbledon Dates: 2-15 July
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs and the BBC Sport website and app; Live Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra commentary; Text commentary online.

There are unfamiliar names in the Wimbledon men’s semi-final line-up, but there remains a familiar theme – an absence of young players.

The wait for a Grand Slam winner born in the 1990s goes on, with Rafael Nadal, 32, Novak Djokovic, 31, Kevin Anderson, 32 and John Isner, 33 flying the flag for the old brigade on Friday.

Looking at the record books, Swiss player Stanislas Wawrinka is the only player since 2001 who was older than 25 when he won his first Grand Slam. Roger Federer, Nadal and Djokovic were under 22 when they won their first majors. World number seven Dominic Thiem, 24, came close in May when he lost to ‘King of Clay’ Nadal in the French Open final.

So why have the next generation not broken through? Do they apply themselves like the more experienced players? Are we experiencing a freak period in men’s tennis?

‘Zverev could be the one’

Richard Krajicek was a promising young talent who did realise his potential, winning Wimbledon in 1996 at the age of 24.

The 6ft 5in Dutchman, who fired down serves over 120mph,