Saturday, March 10, 2018 - Stefanos Tsitsipas plays Dominic Thiem in the 2nd Round of the BNP Paribas Open in Stadium 1 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Jared Wickerham/BNP Paribas Open)
The future of tennis is here. Before they arrive in the spotlight, WTA and ATP Tour stars all have a breakthrough moment that puts the tennis world on notice. Whether it is Naomi Osaka capturing the 2018 BNP Paribas Open singles crown or Borna Ćorić taking then-World No. 1 Roger Federer to three sets in the 2018 semifinals, each rising star registers their own career-defining moment.
The 2019 BNP Paribas Open player field is filled with a compelling mix of accomplished veterans and newcomers on the rise. Let’s have a look at our list of the eight young players to seek out at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden who just might be a future Grand Slam winner – as soon as 2019.
Aryna Sabalenka | Belarus; Age 20
Registering arguably the most impressive second half of the 2018 season, Sabalenka was one of eight WTA rising stars to capture her maiden singles title last year, when she defeated Carla Suárez Navarro at Connecticut in August. The 20-year-old phenom would also notch eight Top 10 victories and tack on an additional singles title at Wuhan en route to finishing the season ranked No. 13 – an incredible 60 spots better than where she started the year.
Maria Sakkari | Greece; Age 23
Following up a 2017 campaign that saw the then 22-year-old record the first Top 100 finish for a Greek player since 2011 (Eleni Daniilidou), Sakkari flourished in 2018 at the BNP Paribas Open, making the Round of 16 after defeating Ashleigh Barty  and CoCo Vandeweghe . Sakkari made one final in 2018 (San Jose) and reached her career-high ranking of No. 29 in September. She will look to continue her ascent and capture her maiden WTA title in 2019.
Elise Mertens | Belgium; Age 23
It’s difficult to talk about rising stars without mentioning the 2018 season Elise Mertens put together. Coming off her first title in 2017 at Hobart, Mertens began 2018 by making the semifinals of the Australian Open. She followed up the impressive showing by securing three singles titles – at Hobart, Lugano and Rabat; and four doubles titles – at Hobart, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Wuhan and Lugano. Mertens will look to crack the Top 10 in both the singles and doubles circuit in 2019, beginning the season ranked No. 12 and No. 11, respectively.
Aliaksandra Sasnovich | Belarus; Age 24
Beginning the 2018 season ranked No. 88 in the WTA standings, Aliaksandra Sasnovich kickedoff her campaign with her second career final appearance after defeating Kristina Mladenovic and Anastasija Sevastova at Brisbane. Sasnovich rounded out her season by securing key victories against Petra Kvitová and Daria Gavrilova  at Wimbledon; Daria Kasatkina at the US Open; and Elise Mertens  at Wuhan. She starts the 2019 season ranked No. 30 and will look to make a splash for the first time at Indian Wells.
Alex de Minaur | Australia; Age 19
One of the biggest movers in the 2018 calendar year, Alex de Minaur started the season ranked No. 208 as a relatively unknown ATP Tour Next Gen rising star. After reaching the finals at Sydney, Washington D.C. and the Next Gen ATP Finals, de Minaur skyrocketed up the ATP Tour rankings to finish 2018 at No. 31 – the best among Australian male athletes. De Minaur was also voted Newcomer of the Year by his ATP Tour peers and will look to capture his first career singles title in 2019.
Stefanos Tsitsipas | Greece; Age 20
A 5-0 finish and a title at the Next Gen ATP Finals capped off a stellar season for Tsitsipas, who finished 2018 ranked No. 15. The 20-year-old also registered a run to the Round of 16 at Wimbledon and made finals appearances at Barcelona and Toronto – where he earned four consecutive Top 10 victories (Thiem, Djokovic, Zverev, Anderson) before falling to eventual Champion Rafael Nadal. Tsitsipas began his 2019 campaign notching five wins at the Australian Open, defeating Roger Federer and making the semifinals in the process; He will look to build on his 1-1 career record at Indian Wells in 2019.
Karen Khachanov | Russia; Age 22
The hard courts beckoned for the roaring Russian in 2018, as Khachanov tallied more match wins in 2018 (46) than he had in his entire career entering the year (43). He captured three singles titles – at Marseille, Moscow and Paris. The latter would mark his first career Masters 1000 crown as he dismissed John Isner , Alexander Zverev , Dominic Thiem  and Novak Djokovic  in dominating fashion. Khachanov opens 2019 looking to break into the ATP Tour Top 10 and will be a tough out on the fast, hard courts of Indian Wells in March.
Borna Ćorić | Croatia; Age 22
Borna Ćorić made his presence felt on the ATP Tour early in 2018, as he took then-World No. 1 Roger Federer to the brink in a three-set semifinal matchup for the ages at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open. He would later avenge the loss to Federer by knocking off the Swiss Maestro at Halle to claim his lone singles title of 2018. Nineteen match wins at Masters 1000 events helped Ćorić rise from No. 48 up to No. 12, where he is ranked entering 2019. Ćorić will look to build on success at Indian Wells and vie for his first Masters 1000 title this March.