With a break in the main tour action this week, The Tennis Scoop has taken a look at a few of the players regarded as the stars of the near future on the ATP tour. We start off with highly rated Richard Berankis.
The 20-year-old from Lithuania is currently ranked at a career-high 73 in the world. The right-hander from Vilnius certainly has a lot of potential, although he doesn’t quite fit the mould for the modern male tennis pro. Standing in stark contrast to most of the breakthrough players of the last few years, such as Isner, Del Potro and more recently Raonic, Richard Berankis is only 1.75 meters tall and his stocky frame and speed around the court has drawn comparisons to Arnaud Clement. However the Lithuanian is far more explosive off the ground and is capable of some excellent shot making, which should help him to surpass the French journeymans career achievements.
The youngster is already the highest ranked player to play for his native country, has captured the US Open Junior title in 2007 and the prestigeous Orange Bowl title, and became the world junior number one. He will also struggle to find a better base from which to launch his career, training and being coached at the IMG Bollettieri Academy in Florida, home to such legends as Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg, Andre Agassi and the Williams sisters. He has however had the same coach, Remigijus Balzekas, since he was just 9 years old.
2010 was the year that Berankis started to show signs he was ready to compete on the main tour. Two singles rubber wins against Great Britain set the tone early on. A challenger win on grass at the Nottingham event was followed up by an impressive second round exit at Wimbledon, taking a set off grass court veteran Feliciano Lopez in a 3-1 defeat. He reached another challenger final on the hard courts of Vancouver in week 31, losing in straight sets to Dudi Sela, before embarking on his strongest grand slam run to date. After defeating American Ryan Sweeting in the 1st round, Berankis then went on to give current world number 10 Jurgen Melzer a scare in a 5 set epic, losing a tight 5th set 7-5. Richard finished off 2010 with another challenger win, this time against a strong field in Helsinki, including wins against Teimuraz Gabashvilli, Frank Dancevic and fellow rising star Grigor Dimotrov.
CLICK HERE – For the complete article
- Berankis to SAP Open Quarter-finals (theglobeandmail.com)
- A Tennis Tradition Like Few Others (sfgate.com)