Changing of the guard

THERE’S a changing of the guard in world tennis and women are leading the way.

Sure there’s a good mixture of young and old but this week WTA chief Steve Simon paid tribute to the old while acknowledging that change was afoot.

According to Simon, Serena Williams is the greatest the women’s game has seen.

That’s a big statement when you consider who she would be in front of: Billie Jean King and Margaret Court for starters.

But Williams is clearly the biggest name in women’s tennis, if not tennis as a whole, in the past 20 years.

There’s been a few others: her sister Venus, the quieter and more polite one, Maria Sharapova, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles and Steffi Graf.

Before that we must name Evert and Navratilova and even Goolagong.

Throw in today’s emerging group of Halep, Osaka, Kerber, and even Wozniacki and the state of women’s tennis could not be better.

But is there more to come?

Like all sports, tennis is continually evolving and there’s plenty to look forward to.

Cori Gauff

Australian Ash Barty is one exciting emerging talent and another, according to Simon, is Cori Gauff.

Gauff started playing the game at the age of 7 in her home town of Atlanta. Now 15, she is allowed to play 14 events this year and then as she turns 16 she can play 17 and then at 17 she can play 20. She is already the youngest ever finalist in the US Open Girls singles event.

Yes, there maybe a changing of the guard – but not today’s up and coming ATP stars – it may well be the turn of another generation – circa 21st century.

And the men’s game … a new Rafa?

15-year-old Carlos Alcaraz Garfia celebrated his first Top 200 win, recently, and everyone is telling us he is the new Rafa.

Carlos Alcaraz Garfia

It’s not often a 15-year-old earns his first ATP Rankings points, registering multiple match wins on the ATP Challenger Tour, but that’s exactly what Garfia has done in April.

And, for the record, it was nearly 17 years ago when another 15-year-old Spaniard, Rafael Nadal, took his first steps as a professional with a Top 200 stunner of his own in Mallorca.

Written by Peter Rowe for To read more visit

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