Next Gen: the generation that … will dominate tennis?

Next Gen: the generation that ... will dominate tennis?

Roger Federer (1981), Rafael Nadal (1986), Novak Djokovic (1987) and Andy Murray (1987) are the No. 1 ATP players have had in the last 16 years. There is a repeated phrase, which has become a cliche: the Next Gen will take control of the circuit. Who are the Next Gen?

The term was born in 2017, with the first edition of the Next Gen ATP Finals. They classified the seven best players in the ranking, who were under 21 years old, plus a wild card. Alexander Zverev, Rublev, Khachanov, Shapovalov, Coric, Donaldson and Hyeon Chung were the indicated but the German was already 4th in the world and played the ATP Finals. His place was taken by Daniil Medvedev. The surprising champion was the Korean Chung, who in February 2018 would become 19th in the world and currently occupies 142nd place.

“I never saw myself as the Next Generation or had any expectations because I already put a lot into myself, so if I have to take on everything that comes from outside, it will be difficult to play,” said Grigor Dimitrov, former No. 3 last year. of the world and which in its beginnings was called Baby Fed. Category 91, the Bulgarian is part of the generation that is derogatively called Lost Generation.

The list of those classified for the 2018 finals has an impact and could be the ATP Finals of the coming years: Zverev, Tsitsipas, Shapovalov, De Miñaur, Tiafoe, Fritz, Rublev. Zverev arrived injured and Shapovalov got out due to fatigue: Jaume Munar and Hubert Hurkacz replaced them. Stefanos Tsitsipas, The Greek God as he was called in the UTS exhibition tournament, took the tournament by beating De Miñaur in the final.

When talking about the Next Gen, Dominic Thiem, finalist of the last two Roland Garros and the Australian Open 2020, is usually included. Born in 1993, the Austrian is closer in age to Dimitrov (91) than to Zverev (96) or Tsitsipas (98).

The last edition of the Next Gen ATP Finals, which was always played in Milan and had Italians as guests, featured these initial qualifiers: Tsitsipas, De Miñaur, Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov, Tiafoe, Humbert, Ruud (the champion of the last Open of Bs. As.). Tsitsipas went to play the ATP Finals and won them, making him the youngest in history to do so, while Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov did not show up either. Kecmanović, Ymer and Davidovic Fokina entered.

The wild card went to Jannick Sinner, 18 years old, 93rd in the world and finally champion of the tournament by defeating De Miñaur.

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