ATP, the governing body of tennis, has officially begun the search for the next superstar in the sport with the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals, to be played between November 7 and 11 in Milan.
Despite a controversial draw ceremony, which was branded as "disgrace" after players were allowed to choose female models to reveal opponents, the buzz around the tournament is quite high.
While the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will be busy in London next week at the ATP World Tour Finals, top eight men's singles players under the age of 21 will feature in the Next Gen tournament.
World number three Alexander Zverev's withdrawal has taken a little sheen of the action, but there is enough firepower in the eight-man field.
Exciting talents in both groups
Andrey Rublev of Russia is the highest-ranked player at 37 in Milan. With a record of 18-16 in 2017, the Umag champion is among the favourites to go the distance.
Rublev leads the charge in Group A, which also has South Korean sensation and sixth seed Hyeon Chung, Canada star and third seed Denis Shapovalov and wildcard entrant Gianluigi Quinzi.
Shapovalov, who defeated world number one Rafael Nadal on his way to Canada Masters semi-final earlier this year, is clearly the favourite to win the group, while Rublev is also likely to join the former in the semi-final line-up.
|Group A||Group B|
|6. Hyeon Chung (Kor)||5. Jared Donaldson (USA)|
|1. Andrey Rublev (Rus)||2. Karen Khachanov (Rus)|
|3. Denis Shapovalov (Can)||7. Daniil Medvedev (Rus)|
|8. Gianluigi Quinzi (Ita)||4. Borna Coric (Cro)|
Meanwhile, second seed Karen Khachanov, the world number 45, who had an excellent run on clay this season, leads Group B, which also has fourth seed Borna Coric, seventh seed Daniil Medvedev and fifth seed Jared Donaldson.
Khachanov (Chengdu) and Coric (Marrakech) are the only ones in Group B who won titles in the ongoing year. Medvedev finished as runner-up in Chennai, but was struggling to be consistent.
While a single-legged round robin format has been adopted for the group stages, with top two from each group making the semi-final, there are quite a few exciting rules as well. Check out the following
- No advantage rule (After deuce, the next point determines winner)
- Best of five sets and the player who wins four games first will take the set
- No service lets
- Hawk-eye replaces line judges
- Shot clock (25 seconds) to increase pace of match
Live streaming and TV coverage
India: TV: Sony ESPN
UK: TV: Sky Sports Arena, Sky Sports Main Event
Canada: TV: TSN 2
Order of play on Day 1 - November 7
- Khachanov vs Medvedev - 2pm local, 6:30pm IST
- Shapovalov vs Chung - 3:30pm local, 8pm IST
- Coric vs Donaldson - 7:30pm local, 12am IST [Wednesday]
- Rublev vs Quinzi - 9pm local, 1:30am IST [Wednesday]