Next Gen ATP Finals

#NextGenATP Q1 Review: Mensik, Michelsen enjoy strong starts to season

Fils, Shang & Fonseca in Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF contention
April 02, 2024
ATP Tour
By ATP Staff

The first quarter of the 2024 ATP Tour season marked breakthrough runs and career-best wins for a host of #NextGenATP Stars who are aiming to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF.

Entering April, looks at some of the standout achievements and the latest PIF ATP Live Race To Jeddah standings.

View PIF ATP Live Race To Jeddah

Mensik out in front
Jakub Mensik has been the standout #NextGenATP star through the first three months of the season. The 18-year-old ended last year by reaching the third round at the US Open and kickstarted this season by advancing to the second round at the Australian Open after coming through qualifying.

The Czech’s moment in the sun came in the Middle East, where he used his Next Gen ATP main-draw opportunity to reach the final in Doha. Mensik defeated Andrey Rublev to become the youngest player to beat a Top 5 player since Carlos Alcaraz took down Stefanos Tsitsipas at the 2021 US Open. He also beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Andy Murray and Gael Monfils at the ATP 250 to crack the Top 100 in the PIF ATP Rankings for the first time, rising to No. 87.

“It changes everything,” Mensik said following his final defeat to Karen Khachanov. “Of course before the tournament I was just a Challenger player. Now with my first experience on the ATP Tour, this week showed me that I can play with these players and can beat them every day.”

Mensik, who is finishing high school this year, is aiming to make his debut at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF.

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Michelsen, Shang in early contention
Alex Michelsen and Shang Juncheng made fast starts to the season and have continued to build. Michelsen advanced to the third round at a Grand Slam for the first time in Melbourne, where he defeated James McCabe and Jiri Lehecka at the Australian Open. At the ATP 250 in Hong Kong in January, Shang reached to his maiden tour-level semi-final, while he also produced a third-round showing in Melbourne.

Michelsen, who prides himself on his competitive spirit on court, captured his first Top 10 win in Los Cabos, where he defeated then-World No. 9 Alex de Minaur in straight sets. The 19-year-old made U.S. history in Indian Wells, where he became the youngest player from the United States to win an ATP Masters 1000 match since Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe both won at the same age in Miami in 2017. He ends March at a career-high No. 70 in the PIF ATP Rankings.

Shang advanced through qualifying in Indian Wells to reach the second round, while he defeated Miomir Kecmanovic in three sets as a wild card in Miami. Shang’s countryman, Zhizhen Zhang, hit with Shang in Melbourne in January and believes the lefty has the weapons to rise to the top.

“I like to practise with him and then you can see he's improving huge amounts,” Zhang told “Every single time we hit he surprised me. I'm really enjoying hitting the ball with him because he also gave me some more ideas, different ways, to play tennis. His forehand for sure is very good. I still remember the practice in Australia and his forehand felt like a bullet. The ball is like a bullet, just going so fast and flat.”

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Frenchmen continue to make mark
Arthur Fils and Luca Van Assche were two of the breakthrough stars of 2023, with both playing in Jeddah last season. While they have yet to quite find the same level in 2024, they have shown signs of promise. Fils, 19, equalled his best ATP Masters 1000 result in Indian Wells, where he advanced to the third round. The 2023 Lyon titlist also reached the semi-finals in Auckland.

Van Assche, 19, reached the last four at the ATP Challenger Tour 175 event in Phoenix and enjoyed a run to the third round at a major for the first time at the Australian Open. The Frenchman, a semi-finalist at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF last year, is currently fifth in the PIF ATP Live Race To Jeddah.

Others to watch
The 17-year-old Joao Fonseca captured his first tour-level wins in Rio de Janeiro, where he overcame Fils and Cristian Garin to reach the quarter-finals. The Brazilian is sixth in the PIF ATP Live Race To Jeddah, having also advanced to the final at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Paraguay in March.

Portugal’s Henrique Rocha is seventh. The 19-year-old won his maiden ATP Challenger Tour crown in Spain in March. Hong Kong’s Coleman Wong is eighth. The 19-year-old’s best result this year was a run to the final at a Challenger Tour tournament in India. Fonseca, Rocha and Wong are all aiming to make their debuts at the 20-and-under event.

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