With the end of the tennis season fast approaching, the hottest young talents in the sport will have their chance to shine this week. The innovative Next Gen ATP Finals will be held in Italy with eight of the brightest stars in the game facing off for the title.
The inaugural edition of the event gets underway November 7-11 at the Fiera Milano in Milan. Generally, the purpose of the Next Gen ATP Finals is to showcase the hottest up-and-coming tennis players as the future of the sport. The Next Gen ATP Finals are open to the world’s top seven ranked players under 21 plus one additional player from the host country (Italy this year) determined by a qualifying tournament that ran November 3-5.
Best Tennis Betting Sites for the Next Gen ATP Finals:
Here’s how the ATP World Tour promoted the event in a preview video published last year:
It promises to be a fascinating addition to the sport’s schedule, with five days of high-class action at the Fiera Milano stadium in Milan to look forward to. Sadly, the organisers of the Next Gen ATP Finals have been hit with a blow by the news that Alexander Zverev has opted to instead play in the ATP World Tour Finals in London later this month.
Zverev has been the undisputed breakout star of the Next Gen system, taking big-name scalps and winning large tournaments through a stunning year for the German. However, he has understandably opted to test his mettle against the likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer rather than his young peers, leaving the field seemingly wide open in Milan.
“I have consulted with my team and in order to best prepare for London, we have made the decision that it is best not to play the week before in Milan,” said Zverev.
“Therefore, sadly, I will be withdrawing from the Next Gen ATP Finals, however I still plan on making an appearance at the beginning of the event to support the tournament and show my appreciation for my fans in Italy that were so supportive during my win in Rome.”
Zverev’s withdrawal means South Korean Hyeon Chung and Russian Daniil Medvedev have qualified, while the final of the eight spots will be taken up by the winner of an Italian qualifying event, with the best 21-and-under Italian players facing off this week.
The format of the competition will be similar to the senior World Tour Finals event, with a pair of round robin groups set to be followed by the semi-finals and final. But which of the players is set to start as the favourite – and where is the best value to be found?
Let’s have a look.
Shapovalov Tops the Next Gen ATP Finals Betting
Zverev would have started as the favourite to win the Next Gen ATP Finals had he chosen to play in Milan, but his absence means Canadian Denis Shapovalov instead leads the field.
Despite being the youngest man of the seven qualifiers so far at 18, he deserves to open the tournament at the top of the odds.
The left-hander has broken the top 50 of the senior rankings this year, with a run to the last-16 at the US Open helping him to rack up a seriously impressive points haul for a teenager.
Shapovalov beat the likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Flushing Meadows to burnish his reputation, while he also knocked out Next Gen rival Medvedev at the New York major.
The scalps of Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro were taken by Shapovalov at the Montreal Masters – Zverev beat him in the semi-finals – and he became the youngest player to reach ATP Masters 1000 semi-finals since series started in 1990.
Shapovalov is seen as a potential multiple major winner and a price of 3/1 to take the Next Gen ATP Finals reflects his status as one of the game’s elite young players.
Rublev Starts as Next Gen ATP Finals Top Seed
While Shapovalov is the favourite with the bookmakers to win the Next Gen ATP Finals, he does not start as the top seed of the tournament. That honour instead goes to Andrey Rublev.
Ranked 35 in the world, the 20-year-old collected his first senior title earlier in the year, triumphing at an outdoor clay event in Umag, Croatia after making it through as a lucky loser.
Rublev has beaten Jack Sock and Tomas Berdych in 2017, while he gave a reasonable account of himself when losing to Andy Murray at the Australian Open at the start of the year.
“I’m really happy and I’m really excited to play in Milan,” said Rublev of his qualification. “I did hard work this year and I’ve had some great results. So I’m really excited to play Milan.”
Rublev is the second-favourite in the odds, offered at around the 7/2 mark behind Shapovalov.
Donaldson Demands Respect at Next Gen ATP Finals
American Jared Donaldson should give a fine account of himself in Milan after an excellent year that saw him make it through to the quarter-finals at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, as well as the last-eight stage at the Chengdu Open in China.
Yet to win a title on the senior tour, Donaldson got to the third round at Wimbledon before losing to Sock earlier this year.
David Goffin, Lucas Pouille, Milos Raonic, Roberto Bautista Agut and Viktor Troicki are some of the biggest names Donaldson has beaten over the course of his short career to date.
Donaldson is one of the outsiders at 7/1 – only Medvedev is longer at around 8/1 – but he could certainly be decent value on an each way basis here.
Coric a Next Gen ATP Finals Contender
Croatia’s starlet Borna Coric is offered at the 4/1 mark to claim the Next Gen ATP Finals title and he has a strong chance of being the last man standing in the eight-player field in Milan.
Coric won at the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech earlier this year, beating the experienced German Philipp Kohlschreiber in the final to collect his maiden ATP title.
And at the 2017 Madrid Open, Coric confirmed his status as one of the most exciting young players in the game with an eye-catching win on the clay against Murray, then the world no1.
But perhaps it was the win against Zverev in the second round of the US Open that was the clearest indicator Coric has a chance of going all the way this week. Getting one over on the talented German showed Coric has what it takes to beat the strongest players of his age.
Next Gen ATP Finals Best Bets
With Zverev out of the picture, it looks to be a wide open field at the Next Gen ATP Finals.
The 3/1 favourite Shapovalov will have a lot of fans, with victories over the likes of Nadal and del Potro demonstrating his vast potential. But as the youngest man in the field at the age of just 18, it is possible that Shapovalov finds the pressure of being the favourite too much to handle.
Instead, Coric at a slightly bigger price of 4/1 is our pick for the Next Gen ATP Finals. The Croatian has also beaten some of the best players in the game, while a victory against Zverev at the US Open demonstrated he is unfazed by being the underdog against a young rival.
As an each way pick, Donaldson seems to offer the best value at a price around the 7/1 mark. The American is one of the more powerful players at the event and with the Next Gen ATP Finals testing new formats such as shorter sets, this could suit him more than most.
Chung, meanwhile, is hard to back at 9/2 due to injury issues that have seen him miss seven tournaments already this year, while the giant Russian Karen Khachanov at 7/2 does not feel like great value, although he got to the fourth round at Roland Garros this year. It would be a huge shock if outsider Medvedev came out on top at a price of 8/1.