The ATP’s flagship tournament for the world’s top players aged 21 and under launches in Milan on Tuesday with a raft of innovations that might leave regular fans scratching their heads. Here is a guide to what will be tested out in Milan:
Like the following week’s ATP Finals in London, the tournament will feature two groups of four with round-robin action followed by semi-finals and the final.
There the similarity ends.
Seven players, aged 21 and under, have automatically qualified for the event, based on their ATP points accumulated over the season. The final remaining spot has been awarded to the winner of an Italian qualifying event, consisting of the best 21-and-under Italian players.
Unlike the ATP Finals, there are no ranking points at stake. But the tournament does have a prize pot of £960,000.
Scoring and play
All matches will feature best-of-five-sets but with sets played up to four games with a tiebreak at 3-3. Sudden-death deuce points will add to the drama while on-court shot clocks will keep matches rattling along at a fast pace with the 25-second rule rigidly enforced by the umpire.
There will also be no ‘lets’ on serve, meaning play continues when a serve clips the tape and goes in.
Players will also be able to communicate with their coaches via headsets at the end of each set.
The match will start within five minutes of the second player entering the court.
The players will be allowed only one medical timeout per match.
The tournament will feature non-stop, on-site entertainment, including cutting-edge match production.
Fans will also be able to move freely around the stadium during play rather than having to wait until change of ends to enter the stands.
The court will have no doubles lines which will also enhance the visual effect for fans in the venue and on TV.
Electronic line calls
Line judges peering down the lines will be absent as computers will make the calls. The chair umpire will be the only match official on court with calls of ‘out’ and ‘fault’ being made by an 'automated' voice.
Foot faults will be determined by an off-court official. That official will be in a booth with Hawk-Eye technicians and will use strategically placed on-court cameras to view the server from all angles.
Since all calls will be made by Hawk-Eye, players will no longer be able to 'challenge' calls.
Why are they doing it?
Chris Kermode, the ATP executive chairman and president, said: ”We’re excited to be bringing something new to the table with this event. The sports and entertainment landscape is changing rapidly, as are the ways in which fans are consuming our sport. This event is not only about the next generation of players, but also about the next generation of fans.
“We’ve created this new tournament precisely to allow us to look at some potential new elements, in a high-profile environment.”
Who is playing?
Andre Rublev, 20, (Russia) – ranked 37
Karen Khachanov, 21, (Russia) – ranked 45
Borna Coric, 20, (Croatia) – ranked 48
Denis Shapovalov, 18, (Canada) – ranked 51
Hyeon Chung, 21 (South Korea) – ranked 54
Jared Donaldson, 21, (USA) – ranked 55
Daniil Medvedev, 21, (Russia) – ranked 65
Gianluigi Quinzi, 21 (Italy) – ranked 306
Quinzi prevailed in the final of an Italian 21-and-under qualifying event on Sunday against Filippo Baldi 3-4, 3-4, 4-2, 4-2, 4-2.
While Alexander Zverev was the highest-ranked player under the age of 21 in 2017, he opted out of their tournament to to concentrate on his debut in the ATP Finals in London in the following week.
Rublev, Shapovalov, Chung and Quinzi have been drawn into Group A, while Khachanov, Coric, Donaldson and Medvedev make up Group B.
The tournament will be held from 7 to 11 November at the Fiera Milano in Milan.
With inputs from Reuters.
Published Date: Nov 06, 2017 18:20 PM | Updated Date: Nov 06, 2017 18:31 PM