With the inaugural ATP Next Gen Finals in the books, many exciting tidbits came out of the year-end event for tennis’ rising stars. Only time will tell how much of an impact the tournament will have on the career trajectory of these eight men, but here is a look at the winners and losers from the last week of the season for the 21-and-unders.
The ending to this particular ATP season is more important than any in recent memory. Everything begins with the high variance of both the ATP World Tour Rankings and the ATP World Tour Race to London in 2017 as compared to past contests... So what changed? Why should the fall of 2017 following a Rafael Nadal U.S. Open victory be any different than the fall of 2013?
While we may not have the answer as to why even the game’s best players are suffering numerous injuries, we do know that their void in the last two Masters series events and at the upcoming U.S. Open is creating opportunities for those willing to convert on them.
In a season littered with inconsistent play and extreme fluidity among the rankings, one woman has made history with her play outside the Majors. Her fierce play from the back of the court has recently catapulted her to a career-high ranking of world number four, and she is only 22-years-old. Elina Svitolina will win the 2017 U.S. Open.
Exactly five years have passed since he claimed ownership of Centre Court and fell to the ground in tears following a missed passing shot from Andy Murray. At the end of this fortnight, Roger shall own it again.
Nonetheless, as he has often done in French Open finals, Rafa shut the door from the start and only two short hours later would be customarily flailing his racquet in the air and falling in the clay in his signature celebration.
The last time we laid eyes on Roland Garros, we watched an elated Novak Djokovic drawing a heart and rolling around in the clay as he celebrated finally winning the Career Grand Slam. Twelve months later, we arrive at the same tournament with even more excitement and uncertainty surrounding the men’s field.
He’s not a freak athlete, he doesn’t have a monster serve, and he doesn’t have the scintillating groundstrokes of Murray and Djokovic. The French Open dark horse is a man ranked just outside the top ten -- a man who shows little emotion but a clear love of the game: Belgium’s finest, David Goffin.
The Italian Open kept trying to remind Zverev that he wasn’t supposed to win with their “Next Gen” Arena and all the Next Gen ads for the year-end event in Milan, but Alexander proved to us all that he is no longer defined by that label; he has arrived.