Jannik Sinner Has Arrived
Italian wild card Jannik Sinner defeated top-seeded Alex de Minaur in straight sets, 4-2, 4-1, 4-2 at the Next Gen Finals on Saturday to win his first ATP title.
Jannik Sinner is growing in front of our own eyes. Starting 2019 outside of the Top 500, he finishes the year with a title, and ranking inside the top 100. He is only 18. He is only going to get better from here, and looks ready to take on the top players.
Two previous winners of the Next Gen title, Hyeon Chung and Stefanos Tsistsipas, went on to reach the semi finals of the subsequent Australian Open.
Good Week for de Minaur
Alex de Minaur reached the final for the second consecutive time. Despite being the top seed, he couldn’t handle Sinner’s game in the final. But it was a good week for de Minuar who won all his matches before losing to Sinner.
Next Gen Format – The Good
The tournament included some “innovations” that most fans will agree with: towels racks, 25-second shot clock, 4-minute warm up, ability for coaches to talk to players via a head set and use of wearable technology. Most fans were also allowed to walk around during play.
Next Gen Format – The Bad
The tournament used best of five sets with the first player to reach four games in each set winning the set with tiebreak at 3-all. Can we not play two regular sets with super tiebreak at the end?
I am not a fan of No-Ad scoring in doubles, and I was not a fan of the No-Ad scoring at Next-Gen (server’s choice on the ad/deuce side of the court).
Frances Tiafoe had a disappointing tournament. He lost to De Minaur and Sinner. I would have expected him to win both given he has been higher ranked 50 for a while.
Casper Ruud won one of his three matches – against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Fokina lost all three of his matches.
Hugo Umbert beat Sinner in the group stage but lost his two other matches. Mikael Ymer beat Hugo Umbert but lost his two other matches.
Despite the scoring changes which annoyed me, the tournament was overall fun and enjoyable. It’s a great way to showcase the young talent coming up. It’s also a good testing ground for ideas, and helps understand which ideas can be implemented in the ATP tournaments.
Now, can we add a WTA Next Gen tournament? Now that Hopman Cup is gone from the calendar, it will be great to have a combined event of Next Gen players.