Sports stars to watch in 2019
Who to look out for in the next sporting year.
The next 12 months could see a number of sports stars establish themselves on the global scene.
Here, Press Association Sport selects 10 to look out for in 2019.
Alexander Zverev (tennis)
At some point someone will break the Federer-Nadal-Djokovic grand slam stranglehold and Zverez, 21, is the obvious candidate. With Ivan Lendl now in his corner, the German will surely tackle his chronic underachievement at the slams so far, and he showed by beating Federer and Djokovic back to back at the ATP Finals in London that he has got everything to win the biggest titles and very soon.
Jofra Archer (cricket)
With a home World Cup followed immediately by an Ashes series, cricket is sure to be back page news in 2019. Sussex all-rounder Archer, who is not even available for England selection yet, looks set to be the brightest new face. The Barbados-born 23-year-old’s ability to bowl at 90mph, hit powerfully in the lower order and take brilliant catches in the field make him the kind of ‘X factor’ performer fans want to see. His residency terms are likely to be complete in March and expect to see him wearing three lions sooner rather than later.
Nikita Parris (football)
England striker Parris will head to the Women’s World Cup in France next summer full of confidence. The Manchester City player became the Women’s Super League’s all-time leading scorer last month and has established herself among Europe’s best. Parris, 24, has reportedly attracted interest from Paris St Germain, Chelsea and Bayern Munich and should play a key role as Phil Neville’s side attempt to better the country’s third placed finish in 2015.
Josh Kelly (boxing)
If Kelly was the most promising fighter of those Team GB took to Rio 2016 and is considered the most talented of a professional stable that also includes Michael Conlan and Ryan Burnett, then after eight victories and aged 24 his progress can be expected to accelerate. His renowned trainer Adam Booth also appears ready to match him more ambitiously, so Kelly will be presented with the chance to truly excel.
George Russell (F1)
The 20-year-old Englishman will make the step up to Formula One on the back of clinching the F2 championship. Norfolk-born Russell, who will race for Williams, beat fellow British rookie Lando Norris to that title. With 19-year-old Norris also progressing to the pinnacle of the sport with McLaren, British motor racing fans will be keen to witness the continuation of the rivalry and the battle of two potential future world champions.
Freya Anderson (swimming)
Anderson has an opportunity to to prove her pedigree on the global stage ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Gold medals in the 4x200m free and mixed 4x100m medley relays in Glasgow last summer showed her undoubted potential in European competition. The 17-year-old heads to July’s World Championships in South Korea with a chance to shine individually.
Ellie Downie (gymnastics)
Downie endured a painful and frustrating 18 months after claiming the all-around title at the 2017 European Championships in Cluj. But, after fighting back to fitness to compete in the World Championships in Doha in October, the 19-year-old looks ready to put her problems behind her. Fully fit and focused, Downie has shown she has the talent to push for medals at the next worlds in Stuttgart in 2019.
Reiss Nelson (football)
The Arsenal forward has been among the goals in the Bundesliga during a productive loan spell with German club Hoffenheim and has been backed for a “big future” by England manager Gareth Southgate. Nelson, who is due back at the Emirates Stadium next summer, has already trained with the national team’s senior squad. With Southgate giving plenty of opportunities to young players, including Jadon Sancho, 2019 could be a significant year for the 19-year-old.
Dina Asher-Smith (athletics)
The triple European champion will go for double gold at next year’s World Championships. Asher-Smith, 23, is planning on running the 100m and 200m in Doha as she steps up her bid for global dominance. She ran two world leading times in 2018 – 10.85 seconds in the 100m and 21.89s in the 200m – on the way to winning both events in Berlin in August.
Simon Yates (cycling)
Yates’ La Vuelta victory should be just the beginning. The 26-year-old lit up the Giro d’Italia with his attacking display but learned lessons from his collapse to win in Spain. Next he will surely target the Tour de France. While there has been much focus on whether Chris Froome or Geraint Thomas lead Team Sky come July, the Mitchelton-Scott rider could instead deliver the next British win.
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