There has been one constant question in the mind of every tennis fan in the past couple of years: What comes after the Big Four?
Do we find another Big Four; do we find one single dominant rivalry; do we find one big personality; or do we witness a decline in the quality of tennis.
Nobody can predict the future with conviction but there have been a few indications that reveal a bit of what future of tennis might hold. Players like Dominic Thiem, Nick Kyrigos, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and David Goffin have received attention in recent times with their impressive performances at crucial events.
Out of these, David Goffin is a player that can be one of the pillars of future tennis. The Belgian number 1, Goffin, is currently ranked number 16 in the world. He reached his career best ranking of 14 in July of 2015. Goffin is one of the only four players in the top 20 that are under the age of 25, the other three being Milos Raonic, Bernard Tomic and Dominic Thiem.
The young man certainly showed glimpses of his talent when he almost pulled out the upset of the year. He lead the world number 1, Novak Djokovic, 3-0 in the deciding set of their 3rd round match at Cincinnati this year. He did go on to lose the set but it’s only a matter of time before he polishes his skills and becomes more mentally tough to win such matches.
In his 2014 campaign he rose a stunning 91 places in the rankings and was awarded the ATP Comeback Player of the Year. His first ATP tour title came at Kitzbuhel, defeating Thiem. This match was an indication of the rise of new tennis players, as this was the first ATP final featuring two players born in the 90’s. Early signs of a future top 10 player could be seen in his performance at 2012 Roland Garros. He became the first lucky loser to reach the 4th round of a mjor since fellow Belgian Dick Norman did it in 1995.
Goffin or La Goff, as he is fondly called, continued to impress. He won his second ATP title at Metz in 2014. In quarter finals of Basel, he recorded his first victory against a top 10 player, when he defeated number 9 Milos Raonic. He also reached the quarter finals at Winstion-Salem. His best performances, however, came in Challengers when he went unbeaten in 4 of them consecutively. He won Scheveningen(d. Beck), Poznan(d. Rola), Tampere(d. Nieminen) and Mons(d.Darcis). He also qualified for 6 ATP events during the year, second most after Thiem(7).
He is yet to reach the quarter finals stage at Grand Slam level but has produced a string of impressive performances in Davis Cup. In 2014, he helped Belgium retain the World Group status with 2 singles wins in their 3-2 playoff victory against Ukraine. In 2015, he was instrumental in helping Belgium reach first Davis Cup finals since 1904.
Goffin has been an impressive youngster, but now it is time for him to rise and deliver. He is 24 and the world will not wait for him. What we need to see now is can Goffin, this time next year, be preparing for the ATP World Tour Finals.