Next Gen ATP Finals tournament format and rules

Following a competitive bid process, the ATP has announced that the Italian Tennis Federation, in association with the Italian Olympic Committee, will organise a new ATP tournament featuring the world’s top 21-and-under singles players of the ATP World Tour season. The first edition of the Tournament will be hosted at Fiera Milano in Milan, Italy. The players should be aged 21-and-under singles players of the ATP World Tour season, and should be ranked in the top 200 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. They are billed as the ‘Next Generation’ of stars on the new ATP World Tour.

It will be played over 5 days, there will be two Round Robin groups, followed by semi-finals and final. The competition will feature the best 7 qualified under 21 and under payers of the season, plus a wild card. Unlike the ATP World Tour Finals Race To London, there is no yardstick set for the number of points a player has to compulsorily earn. Eligible players must be born in 1996 or later for 2017 edition. The matches will be played on a single-only court. A third-place play-off will also be played by the two losing semi-finalists prior to the final on the last day. The tournament does not offer Emirates ATP Rankings points.

Change in rules:

On 16th May, 2017, ATP announced a series of rule changes and innovations set to be trailed at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, from 7-11 November. The new rules are as follows:

–    Shorter Format: First to Four games sets (Tie-Break at 3-All), Best-of-Five sets, with No-Ad scoring

  • Shorter set format designed to increase number of pivotal moments in a match, while the best-of-five set format does not alter the number of games required to win a match (12) from the traditional scoring format. No-Ad scoring will be played (receiver’s choice).

–    Shorter Warm-Up

  • Matches will begin precisely 5 minutes from the second player walk-on, leading to a reduction in down time before the beginning of matches.

–    Shot Clock

  • A shot clock will be used in between points to ensure strict regulation of the 25-second rule, as well as during set breaks, Medical Time-Outs, and the five-minute countdown from the player walk-on to the first point of the match.

–    No-Let Rule

  • The No-Let rule will apply to serves, bringing in an additional element of unpredictability at the start of points.
  • This rule will also remove any ambiguity over let calling from umpires, ensuring the rule is consistent with normal ‘let’ occurrences during regular point exchanges.

–    Medical Time-Outs

  •  A limit of 1 medical time out per player per match.

–    Player Coaching

  • Players and coaches will be able to communicate at certain points in the match (to be determined), providing additional content and entertainment value for broadcast. Coaches will not be allowed on-court.

In addition, a ‘free movement’ policy will be applied to the crowd (except behind the baselines) throughout the tournament. The policy will enable fans to move freely in and out of the stadium during matches, providing a relaxed fan-friendly atmosphere and ensuring fans are not restricted entry into the stadium at any time. Alexander Zverev is leading in the race, followed by Borna Coric, and Frances Tiafoe. Zverev is also at number 4 in the Race To London.

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