Who claimed bragging rights in Jeddah before the on-court action had even begun at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM?
Seven competitors at this year’s 21-and-under event in Jeddah undertook physical drills at King Abdullah Sports City, where they participated in 'Basecamp'. The tennis combine measured the physical and athletic skills of the ATP Tour’s next generation of tennis stars. The challenges included a 10-Metre Sprint, a Vertical jump, a 5-0-5 Drill and a Star Drill.
Frenchman Arthur Fils produced a standout display, topping the leaderboard in all of the challenges. The 19-year-old leapt 51cm in the Vertical Jump, one cm clear of second-placed Flavio Cobolli and 5cm ahead of third-placed Abdullah Shelbayh.
Fils ran the 10 Metre-Sprint in 1.72 seconds, with Shelbayh (1.75s) and Luca Nardi (1.76s) completing the top three. The Frenchman topped the 5-0-5 Test, recording a times of 5.21 seconds.
“I am really happy about it,” Fils said. “It is nice and I am pleased to have had some good results. The guys did good, but I did better.
“It is nice because you have targets. I had to pass 50[cm] in the jump and I made it, so I am happy. It was very nice. I am doing these drills by myself and with my coach but here, it is the first time I am doing the Vertical Jump. I am happy to do it and it is nice to do a competition with the boys. I hate losing. If I can push a little bit more, I will push a little bit more.”
Italians Nardi and Cobolli performed well at the combine, similar to that which has long been used in the NFL. Nardi earned three top-three finishes (10-Metre Sprint, 5-0-5 Test, Star Drill), while Cobolli was in the top three three times (5-0-5 Test, Vertical Jump, Star Drill).
Both enjoyed the experience and even challenged the biggest stars on Tour to give Basecamp a go.
“It was a good experience for us. It is the first we are doing this for everyone,” Cobolli said. “I want [Carlos] Alcaraz to do this for sure.”
Nardi added: “The best compared to Flavio for me was the 10-Metre Sprint. I think I made a good time but I think the 5-0-5 Drill Test was a good test and I hope I can do better in the future if I have the chance. I want Novak [Djokovic] to do it.”
Dominic Stricker’s best result came in the 5-0-5 Test, with the Swiss finishing fourth.
“It was good to do some of the tests,” Stricker said. “It was great to do some sprints and direction changes. I think it is good and for the preseason coming in December, so we can see what to work on and I will try to get faster.”