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Four rising British tennis stars to look out for in 2024

Despite the team successes in 2023 in the Billie Jean King Cup and the Davis Cup, British tennis has perhaps felt staler of late, with fewer Brits forging deep runs in the grand-slam events.

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With Andy Murray reportedly entering his last year of professional tennis, the baton has been firmly handed to the young talents, Jack Draper and Junior Wimbledon winner, Henry Searle, as well as the impressive Jodie Burrage, Katie Boulter, and Harriet Dart on the women’s side.

Former US Open winner, Emma Raducanu, will also seek to replicate her astonishingly high level this year after a prolonged stretch out due to injury.

Draper, still only 22, is likely to be the player to hit the headlines, coming off an incredibly successful 2023, having ended his year by sweeping up the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) trophy, beating current world No. 8, Holger Rune, in the grand final.

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However, many British talents have somewhat gone under the radar or are yet to completely burst into the main scene.

Some honourable mentions who just missed out on this shortlist are the Welsh prodigy and ITF Junior No. 15, Mingge (Mimi) Xu, who had a bumper year, rounded off by a successful string of performances at the BJK Junior Cup.

Also narrowly missing out is Ben Gusic-Wan, the 16-year-old whose year saw him just miss out on the top 50 in the ITF Junior rankings.

Here’s who you should look out for during 2024.

Hannah Klugman

Hannah Klugman is undoubtedly the future of British women’s tennis. The 14-year-old plays with such verve and nous, with her heavy ball striking already on par with much of the women’s professional tour (WTA).

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Ranked seventh in the ITF Juniors, and now the WTA No. 670, the rising star has scooped up a handful of points this year dismantling opponents several hundred rankings higher, with relative ease.

Her game is not limited to the baseline however – the style pervasive on the ITF circuit that often makes for a stunted transition into the professional women’s tour. 

In 2023 she made the quarter-finals of the US Open girl’s singles, dispatching the third seed Sayaka Ishii in the round of 16, before Klugman retired 47 minutes into her following match.

She also reached the final of the girl’s doubles at Wimbledon with her partner, Isabelle Lacy, eventually losing out to Czech pair Alena Kovačková and Laura Samsonová in straight sets.

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However, the heads truly began to turn during the latter months of the year, with Klugman becoming the youngest player to qualify for a W100 event, breaking Coco Gauff’s previous record.

Her run in Shrewsbury saw her convincingly beat several senior players to reach the main draw and subsequently the quarter-finals before her run was ended by world No. 46 Oceane Dodin.

In December, Klugman won the prestigious Orange Bowl Trophy in Florida, having finished runner-up in the under-14 tournament last year.

The under-18 tournament ranks alongside the Grand Slams as one of the biggest events in the junior game, with Klugman coming through in straight sets against top seed Samsonova, and finally American Tyra Grant in the final 6-3 6-3.

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2024 looks set to be her breakout year with the possibility of wildcard into the main draw of Wimbledon. Regardless, Klugman will be the name on everyone’s lips over the next decade of women’s tennis.

Arthur Fery 

The Wimbledon-born, son of former WTA professional and French business tycoon, is making waves across the pond, gobbling up title after title playing as Stanford’s no. 1. In 2023, the 21-year-old became Stanford’s first No. 1 ranked singles player in the country since 16-time grand slam doubles winner Bob Bryan.

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A cameo on Wimbledon’s Court 1 was the perfect stage for Fery as he battled the towering Russian frame of former world No. 1, Daniil Medvedev, valiantly losing out in straight sets.

However, the young confident Brit successfully lured in the crowd with his inventive net play and confident passing shots.

While the tie slipped away from him, the moment and memory did not.

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Despite Fery’s slightly smaller stature in comparison to his ATP colleagues, his 5ft 7 frame has brought rise to a far more exciting and varied game.

Employing the serve and volley, despite its relative antiquity in the modern game, has allowed Fery to adapt his tactics far more frequently and has consequently brought about his rise through the ATP rankings.

Ranked world No. 268, Fery pulled off a major upset on the Nottingham grass coming back from a set down against American veteran and former world No. 21, Steve Johnson.

It continued to get better for Fery later in 2023, when he came through qualifiers in the challenger event in Mouilleron-le-Captif, eventually narrowly losing out in the final. Fery battled past David Goffin in the process, previously an ATP top 10 resident.

Fery has not neglected his doubles play either, currently preparing for the final in the Nonthaburi Challenger event in Thailand partnering fellow Brit, Joshua Paris.

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Another Wimbledon wildcard awaits Fery in the summer, as the youngster looks set to continue his rich vein of form in 2024.

Ben Bartram and Abbie Breakwell

While the Wheelchair tours have seen Britain reign supreme over the last few years, with players like Alfie Hewett, Gordon Reid, and Andy Lapthorne hoarding the lions share of the silverware, there are a new set of emerging talents.

Ben Bartram, the 18-year-old from Norfolk has continued his rapid development this year, starting off with a wildcard entry into the Australian Open.

Melbourne saw the young talent provide an impressive account of himself, despite succumbing in the opening round to Takashi Sanada.

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He was later that year selected to represent Great Britain at the World Team Cup alongside Hewett and Reid. The trio controlled their matches throughout the week and convincingly wrapped up the title without losing a single match.

On the women’s side, Abbie Breakwell similarly produced a remarkable year, picking up five singles and six doubles titles across the ITF Futures tour.

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As a result of her prolific form, the 20-year-old was crowned British No.2, behind multiple Paralympic medallist, Lucy Shuker.

Breakwell will be another one to keep tabs on throughout this coming year.

Author

  • Sam France

    Sam France is an avid tennis watcher and player, frequently found passionately raving about the WTA tour. A lifelong Chelsea fan, who is currently, albeit with significant reservation, trusting an alleged process.