The most hyped young player in the sport is quickly living up to his considerable promise. Sascha, as the 20-year-old German is better known, already has scalps against the world’s top players, including Federer and Djokovic, and two prestigious Masters titles this year. (He is the only player outside of the Big Four to win two Masters events in the same year since David Nalbandian, in 2007). Despite his early stumble in Cincinnati two weeks ago, and the not insignificant fact that he has yet to advance past the quarters of any major, don’t be surprised if he walks away with the trophy—especially now that his part of the draw has opened up with the last-minute withdrawal of Andy Murray.
With his big backswings, and a jam-packed schedule that would leave others spent this late in the season, The Dominator should by rights be disqualified from the start, given the fast hardcourts at the Open. But this hard-working 23-year-old Austrian, trained by starmaker Günter Bresnik, is as strong as an ox and can hold his own over five sets, as his impressive semi-final run at this year’s French Open attests. Although he is in the toughest part of the draw, alongside Federer and Australia’s superbrat Nick Kyrgios, another deep run into the second week of a major would surprise exactly no one.
Dubbed “Baby Fed” since he joined the pro ranks in 2008 because his playing style so resembles that of his idol, Roger Federer, this handsome Bulgarian (and Sharapova’s ex) has fallen well short of RF’s prodigious accomplishments. But having recently won his first Masters title in Cincinnati, becoming the first of his generation to do so, this might finally be his moment. OK, he still has Nadal and then potentially Federer to get by if he wants to make the final, but for once he has to like his chances against these legends. We do. Plus, we love a straight man who’s comfortable enough in his own skin to admire his sexy fellow players.