Former tennis pro Greg Rusedski expects a change of guard in the tennis fraternity in the next two years, when veterans such as the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal make way for the new age stars to make a mark for themselves. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are the others who are primed to make a comeback in 2018, having missed the majority of 2017 through injury.
Both Federer and Nadal came back from a tumultuous 2016 where they missed major parts of the season through injury. In 2017, they scripted a memorable comeback as the duo claimed two Slams each to end the year as the two top-ranked players of the season.
Meanwhile, Murray's 2017 campaign was riddled with a series of injuries which affected his overall game and prevented him from reaching the heights he did in 2016. He won just one title and struggled to stay fit during the course of the year.
Djokovic has also been stricken by a series of problems and has not played competitive tennis since his loss in the quarter-finals at the 2017 Wimbledon. The Serb was expected to make a return in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship but, pulled out at the last moment citing a setback on his long standing elbow injury.
However, despite the problems plaguing the top brass, Rusedski still expects two years to pass before the new legion of competitors can make the grade and overthrow the old guard.
"The change of the guard will happen in two years' time, " Rusedski said speaking at the Champions Tennis event at the Royal Albert Hall, as quoted by the Express.
"I'm expecting Federer and Nadal to still be at the top of men's tennis in 2018 and hopefully Andy Murray gets healthy again. That's the big question mark: when is he going to be back? I hope he doesn't rush it.
"Novak Djokovic is more psychological than his elbow and I think it's an easier transition to get back. He will be in the mix with Roger and Rafa.
"I think Roger could be number one again because he's had that six months off and he's had an incredible year. To enter 12 events in the year and win seven of them is incredible.
"Rafa has to enter so many events and play back-to-back to stay No 1. I don't see the gap changing just yet with the new generation but it's starting to get closer. In 2019, that's when they'll take over. What Roger has done is incredible, what Rafa's done is incredible."