#NextGenATP Stars' Early Impressions Of Milan Innovations
#NextGenATP Americans Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe have practised together countless times in the past. But in Milan, ahead of the Next Gen ATP Finals, practice has been an experience unlike any they’ve had before.
The friends have been testing out the various innovations that will be used at the prestigious 21-and-under event at the Fiera Milano, and they’ve all been massive hits.
“It was an unbelievable experience. It was pretty cool. It was fun,” said said Tiafoe, who has enjoyed electronic line-calling. “It was nice not having to worry about challenges, even close calls just come up right away.”
This year’s Delray Beach Open champion wasn’t the only one who enjoyed an early test of the Next Gen ATP Finals rules. Taylor Fritz, who opens Group B play against last season’s finalist, Andrey Rublev, is quickly getting up to speed.
“I was forgetting lets the first day. I think I’m getting used to it,” Fritz said. “The line calling is definitely the best addition. It’s really, really good to just know the call immediately and not have to worry about if you made it or not.”
New innovations added to the mix since last year’s inaugural event in Milan are video review, a shorter four-minute warm-up and the use of a towel rack at the back of the court. But Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz most enjoyed one of last year’s innovation.
“It was fun. It was quite different,” Hurkacz said. “The [electronic] line-calling, it felt like there were line umpires there so it was nice.”
The tournament is being held on an indoor hard-court, just as it was last year. Italian wild card Liam Caruana enjoys the surface, which only has singles lines.
“The courts were pretty fast, so that’s good for serving and I enjoyed it,” Caruana said. “I think it matches up well [to my game]. I play aggressive, try to take time [away from my opponent], so it’s good for me.”
Group A: No. 1 Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. No. 7 Jaume Munar
Group B: No. 4 Taylor Fritz vs. No. 5 Andrey Rublev
Group A: No. 3 Frances Tiafoe vs. No. 6 Hubert Hurkacz
Group B: No. 2 Alex de Minaur vs. No.8 Liam Caruana