From next year, Milan will be the home of a new season-end ATP event dedicated to the young generation, called Next Gen Masters. The top seven ranked under 21 tennis players plus a wild card will compete at the Fiera Milano venue from November 7th to 11th for the title of best junior of the year.
The news was given yesterday in a media conference in London, during the ATP World Tour Finals, by ATP World Tour CEO Chris Kermode, joined by 18-year-old American Frances Tiafoe and Stefan Edberg.
The Swede, whose presence in London had been announced by the ATP a few days ago, is the best promoter of junior tennis, having been the only man in the history to have completed the Grand Slam as an under 18. “I think this is a great idea. It's good for tennis. It's great to promote these young players,” said Edberg. “They're probably going to need more time to break into the top of the game.”
Stefan himself had competed in a similar event that was called “Tennis World Young Masters” back in the ’80s and had won his first professional tournament when he was still a junior. That happened right in Milan, in 1984.
“Obviously when you're young, you see just opportunities. This is going to be a great opportunity. It's a great format,” continued Stefan. “I think a lot of these guys are really, really going to battle it out to get into this tournament because there's going to be attractive prize money and it's going to be a good way for them to promote themselves. It's a win-win situation here. It's definitely the right move to do it. If I was young, I would love to have this setup.”
The Next Gen Masters, with a prizemoney of $1.25 million, will be hosted by Milan for the next five years, until 2021. (mc)
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