ATP plans sweeping changes for Next Gen finals

Published by Paul Moore

Alexander Zverev will headline the ATP Next Gen finals. Photo: Getty Images
Shot clocks and shorter sets are part of a series of sweeping changes for the ATP Next Gen finals in Milan.

The ATP have announced that they will introduce a series of sweeping changes for November’s Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. The proposals, which include shorter sets, shot clocks and on-court coaching, are designed to make the game more appealing to both younger tennis fans and television audiences alike.

The Next Gen Finals are a new event on the ATP calendar, bringing together the eight best players under the age of 21 on the ATP Tour. Alexander Zverev is expected the headline the competition, with the likes of Hyeon Chung and Borna Coric also likely to qualify.

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Tennis has long been searching for a format to rival cricket’s T20. Officials have proposed a number of different ways of attracting a new demographic to a shorter, faster format.

“This event is not only about the next generation of players, but also about the next generation of fans,” ATP President Chris Kermode said yesterday.

The proposals would represent a large overhaul of some current tennis traditions. They include:

  • Short format sets: Sets would be first to four games with a tiebreak at three-all. Matches would be a best of five set format. Deuce would be sudden death, and lets would be played.
  • Short warm-ups: Matches would have to begin five minutes after the second player has walked onto court (the current rule is ten minutes).
  • Shot clock: A shot clock would be used between points to ensure players adhere to the 25 second rule.
  • Player coaching: Players would be allowed to communicate with coaches during the match.
  • Spectator movement: Unlike at current events, fans would be allowed to move around the arena while the match takes place.

Novak Djokovic, who will not be playing in Milan, gave a lukewarm reception to the proposals, saying: “In terms of introducing new things and new rules to the tennis, I think everything is evolving in life and sport does, too. Tennis has to be open-minded for these kind of new potential changes.”

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