© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Brandon Nakashima, Carlos Alcaraz and Juan Manuel Cerundolo are all competing in Milan.

#NextGenATP Stars Excited About Milan Rule Innovations

Courtside coaching & first-to-4, best-of-5 set matches among rule changes

The format and rules at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals are unique from any other tournament on the ATP Tour calendar. From shorter warmups to courtside coaching, the event continues to operate at the forefront of innovation in tennis.

Milan competitors including Brandon Nakashima and Sebastian Korda had their say Sunday on the changes that are set to be used at the 21-and-under tournament, taking place from 9-13 November.

“I think it is definitely a good opportunity here to try out the new format,” Nakashima said during the pre-tournament press conference. “I think it is going to be exciting. A lot more crucial points there with no Ads and I think the sets are going to go by real quick, so I think it is going to be really exciting right from the beginning. Maybe they will try it out next year or in a couple of years on the ATP Tour."

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Like Nakashima, fellow American Korda is making his debut at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals and is also excited about the rules that will be used in Italy, feeling they will enhance the drama of matches.

“We were all playing juniors when we were playing lets, that was the first year we saw different rule changes but none of the stuff now, with deciding points,” Korda said. “It is going to be interesting because it is going to come down to a lot of tight situations. I am excited to see how everything is going to go and see if we use these rules in the future.”

Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz has enjoyed a dream season, winning his maiden tour-level title in Umag, before advancing to the quarter-finals at the US Open.

A significant factor behind the 18-year-old’s success has been his strong relationship with coach Juan Carlos Ferrero. Unlike at regular tour-level events, Alcaraz will be able to communicate directly in person with the former World No. 1 throughout matches due to the rules in Milan. In 2019, on-court coaching was only via headsets. It is a change which Alcaraz is pleased about.

“In our sport, there is a lot of coaching,” Alcaraz said. “It is really good to talk with your coach when you are playing. I think it is a good idea, at least to try it at this tournament and I think it is a good idea to use in the future. I really like having the coach on court.”

This year’s tournament will feature format innovations first pioneered in previous editions:

• First-to-4, Best-of-5 Set Matches
• No-Ad Scoring
• Free Fan Movement
• Live Electronic Line Calling
• Shot Clock
• Video Review
• Towel Racks

In addition, new rules and enhancements for 2021 include:

• Shorter Warmups: Down from 4 minutes to 1. Less down time, more action.
• Courtside Coaching: Coaching opened up from the side-lines. No more headsets.
• Net Cams: Your front-row seat, right at the heart of the action.
• Limited Medical Time-Outs: One per player per match.
• Timed Bathroom Breaks: Max 3 minutes (+ up to 2 for change of attire). Clock's ticking.