Vote and debate - Who will be the breakout star of 2019? Eurosport journalists have their say
Which athlete will make the break into the sporting stratosphere in 2019? We asked Eurosport's journalists to make their case... and you can have your say too. Vote at the bottom of the article and post in the comments with your suggestions.
He may have just won the 2018 World Tour Finals, but Alexander Zverev will not be considered a legitimate ‘breakout star’ in men’s tennis until he has actually won a Grand Slam – something the likes of Naomi Osaka, Jelena Ostapenko and Sloane Stephens have all already done. The German is still just 21 years old and has finally found the edge that is required to beat the established ‘big four’ as he did in spoiling Novak Djokovic’s end-of-year celebration in London. Zverev can win a Slam in 2019 and finally give men’s tennis what it desperately needs: a genuine new superstar.
Georgia Stanway will score all the goals at the Women's World Cup. All of them.
The UEFA Nations League. England will win it: 52 years of hurt is coming to an end in Portugal and what started off life as a joke competition in August will have assumed huge importance in the history of English football by the start of June…
Caroline Dubois – Boxing analyst Steve Bunce reckons Dubois is “the best female athlete in the world, in any sport”. Buncey might want to avoid making eye contact with Simone Biles for a while, but his hyperbole illustrates Dubois’ incredible potential. Olympic selection rules mean she may not even compete at Tokyo 2020; but with women’s boxing growing in profile all the time, there’s no way a talent this special will stay off the public radar for long.
Denis Shapovalov. The Canadian is stealthily rising up the rankings and is on the cusp of the top 20 – not to be sniffed at for a teenager. He may not topple the Big Four (if Murray returns to form) just yet but, as Alexander Zverev’s ATP Finals win showed, the crop of young talent is getting bigger, and they are growing in belief. The top 10 is not out of reach for the prodigiously talented 19-year-old.
Sophie Ecclestone. The teenage spinner has settled well into her England career, and a few international matches at home will give her a spell in the spotlight. Time for a slow bowler to shine after the heroics of Anya Shrubsole in 2017.
Probably no one in men's tennis.
VAR in the Premier League. It can only be a good thing, right? RIGHT?!
Morgan Gibbs-White. Wolves’ Gibbs-White is the first of the England Under-17 World Cup winning team to make a Premier League start, beating the likes of Rhian Brewster, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Phil Foden to it. Were he playing for one of the big six, we’d all know about him by now. But this teenager is set for big things. The winger produced a man of the match performance in the recent 2-1 win over Chelsea, earning a standing ovation. Pace, agility, strength and an eye for a pass, there appears very few flaws to his game.
Zion Williamson. The Duke Small-forward/Power-forward is the real deal. Kevin Durant has described him as a once-in-a-generation type athlete, while North Carolina Tar Heels coach Roy Williams went further to call him the best player he has seen since Michael Jordan. Williams helped recruit Jordan at North Carolina so knows a thing or two.
Rashid Khan. He's hardly a break-out star given his incredible performances for Afghanistan and in the IPL but this summer will see Khan finally get a chance to play at the World Cup. The new, ridiculous, format chosen by the ICC nearly cost Afghanistan a place at the finals but they are there and with Khan in the side they are going to make life difficult for a lot of teams. Khan is one the best one-day players in the world right now and he's going to go a whole new level in 2019 with his assortment of tricks, agility in the field, and useful batting. Khan is one of the young stars who will help drive cricket forward globally and he will be crucial as Afghanistan continue to establish themselves as a rising force in the game.
Team Sky's Colombian star Egan Bernal is the next big thing in cycling. Still just 21, he looked remarkably at home during the Tour de France, more than holding his own in the mountains alongside the world's best climbers. It's quite possible that Bernal will be afforded a leading role by Sky in the Giro d'Italia, where he has the punchy riding style to make a real impact on General Classification.
Now it's time to have your say. Vote for your favourite, or comment with your choice below.