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17-year-old Joao Fonseca is Brazil’s best tennis talent since Gustavo Kuerten.


The tennis world first heard of him properly at his home tournament in Rio recently, where he made the quarterfinals and beat top forty player Arthur Fils along the way.


He became the first player born in 2006 to win an ATP-level match this year, and despite only being a teenager, Joao has turned pro and is playing regular matches on the tour.


The youngster also made the tough decision to forego the opportunity to attend college in Virginia, right after his success at the clay ATP 500.


Joao said, “I think the Rio Open was so much of a jump that I couldn't say no to the pro tour. My family and I had been thinking about it for a long time. It was a very difficult decision.” 


So who actually is this Joao Fonseca, and could he be Brazil’s next major singles champion?


It is already clear that he knows how to win big matches, as he won the Boys US Open Singles title last season.


He finished 2023 ranked as the number one junior in the world and is already inside the top 300 in the ATP men’s rankings following his success in Rio.


Now, there is no doubt that Brazil has a great history of sporting legends, but that is mainly through football and volleyball.


Tennis has somewhat taken a back seat, with only Gustavo Kuerten being able to win a singles major title in the last fifty years.


The man born in Florianópolis won the French Open three times and also became number one in the world.


Since then though, Brazil has had relatively little major success on the singles tours, with 26-year-old Beatriz Haddad Maia being the only player, male or female, being able to crack the top ten.


Fonseca looks like a champion in the making though, as he has a serve that can already reach over 200 km/h in speed and is strong on both the forehand and backhand wings.


His mental and physical fitness is also staggering considering his experience level, with it potentially being comparable to that of the great Rafael Nadal.


Fonseca will continue his rise in 2024, and I predict he will be well entrenched inside the world’s top seventy by the end of the year.


He is currently 6th in the race to the next generation of ATP Finals and is also the youngest player in the top forty players under 20 years of age.


Joao has also been picked by the clothing brand that is partly owned by the great Roger Federer.


He joined women’s world number one Iga Swiatek and also US star Ben Shelton as one of the faces of the ‘On’ brand recently.


From marketability to simply tennis ability, it is clear to see Fonseca will be very well known within a few years, and it is safe to say whoever isn’t familiar with him yet will be by the end of 2024.


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