ALL EMPIRES eventually fall, and there are already small signs that tennis's three pillars—Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic—are beginning to yield. Federer recently turned 37 and has pared his schedule to prolong his career. Nadal is 32 and ranked No. 1 but is always prone to injury on account of his violent style of play. Djokovic took the Wimbledon title in July, but he's 31 and struggled with a lingering elbow issue earlier this season. We are unlikely to see this kind of contemporaneous tennis excellence again in our lifetime. But there will be champions crowned after the Big Three leave. Herewith a quartet of ascending stars who will win majors one day, perhaps as early as the 2018 U.S. Open, which begins Monday in New York.

• ALEXANDER ZVEREV

The 6'6" German turned 21 in April but is already up to No. 4 in the rankings, mostly by dint of his having won three titles over the last year. The next step in his evolution: a run to the semis of a major, a destination he has yet to reach in 16 attempts.

• STEFANOS TSITSIPAS

Just as basketball has a Greek Freak, so too does tennis. A 6'4" Athenian who turned 20 on Aug. 12, Tsitsipas has entered the top 30 after reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon and beating Djokovic in Toronto. His flowing one-handed backhand draws inevitable comparisons with Federer; his flowing blond locks draw inevitable comparisons with Bjorn Borg.

• FRANCES TIAFOE

When his father worked as the handyman of a Maryland tennis club, young Frances often tagged along. Now, at age 20, he is embedded in the top 40 and arrowing ever upward, the brightest American hope in a generation.

• DENIS SHAPOVALOV

The Israeli-born Canadian is only 19. By his own admission, he's had a "so-so" season. Tough standards, this kid. He's won more than 20 matches and has been ranked as high as No. 23.

FEDERER

DJOKOVIC

NADAL

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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AUSTRALIAN OPEN [FEDERER] [FEDERER] [FEDERER] [DJOKOVIC] [NADAL] [FEDERER] [DJOKOVIC] [DJOKOVIC] [DJOKOVIC] [DJOKOVIC] [DJOKOVIC] [FEDERER] [FEDERER]
FRENCH OPEN [NADAL] [NADAL] [NADAL] [NADAL] [FEDERER] [NADAL] [NADAL] [NADAL] [NADAL] [NADAL] [DJOKOVIC] [NADAL] [NADAL]
WIMBLEDON [FEDERER] [FEDERER] [FEDERER] [FEDERER] [FEDERER] [NADAL] [FEDERER] [NADAL] [DJOKOVIC] [FEDERER] [DJOKOVIC] [DJOKOVIC] [FEDERER] [DJOKOVIC]
U.S. OPEN [FEDERER] [FEDERER] [FEDERER] [FEDERER] [FEDERER] [NADAL] [DJOKOVIC] [NADAL] [DJOKOVIC] [NADAL]
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