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Players to Watch

You already know about Maria Sharapova and Andy Roddick. These five young players are the stars of the future—if not for their game, then for their looks.


Rafael Nadal
This 19-year-old Spaniard’s first major victory came at this year’s French Open, domain of clay-court specialists—and that’s the only reason he’s still under the casual fan’s radar, despite his No. 2 ranking. His flowing locks, dimpled smile, and thrillingly athletic plays suggest he won’t go unnoticed for long, and his hard-court prowess— he recently beat Agassi—should mean a good U.S. Open run.

Maria Kirilenko
Someday, the 18-year-old may equal fellow attractive blonde Russian Maria Sharapova’s success both on the court—measured by ranking—and off (measured by number of vaguely creepy fan Websites). For now, though she’s come close to upsetting Sharapova and Serena Williams, she’s yet to win a WTA tournament—which means her future could be more like Anna Kournikova’s.

Donald Young
Great things undoubtedly lie ahead for the most exciting men’s prospect in America. This just-barely-16-years-old Atlantan is already the youngest junior No. 1 in tennis history. Don’t expect Young to get past the Þrst round this time out. Do expect to be wowed by his precocity.

Shuai Peng
Has beaten three top-ten players this year, and was two points short of upsetting Lindsay Davenport at the French Open. The 19-year-old native of China’s Hunan province has some Yao Ming problems, though; she was forced to miss Wimbledon during a ten-week detour to play in a Chinese national tournament.

Ana Ivanovic
Last year, this 17-year-old Serb climbed 608 spots to 97th in the world (she’s now ranked 19), defeating third-ranked Amelie Mauresmo and U.S. Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova. As with many elite young women players, the sultry-photo section of her Website is more stylistically diverse than her baseline power game.


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