Inaugural Next Generation Finals Set To Be Testing Ground For New Format - UBITENNIS
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Inaugural Next Generation Finals Set To Be Testing Ground For New Format



Borna Coric, Alexander Zverev, Hyeon Chung, Taylor Fritz, Kyle Edmund, Jared Donaldson and Frances Tiafoe at the #NextGen player panel during the 2016 BNP Paribas Open (

The first ever ATP finals for players under the age of 21 will used to test proposed changes to the men’s tour according to The Telegraph.


It is understood that the Association of Tennis professionals (ATP) will vote over the coming days about proposed changes to the structure of matches. The aim of the governing body is to shorten the length of matches without affecting its essence to maximise their appeal to both fans and media broadcasters.

Some the possibilities being debated this month include the introduction of four-game sets, no service lets and a sudden-death deuce to eliminate the advantage scoring. All of these ideas are said to be in the planning stages with no guarantee that they will be introduced.

The trial of these potential changes will occur at the ATP Next Gen finals in Milan, Italy. The tournament will feature the seven highest ranked players under the age of 21 plus a wildcard entry. This year will be the first edition of the event, which aims to showcase the Next Generation of the tour once the era of the ‘big four’ comes to an end.

Last month the ATP confirmed to that they are currently conducting a review. The potential chances to the match format comes as South America faces the loss of its clay swing of the tour.

“The ATP is currently undergoing an internal review of its calendar and tournament structure, with a view to ensuring continued growth and establishing a long-term vision for the Tour for 2019 and beyond.” Simon Higson, the vice-president of PR and communication, told

According to The Telegraph, another idea is the introduction of a clock on the court. This is for players to monitor themselves how long they take between points. Players are allowed no more than 25 seconds. Rafael Nadal is a fierce critic of the rule and is known for breaching it in matches.

Regarding the reducing of six-game matches to four, the idea is to force players to play more ‘key games.’ It is understood that if this rule was applied, matches would be best out of five sets and not three. The concept is based on Fast4 tennis.

Davis Cup leading the way with change

The potential changes by the ATP comes as the structure of the Davis Cup faces a vote in August. At a recent meeting in Indian Wells, the ITF board of directors introduced a motion of reducing five-set matches to three. The recommendation will be debated in August at an ITF AGM meeting followed by a vote.

“‘At their meeting in Indian Wells, the ITF Board of Directors unanimously endorsed a package of comprehensive reforms for Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.” The ITF said in a statement.
‘These include Davis Cup matches being played over three sets rather than five sets following a review of current match formats.”

American Davis Cup captain Jim Courier has supported the calls for change. It is rumoured that both the American and French tennis federations will support the reduction of sets at the upcoming ITF meeting.

“If you dislike change, you’ll dislike irrelevance even more,” Courier told the New York Times.
“When you lose support of the top players, as we did in the first round this year, I think it’s clear that you have a declining asset that you need to refurbish if you want it to be pristine again.

British captain Leon Smith has also voiced similar support by arguing it would be ‘better for the supporters.’

This week’s Davis Cup will only see one of the ‘big four’ participating. Novak Djokovic will feature in Serbia’s tie against Spain.

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Luca Van Assche edges past Abdullah Shelbayh at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah



Luca Van Assche beat Abdullah Shelbayh 4-3 (7-5) 3-4 (5-7) 4-1 4-1 to move to 1-0 in Red Group at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah. 


Shelbayh thrilled the crowd with net approaches and drop shots but he converted just 2 of his 17 break points. 

Both players were making their first appearance at the Next Gen Finals. 

Shelbayh hit 28 winners to Van Assche’s 17. Van Assche made only 19 unforced errors to Shelbayh’s 34. 

Van Assche earned an early break in the first game and saved three break points to hold serve on the deciding point in the second game to take a 2-0 lead. Shelbayh broke back at love in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Van Assche came back from 2-4 down to win the tie-break 7-5.

The second set went on serve en route to the tie-break. Van Assche saved four break points in the third game to hold serve on the deciding point. Shelbayh earned four set points at 6-2. Van Assche saved the first three set points to claw his way back to 5-6, but Shelbayh earned his fourth mini-break with a drop-shot to seal the tie-break 7-5. 

Van Assche broke twice in the first and fifth games to win the third set 4-1. Shelbayh converted his third break point in the first game of the fourth set to take a 1-0 lead, but Van Assche won four consecutive games with two breaks of serve. 

Van Assche won seven of the ten deciding points of the match. 

“It was a tough match today against a tough opponent. I know Abdullah very well. He is an amazing player. He was almost at home with the crowd cheering for him. It was a good match for me and really tough from the beginning to the end. It is very difficult not to have a warm-up. I just hit a couple of balls before I entered the court”, said Van Assche. 

Shelbayh received a strong support of the crowd from neighbouring Jordan. 

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Flavio Cobolli beats Dominic Stricker on his debut at the Next Gen Finals



Flavio Cobolli overcame 2022 semifinalist Dominic Stricker 4-2 3-4 (4-7) 4-1 4-2 after 1 hour and 39 minutes on his debut at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah to move to 1-0 in Green Group. 


Cobolli converted four of his five break points and won nine of his ten games on the deciding point.

Sticker earned the first break point in the second game of the opening set, but Cobolli saved it with a forehand inside-out on the deciding point. Cobolli fended off another break point on the deciding point with a first serve winner in the fourth game. The Italian player broke serve in the fifth game on the deciding point with a forehand passing shot to take a 3-2 lead and served out the first set at 15. 

The second set went on serve in the first three games with no break points. Stricker earned a break point in the fourth game, but Cobolli saved it to hold serve for 2-2. Stricker went up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break with a mini-break on the second point, but Cobolli pulled the mini-break back to draw level to 5-5. Cobolli saved two set points at 5-6 with a forehand down the line and another chance at 6-7. Stricker converted his third set point to win the tie-break 9-7 after 56 minutes.

Cobolli went down 0-40 on serve in the first game of the third set, but he won four consecutive points to save four break points to hold serve on the deciding point. The Italian player won 11 of the next 12 points and broke serve in the second game to open up a 2-0 lead. Stricker rallied from 0-40 down to 40-40, but Cobolli held serve on the deciding point with a forehand in the third game. Stricker earned three break points at 1-3 15-40 but Cobolli saved them to hold serve on the deciding point for 4-1.   

The fourth set started with a series of breaks and counterbreaks, as Cobolli took a 2-1 lead with a break on the deciding point and held serve at 30 to open up a 3-1 lead. Cobolli earned a match point, but Stricker saved it on the deciding point. Cobolli served out the win on his second match point in the sixth game.

Cobolli will face Arthur Fils in the second match on Wednesday.

“I warmed up for a lot of time, so I was really hot on the court. I started the match really well. The courts are so fast, but I was faster than Stricker. I played a really good match and I am really happy”, said Cobolli.

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Arthur Fils edges Luca Nardi in the opening match of the Next Gen Finals in Jeddah



Arthur Fils made a winning start to Green Group with a 2-4 4-3 (8-6) 4-2 1-4 4-2 win of Luca Nardi after 2 hours and 2 minutes in the opening match of the 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.


Fils served at 51% and faced only two break points. 

Both players went on serve in the first four games. Nardi earned his first break at 15 in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead, when Fils netted a forehand. Nardi served for the set at 3-2 and fired a service winner to close out the first set in 19 minutes. 

Both players went on serve in the second set en route to the tie-break. Nardi fired an ace on the sixth point to draw level to 3-3. Fils earned a mini-break  after Nardi made a loose backhand. Nardi pulled the mini-break back to draw level to 4-4 and forced a mistake from Fils to earn a set point at 5-5. 

Fils saved a set point at 5-6 with a service winner. The Frenchman earned a mini-break at 7-6 to wrap up the tie-break of the second set 8-6 after 55 minutes. 

Fils broke serve at 15 in the first game of the third set after a lucky net cord winner and earned another break point at 2-0. Nardi won the decisive point with a forehand down the line winner to hold serve in the third game. Fils held serve at 30 in the sixth game to win the third set 4-2 after 1 hour and 18 minutes. 

Nardi faced two break points in the first game of the fourth set and saved them on the deciding point. 

Nardi broke Fils in the fifth game when Fils made a forehand error. The Italian player closed out the fourth set with a service winner in the sixth game forcing the match to the fifth set after 1 hour and 38 minutes. 

Both players went on serve in the opening five games of the decider. Nardi wasted a game point, and Fils earned the decisive break with a return winner to seal the win after 2 hours and 3 minutes. 

Fils won the first ATP title in Lyon last May and finished the season at number 36. The Frenchman started 2023 at number 249, making the biggest jump into the top 50 from last yeat of any player on Tour. 

“It was a tough match. The first set in my life I am playing first to four games. Things can change very quickly. I was leading two sets to one, had break points and I was feeling very good. Then I lost a deuce point and everything changed, but I I am really happy to win today”, said Fils. 

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