The Next Gen ATP Finals – Playing Rule Changes Experimented
Updated: Nov 26, 2019
The Next Gen ATP Finals: What is it, who's playing and what are the rule changes being experimented with?
What is it?
The inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals will see the world's top seven 21-and-under singles players, plus an Italian wild card, go head to head.
The seven automatic qualifiers have been chosen based on 2017 ranking points, while the final player will be decided by a qualifying tournament between the eight best 21-and-under players from host nation Italy.
When is it?
The qualifying tournament between the Italian players will take place November 3-5. The event itself will take place between November 7-11.
Where is it?
At the Fiera Milano in Milan.
Why is it happening?
The ATP has been pushing the Next Gen of players for a number of years now, as it tries to lay the foundations for a post-Big Four world.
The Next Gen Finals is a continuation of that drive to promote the best young players, and the hope is that the tournament will introduce some of the stars of the future to a wider audience.
What's the tournament format?
The format will be the same as the ATP World Tour Finals, which is two round robin groups of four, followed by semi-finals between the top two from each group and then a final.
But, here is the fun part. The event will be experimenting with a number of rule changes:
- No line judges - all out calls will be made by Hawk-Eye
- Best of five sets, but first to four games in each set
- Tie break at three-games all
- Sudden-death deuce points (i.e. no advantages). On the sudden death point, the returner chooses which side the server serves from
- No service lets - i.e. play continues as it would if there was a mid-point let
- Each match starts five minutes from entry of second player onto court
- A visible shot clock is in place to ensure 25-second rule between points
- A maximum of one medical timeout per player per match
- Limits on when coaches can talk to players
- Fans will be allowed to move around during a match (except at baselines)
If successful, the rule changes could be implemented at ATP events in the future.
Why the rule changes?
Across tennis, there has been a move to experiment with shorter forms of the game to try and quicken up the sport and reach a younger audience.
Tie Break Tens has probably been the most high-profile exponent so far, while at grand slam level, the US Open introduced a shot-clock and permitted on-court coaching at its qualifying event in August.
This is the ATP's attempt to see what appetite there is for fundamental rule changes in the sport.
Who is playing?
The most successful 21-and-under player this year has been Alexander Zverev, but he did so well that he is playing in the World Tour Finals, so has withdrawn from the Next Gen event.
Hyeon Chung, South Korea Daniil Medvedev, Russia Jared Donaldson, American Borna Coric, Croatia Denis Shapovalov, Canada Karen Khachanov, Russia Andrey Rublev, Russia The Italian wild card is still to be decided.
Are there ranking points available?
No, unlike the ATP World Tour Finals, where there are plenty at stake.
What is the prize money?
The lack of ranking points is offset somewhat by a prize pot of £960,000.
Thirty30 Tennis Comment
Please refer to November 11, 2017 News - The Tennis Podcast Polling Results.