Predictions are for the brave at this unsettled stage: Consider that Barty just won the French Open, her first Grand Slam singles title, without facing a top-10 player.
Barty beat Kenin in the quarterfinals and Amanda Anisimova in the semifinals. Kenin, 20, and Anisimova, 17, are leaders of an emerging group of American players with serious potential. The new wave includes the 15-year-old Cori Gauff, known as Coco, who is the youngest women’s qualifier in Wimbledon history. She will face Venus Williams in an intergenerational opening-round match at the All England Club on Monday. Williams, 39, won two of her five Wimbledon singles titles before 2004, the year Gauff was born.
Another promising American teenager, Caty McNally, 17, also has qualified for her first Wimbledon main draw.
“I’m just super excited for this new group coming up, all getting along really well and pushing each other,” said Kathy Rinaldi, the United States Fed Cup captain.
Those youngsters follow in the wake of Sloane Stephens, 26, and Madison Keys, 24, the Americans who faced off in the 2017 United States Open final, which Stephens won.
“I think Sloane and Madison are great, it’s just that they came at a time when it was really difficult to beat Serena,” Mouratoglou said. “Sloane won a Grand Slam, and she can still win several in the future. Madison can, too.”
But, as Mouratoglou pointed out, the Americans in this new wave will almost certainly not have to deal with Williams in the prime of their careers.