Who are the rising sport prodigies looking to emulate Carlos Alcaraz?
The stars following in Carlos Alcaraz’s footsteps: American sprinter touted as the ‘next Usain Bolt’, a Barbadian looking to emulate Lewis Hamilton and Real Madrid’s new Brazilian hotshot
- Alcaraz beat Novak Djokovic in a thriller to win his first ever Wimbledon title
- At 20, he becomes the youngest Wimbledon men’s champion since Boris Becker
- But who are the stars of the future in other sports? Mail Sport takes a look
- Latest Wimbledon 2023 news, including schedule, travel updates and results
A new era in tennis has dawned and Carlos Alcaraz in the leading light after his remarkable triumph at Wimbledon.
The men’s world No 1 has been hyped up as the next big thing in tennis and he lived up to the billing as he triumphed over Novak Djokovic in a five-set thriller in SW19.
At the age of just 20-years-old, Alcaraz clinched his second Grand Slam title – and first Wimbledon one – with a stunning victory over his Serbian counterpart.
In doing so, he became the youngest Wimbledon men’s champion since Boris Becker in 1985. And, while the young Spaniard is now expected to go on to achieve great things in tennis, who can we expect to follow his lead in their respective sports?
Here, Mail Sport takes a look at the biggest talents that you may never have heard of – and should now look out for.
Carlos Alcaraz (pictured) beat Novak Djokovic to become a Wimbledon champion on Sunday
By Sam McEvoy
Real Madrid already have one of the most exciting attacks in world football, with Brazilian duo Vinicius Jnr and Rodrygo Goes occupying the left and right wings for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
But that hasn’t stopped them from adding a third Brazilian to their squad, with Endrick viewed as one of the most exciting prospects in world football.
The 16-year-old was snapped up by the Spanish club in a deal that is set to net his current side, Palmeiras, upwards of £62million.
Endrick is one of the most exciting prospects in world football and will join Real Madrid in 2024
Endrick won the Brazil Supercopa back in November with his current team Palmeiras
While the move will not take place until 2024 when he turns 18, the teenager, who won the Brazil Supercopa back in November with his current team, has been sought after by many clubs, with Real Madrid even turning down a move for Erling Haaland and opting to sign him instead.
The tricky forward has bags of talent and already has so much confidence in his game.
If he is able to deal with the pressure of moving to one of the world’s biggest clubs, then Real Madrid could have one of the deadliest attacking trios for years to come.
James Rew, 19
By Lawrence Booth
When England reached the final of the Under-19 World Cup in early 2022, the only player standing between an even heavier defeat by India was Somerset left-hander James Rew, who made a classy 95 in a total of 189.
Since then – and still only 19 – he has made waves in county cricket, heading into the latest round of matches with six hundreds from 28 first-class innings and an average of 56. He has been keeping wicket too.
Taunton can be a nice place to bat, but Rew is cashing in with a maturity well beyond his years.
James Rew is one of the hottest prospects in cricket and has represented England’s U19 side
Tom Kim, 21
By Riath Al-Samarrai
The South Korean turned professional as a 15-year-old on the Philippine Golf Tour but the key point to note is what he has done since – he already won titles on the PGA Tour.
In winning twice before he was 21, he become the first to do so since a chap named Tiger Woods.
Shane Lowry, the 2019 Open winner, just about summed up Kim’s talent with this memory: ‘I played with Tom in Hong Kong in January 2020, an Asian Tour event, and I was 32 or 33 at the time. I remember walking down one hole and I said to him, “How old are you?” 17. I was like, “Oh, for f*** sake”.’
Finishing eighth in the US Open last month, even bigger things are expected.
Tom Kim has already won titles on the PGA Tour and has emulated Tiger Woods in the process
Henry Arundell, 20
By Alex Bywater
Henry Arundell is just 20 years old but he has already lit up rugby’s highest level with both club and country and lost his job after the demise of London Irish.
Such is Arundell’s outrageous ability that when Irish collapsed due to financial chaos earlier this summer, the flying back was instantly picked up by big-spending French giants Racing 92.
He has seven senior caps for England and scored a stunning try on his international debut against Australia last summer.
Henry Arundell (right), 20, has already lit up rugby’s highest level with both club and country
Earlier in 2022, he ran the length of the field to cross for Irish against Toulon in European competition for a try which instantly went viral on social media.
Arundell’s Toulon effort has been described as one of the best tries of all time and he has a habit for spectacular scores having produced several for England at Under 20 level.
His ability to create something out of nothing means he is close to certain to being a part of England’s World Cup squad for the tournament which begins in September. Arundell will be one to watch in France and his ability to play both full-back and wing is an added bonus for head coach Steve Borthwick.
Zane Maloney, 19
By Jonathan McEvoy
Bridgetown, Barbados, may be where you would search for a brilliant cricketing all-rounder but not necessarily for an heir to Formula One greatness. Yet Zane Maloney may turn that assumption on it’s head.
The 19-year-old is highly rated and young enough to crack the big time. He also has the important backing of Red Bull, where he is an F1 reserve driver while he competes in this year’s Formula Two series for Carlin.
Maloney won the British F4 title in 2019, when he was pictured with Lewis Hamilton, who family came to Britain from Grenada in the 1950s. Maloney was also runner-up in the 2022 Formula Three championship.
Barbados-born Zane Maloney is highly rated and young enough to crack the big time in F1
Maloney won the British F4 title in 2019, when he was pictured with Lewis Hamilton (left)
John Hedges, 20
By Alex McCarthy
Making his debut as a slick, 6ft5in middleweight operating from southpaw, John Hedges had an array of tantalising tools even before he made his professional bow.
Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom boxing scooped up the Essex-born fighter after a glittering amateur career that saw Hedges collect four national titles and seven international titles in his 40 victories from 44 outings.
Anthony Joshua didn’t make his professional debut until he was 23. Joe Joyce didn’t depart the amateur ranks until he was 32. It’s highly unusual for a teenager to turn professional in boxing with the lure of an Olympic medal prevalent to so many, but, with Hearn chasing his signature, Hedges decided to become one of boxing’s biggest promoters’ next big thing.
6ft5in middleweight John Hedges (right) is unbeaten and destined to reach the top of boxing
Partnering the size of ‘Gentleman John’ with an educated jab has seen the young Brit surge to 8-0 in his career, but with just two finishes. He has the skill to outbox his foes and now 21, he will have to start securing the win before the final bell if he wants to become a box office attraction.
Hedges already has 41 rounds in the bank leaving Matchroom delighted with his progression and the vital experience he’s gaining. The promotion’s golden goose, Joshua, took 17 fights to reach 41 rounds – he’d only had 25 professional rounds before his first fight with Dillian Whyte.
The unbeaten youngster has already bagged wins on the undercards of talents like AJ and Joshua Buatsi, but there’s no doubt the now-light-heavyweight prospect has all the tools to be one of Britain’s next boxing stars.
Raul Rosas Jr, 18
By Will Griffee
At 17, the prodigy from California had to obtain permission from his parents for the UFC to sign him, becoming the youngest fighter snapped up by the promotion.
He was described by Dana White as ‘special’ when the head honcho first watched him on the Contender Series and banked a $50,000 bonus on his UFC debut – telling the crowd he’d spend it on a minivan for his mum to drive him to training.
He was brought back down to earth with a bump in a decision defeat in his last fight but in MMA terms Rosas Jr is still a toddler and he is set for a sparkling future.
At 17, Raul Rosas Jr (left) became the youngest fighter to be snapped up by the UFC
He was described by Dana White as ‘special’ when the head honcho first watched him
Luke Littler, 16
By Kieran Gill
Look no further than Luke Littler, the 16-year-old from Runcorn nicknamed ‘The Nuke’, if you are searching for darts’ most promising prospect.
As recently as last week, Littler won his fourth Development Tour title of 2023, managing a marvellous 115 average in one match and hitting a nine-darter in another.
The reigning JDC Junior World Champion is on course to qualify for the Grand Slam of Darts and the World Darts Championship, where an army of fans at Alexandra Palace would welcome him with open arms. Littler is a talented teenager who you hope can keep going from strength to strength.
16-year-old darts player Luke Littler has been tipped to achieve big things in the sport
Erriyon Knighton, 19
By David Coverdale
Still only 19, the American sprinter has long been touted as the next Usain Bolt.
Knighton has already broken Bolt’s Under 18 and Under 20 world records for the 200metres.
And his personal best of 19.49sec – an unratified time he clocked in Baton Rouge last April – makes him the first-fastest man in history over the distance, with Bolt’s 19.19sec in his sights.
American starlet Erriyon Knighton is proving to be one of the most exciting talents in athletics
Still only 19, the American sprinter has long been touted as the next Usain Bolt (centre)
‘I actually want to go sub-19,’ he boldly declared earlier this year.
Knighton became the youngest man to run for the USA at an Olympics since 1964 when he competed at Tokyo 2020 aged 17, finishing fourth in the 200m.
He then won bronze at last summer’s World Championships – the youngest sprinter to ever claim an individual world medal – and will be looking to upgrade that in Budapest next month.
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