The second edition of the Milan ATP Next Gen Finals launched in Rome
The 2018 edition of the ATP Next Gen Finals was officially launched during a press conference held at the Rome Foro Italico, location of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
The Next Gen Finals will be held at the Fiera Milano for the next two years. The venue on the outskirts of the Northern Italian city will host the second edition of the ATP Next Gen Finals from 6th to 10th November.
The ATP announced during today’s press conference that the Milan tournament will continue to experiment with the rules adopted in the inaugural edition held last November. The new rules include a best-of-five format, shorter sets to 4, tie-breaks at 3-3, No-Ad scoring, No-Lets, a 25-second Shot Clock, In-Match player coaching via head-sets and the Electronic Calling through Hawk-Eye. There will be only two minor innovations. The first change will regard the player warm-up, which will be reduced from 5 to 4 minutes. Players will also be instructed to use a towel rack at the back of the court to remove the onus on ball kids to handle towels. Free crowd movement in the stadium and a limit of 1 medical time-out per match will also remain.
Hyeon Chung won the first edition of the ATP Next Gen Finals and went on to reach the Australian Open semifinals. Other players, who took part in the first edition, made a major impact on the ATP Tour during the first months of the 2018 season. Denis Shapovalov reached his second Masters 1000 semifinal in Madrid last week. Borna Coric lost to Roger Federer in a hard-fought semifinal in Indian Wells. Andrey Rublev, who lost the Milan final against Hyeon Chung, reached the final in Doha and the quarter-finals in Montpellier and Rotterdam.
“The Next Gen Finals was a breakthrough event for me. It was an amazing way to finish the year and really helped me with my confidence coming into the 2018 season. It’s a great tournament to promote the younger generation, and my win in Milan will always very special for me”, said Chung during the press conference.
The second edition could feature Shapovalov and Rublev again and other emerging stars like Stefanos Tsitsipas, Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz and Alex De Minaur, according to the ATP Next Gen Race to Milan. Tsitsipas recently reached the final in Barcelona losing to Rafael Nadal. Tiafoe won his first ATP title in Delray Beach and reached the final in Estoril. De Minaur reached his first ATP final in Sydney.
The 2017 edition was very successful and 11 of the 14 matches went to the fourth and fifth set. The matches had an average duration of 1 hour and 36 minutes, marginally shorter than the average of 1 hour and 39 minutes on the ATP Tour.
ATP Executive Chairman and President Chris Kermode said this event has fulfilled the goal to promote a new generation of players and introduce new rules, which could be introduced onto the regular ATP Tour in 2019.
“This tournament has done exactly what it set out to in terms of giving our younger generation a real global platform. If you look at continued progress of some of last year’s qualifiers, such as Zverev, Chung, Coric, Shapovalov, among others, their progress is there for all to see. This year the likes of Tsitsipas and Tiafoe have stepped up in a big way and are clearly ones to watch. These guys are going to be at the top of the game for years to come, and we are delighted that this tournament will continue to shine a light on our future stars. Tennis is steeped in history and tradition, and there is no question that should be safeguarded. However, this new event has allowed us to look at some potential changes, and we received very positive feedback from our stakeholders on the format of last year’s event. We recognize, however, that we need a bigger sample size to help us draw effective conclusions, so this year’s event will give us that continuity to help us assess which of the changes we want to incorporate onto the regular Tour for 2019”, said ATP Executive Chairman and President Chris Kermode during the press conference in Rome.
The Next Gen Finals is an event held in partnership with the Italian Tennis Federation FIT and the Italian Olympic Committee.
“Last year’s Next Gen ATP success was a reward for Italian Tennis Federation and the Italian Olympic Committee in setting up such an amazing event”, said Angelo Binaghi, the President of the Italian Tennis Federation.