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Tennis: Five breakout stars to watch on the ATP Tour

Spanish teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz tops the ATP world rankings and there will be many more budding youngsters hoping to follow in his footsteps next season.

Big things have been expected of the 19-year-old for some time but Alcaraz lived up to that promise when winning the US Open, becoming the youngest men's Grand Slam champion since compatriot Rafael Nadal won the French Open in 2005.

Emulating Alcaraz's achievements is going to be a tough feat but there are plenty of up-and-coming stars who will believe they have what it takes to go all the way to the top.

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We take a look at the chances of five talented youngsters who could enjoy a breakout 2023, and potentially even challenge for some of the game's most illustrious prizes.

Rune has the game to go all the way

Few finished the 2022 season stronger than Holger Rune and the impressive Dane has all the weapons to become an established top-ten performer.

The 19-year-old from Gentofte is already a three-time winner on the ATP Tour and November's Paris Masters title triumph, where he defeated Novak Djokovic in the final, announced him as a rising force.

The next test for Rune is proving that that success was no flash in the pan and making sure he can replicate what he has already achieved on the biggest of stages.

Rune did make the quarter-final of the French Open last season, though, so can clearly cope with the pressure and that effort also highlights his versatility regarding the surface.

The Danish teenager may have already enjoyed his breakout season but there is plenty to build on and there is every chance he could climb the rankings even further from world number 11 next year.

Big-serving Briton can live up to potential

Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans are two top operators but, with Andy Murray in the twilight of his career, Britain has been crying out for a new emerging talent.

But they may have found one as the only way is up for 20-year-old Jack Draper.

Currently standing at world number 42, Draper looks a serious prospect as he is armed with a super big serve, a weapon similar to the likes of either South Africa's Kevin Anderson or American ace John Isner.

Not only is the giant Londoner extremely powerful, but he is pretty agile too and those traits complement one another excellently.

Draper showed his capabilities when making the quarter-finals of an ATP Tour Masters 1000 event in Canada earlier this year and he was also a semi-finalist at the Next Generation ATP Finals, which was won by Brandon Nakashima.

Expect Draper's improvement to continue and 2023 could be a big year for the blossoming Briton.

Brooksby's time could be fast approaching

America already has six players inside the world's top 40 but there could be more to come with 22-year-old Jenson Brooksby a player on the rise.

Brooksby still awaits his first title triumph on the ATP Tour but he is a three-time runner-up and second-place finishes in Atlanta and Dallas this year suggest it won't be long until he does gain his breakthrough.

A hard or grass court is what is needed to see Brooksby at his best but there is no doubting he has the game to be a success.

The Californian is a defensive baseliner and his approach would be described as unorthodox, but it is extremely effective and he has the ability to dominate baseline rallies.

Nakashima another up-and-coming American

Just like Brooksby, Nakashima is another of America's emerging stars and the 21-year-old will be teeing-up for a successful 2023 after his victory at the Next Generation ATP Finals in November.

Nakashima announced himself as one of the game's brightest prospects with that win and he also tasted success on the main Tour this year, winning the San Diego Open.

The 21-year-old gained plenty of British fans at this year's Wimbledon, where he took eventual runner-up Nick Kyrgios to an epic five-setter and is certainly on an upward trajectory.

Currently at world number 47, it would be a big surprise were Nakashima not to push on next season, and there should be plenty more celebrations to come.

Lehecka a lively customer

There are plenty of talented female tennis players hailing from the Czech Republic but not many males, although Jiri Lehecka could be a rising star.

It has been a promising start to the career of the 21-year-old, who beat Dominic Stricker at the Next Generation ATP Finals before playing second fiddle to Nakashima.

Lehecka is a prolific winner on the Challenger Tour and the next step will be proving he can do it on the biggest of stages as he was a first-round casualty in all four Grand Slam competitions last term.

But it is still early days in the development of the Lehecka and what is to say he can't go on to emulate the achievements of his great countryman Tomas Berdych, a one-time Grand Slam runner-up.

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