Scouting Report

Scouting Report: Fils, Van Assche Lead 21-&-Under Jeddah Field

An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week

November 25, 2023
The 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM run from 28 November-2 December.
Corinne Dubreuil/Peter Staples/ATP Tour
The 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM run from 28 November-2 December. By ATP Staff

The Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM are set to debut in Jeddah this coming week, with eight of the game's brightest young stars in the field.

Frenchmen Arthur Fils and Luca Van Assche, both 19, lead their respective round-robin groups, while Switzerland's Dominic Stricker returns to the innovative year-end event for the second straight year. breaks down five of the biggest storylines in Jeddah.

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1) Frenchmen In Front: The top-seeded Fils and second-seeded Van Assche will hope to live up to their billing in the Green Group and Red Group, respectively. Fils enters Jeddah at a career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of World No. 36, having followed a home-nation title in Lyon in May with a run to the Antwerp final last month. Van Assche won two ATP Challenger Tour singles title this season and travelled to Jeddah after two tournaments on home soil in Paris-Bercy and Metz.

2) Stricker Returns: The 21-year-old, seeded seventh last year at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, arrives in Jeddah as the third seed this year. The Swiss completed a perfect 3-0 group campaign in Milan but was beaten by Jiri Lehecka in the semi-finals. In addition to winning two ATP Challenger Tour titles this season, Stricker made his first Grand Slam appearances in 2023; he qualified at the last three majors of this season, advancing to the fourth round in his US Open debut.

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3) Italians Cobolli, Nardi In Same Group: Flavio Cobolli and Luca Nardi join Fils and Stricker in the Green Group, after three Italians — Lorenzo Musetti, Francesco Passaro and Matteo Arnaldi — represented Italy at the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. Cobolli made his Top 100 debut in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings this season behind a strong campaign on the ATP Challenger Tour, while Nardi enters Jeddah two places off his career-high ranking at World No. 118.

4) Michelsen, Medjedovic, Shelbayh Round Out Red Group: American Alex Michelsen made a splash by reaching the Newport final in his second tour-level event and now hopes to raise his profile on the other side of the globe. Serbia's Hamad Medjedovic, coached by Viktor Troicki, seeks to follow his countryman Novak Djokovic's example for success on the big stages, while Abdullah Shelbayh — from the neighbouring nation of Jordan — bids to build on a last-16 run in Metz as a qualifier.

5) Record Prize Money: The eight men in Jeddah will be competing for their share of a record $2 million in prize money. An undefeated champion would earn $514,000. A semi-final victory will be worth $113,500 and the championship match will yield the winner $153,000.

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