Next Gen ATP Finals: Alex de Minaur headlines line-up in Milan
Alex de Minaur, last year's runner-up, will be looking to go one step further and is the competition's highest-ranked player
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 05/11/19 10:17am
Alex de Minaur will have to chance to go one step further this year as the Next Gen ATP Finals begin in Milan on Tuesday.
The Australian was beaten by Stefanos Tsitsipas in the competition's final 12 months ago and with Tsitsipas choosing to partake in the ATP Finals in London, the opportunity is there for De Minaur to finish on top this time around.
The competition has moved arena from the Fiera Milano to the Allianz Cloud and for the first time in the tournament's history, all eight competitors are inside the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings.
Format and Rules
The tournament itself takes the form of a round-robin competition in which players play a short set - the first to four games.
A tie-break will come into play at three games apiece and matches are best of five sets without advantage being part of the scoring. The shot clock will be in place.
Every match is completely different. There’s been lots to learn from, but now I’m here in Milan and have to get ready for the match tomorrow. I’ve just been taking it day by day this year.
Alex de Minaur
As the highest-ranked player in the field, De Minaur jumps out within this first group and interestingly the Australian has not faced any of his fellow Group A players before.
He has an impressive season behind him after securing titles in Sydney, Atlanta and Zhuhai and will be motivated by seeing a fellow Australian taking the WTA Finals by storm at the weekend.
Elsewhere in the group, Casper Ruud will wish to show the type of form that has seen him climb more than 50 places up the ATP Rankings and he is eager pitch himself against his peers.
Most of our matches on Tour are against guys who are much older, so it's fun to measure our powers against each other. Everybody here can beat each other with the [unique] scoring system, so it's something we should be prepared for. One set can just be a difference of one or two points, so it will be a fun event.
Miomir Kecmanovic's first season on the ATP Tour has included a maiden ATP Tour final at the Antalya Open in Turkey while Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, who won the Wimbledon boys' singles title in 2017, has moved up from 237 in the world to his current position of 87th.
Ugo Humbert describes himself as an "aggressive player" and has used that quality to great effect this season having reached three ATP Tour semi-finals and highlighted his fighting qualities at Wimbledon to come back from two sets down against Gael Monfils.
Frances Tiafoe made significant headlines at the Australian Open with a run to the quarter-finals and after falling short in this competition last year, his motivation will be high.
I think togetherness is a big thing. You hope to have these relationships forever. You’re playing against each other, but they’re also your colleagues for the next 15 or 20 years. I’m competitive, but I also want the best for everyone.
Mikael Ymer will be looking to channel the lessons that he learned after a big-stage defeat at the hands of Alexander Zverev at Roland Garros. Meanwhile, at just 18-years-old, Jannik Sinner is the youngest player inside the world's Top 100 and is the receiver of the Italian wildcard for this competition.
Twelve Months Ago...
Stefanos Tsitsipas capped a strong season by winning the competition with a 2-4 4-1 4-3 (7-3) 4-3 (7-3) victory over de Minaur.
Tsitsipas saved two match points at 2-3 in the fourth set in the shortened format and validated his place as the top seed with the tournament victory.
His route to the final saw him pick up three round-robin victories and then prevail over Andrey Rublev in the semi-final courtesy of a storming fifth-set tie-break.