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Next Gen ATP Finals Fiera Milano | 5-9 Nov.
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19 #NextGenATP To Watch In 2019
NextGenATP to watch in 2019

© Getty Images/ATP World Tour

The top of the list will sound familiar. The #NextGenATP players who made headlines in 2018 – Rogers Cup finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas; Denis Shapovalov, the youngest Mutua Madrid Open semi-finalist; Alex de Minaur, Newcomer of the Year in the 2018 ATP World Tour Awards Presented By Moët & Chandon; and Delray Beach Open titlist Frances Tiafoe – will again be contenders for the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals as all four were born in 1998 or later.

Read Flashback: 18 #NextGenATP To Watch In 2018

But the remainder of the names on the 2019 #NextGenATP to watch list might be first-time reads for some fans. Players such as Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia or Aussie Alexei Popyrin have climbed the ATP Rankings behind ATP Challenger Tour runs. But they combine for only one tour-level win.

Will that change in 2019, and which other #NextGenATP players could pull a “De Minaur” and raise their ATP Ranking 177 spots in 12 months? ATPTour.com previews the 2019 #NextGenATP class.

Potential Returnees 

Stefanos Tsitsipas (Rank: 15; Age: 20): The Greek was the #NextGenATP standout in 2018. In Milan in 2017, he was an alternate, unable to qualify for the 21-and-under championships. But in 2018, he sprinted through the tournament unbeaten, beating Aussie Alex de Minaur in the final to finish 5-0.

Tsitsipas will be eager to make his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals in London, but he'll have to avoid the dreaded second-year slump to remain in the Top 15 in 2019, as more coaches and players will have more match film to analyse and study.

Denis Shapovalov (Rank: 27, Age: 19): Shapovalov nearly halved his ATP Ranking from 2017 (51) to 2018 (27). If he can do that again in 2019, he'll be inside the Top 15. The left-hander has made a coaching change heading into his third year on tour. After working with Martin Laurendeau for years, in 2019, Shapovalov will work with Canadian Rob Steckley, who used to coach WTA player Lucie Safarova, and continue to work with his mother, Tessa Shapovalova, who has coached him all his life.

Alex de Minaur (Rank: 31, Age: 19): No other player should inspire #NextGenATP players more than De Minaur, who was No. 208 in January but finished the season No. 31. De Minaur reached the Sydney International final (l. to Medvedev), the Citi Open final (l. to Zverev) and the Next Gen ATP Finals title match (l. to Tsitsipas). His peers voted him the Newcomer of the Year.

How will De Minaur fare in 2019? He'll start the year in friendly territory, in his native Australia, where he celebrated his first tour-level wins in 2017 and made his first tour-level final in 2018. 

Frances Tiafoe (Rank: 39, Age: 20): Tiafoe had only nine tour-level wins before this season (9-29). But he went 28-26 in his breakthrough 2018, which included his maiden ATP Tour title in Delray Beach (d. Gojowczyk) and his first clay-court ATP Tour final, at the Millennium Estoril Open (l. to Sousa). Tiafoe also made his first third round at a Grand Slam at Wimbledon (l. to Khachanov) before making his debut at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. 

Ugo Humbert (Rank: 84, Age: 20): Few players at any level finished the year better than Humbert. The Frenchman was ranked No. 257 on 16 July but, behind reaching the second round at the US Open, an opening-round win at the Moselle Open and three ATP Challenger Tour titles from six finals, Humbert landed at No. 84 in the year-end ATP Rankings. 

Michael Mmoh (Rank: 103, Age: 20): Mmoh just missed out on qualifying for the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals, finishing 88 points behind the final qualifier, Poland's Hubert Hurkacz, who will have aged out of the competition in 2019. But Mmoh still reached one of his other main goals for 2018: reaching the Top 100. The American cracked the century line in October after winning back-to-back ATP Challenger Tour titles (Columbus, Tiburon).

Read More: From Riyadh to Milan? Mmoh's Journey Speeds Up 

Felix Auger-Aliassime (Rank: 109, Age: 18): Auger-Aliassime might be the most intriguing name on this list. One day before his 18th birthday, at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, he knocked out No. 18 Lucas Pouille in straight sets to earn his second ATP Masters 1000 victory (2018 Indian Wells, d. Pospisil).

He ended the year 6-10 at tour-level, which included qualifying but losing in the first round to Shapovalov at the US Open. Auger-Aliassime also won his third and fourth ATP Challenger Tour titles. Only Richard Gasquet (7) and Tomas Berdych (5) won more Challenger titles before their 19th birthday.

Read More: Felix Flies To Tashkent Challenger Title 

Casper Ruud (Rank: 113, Age: 19): In February 2017, Ruud made the semi-finals of the Rio Open presented by Claro, an ATP Tour 500-level event. But after the run, he admitted to relaxing.

I was really proud of myself, which you should be, but I was maybe a bit too happy with playing good that week... I wasn't maybe greedy enough to go for many good weeks in a row,” Ruud told ATPTour.com.

He learned from that mistake, and in 2018, Ruud, whose father, Christian, reached No. 39 in the ATP Rankings, beat David Ferrer to make the quarter-finals of the SkiStar Swedish Open en route to climbing 26 spots in the ATP Rankings. 

Other #NextGenATP To Watch In 2019

Player

Country

Rank

Age

Notes

Miomir Kecmanovic

Serbia

132

19

Made back-to-back ATP Challenger Tour finals to finish 2018

Corentin Moutet

France

149

19

Reached career-high No. 105 in September after winning ATP Challenger Tour title in Istanbul (d. Halys)

Alexei Popyrin

Australia

153

19

Qualified and won opener at Swiss Indoors Basel for maiden tour-level win

Yosuke Watanuki

Japan

188

20

Pushed Milos Raonic after winning his opener at home Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2018 in October

Rudolf Molleker

Germany

194

18

Ousted countryman Jan-Lennard Struff at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart for first tour-level win; then dismissed Spain's David Ferrer in Hamburg

Duckhee Lee

South Korea

209

20

Picked up first two tour-level wins in Davis Cup action against New Zealand

Gian Marco Moroni

Italy

218

20

Roman, who climbed 490 spots in the ATP Rankings in 2018, would be a fan favourite in Milan

Jay Clarke

Great Britain

221

20

Beat ATP Tour titlist Ryan Harrison of the U.S. to celebrate first tour-level win at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne

Jurij Rodionov

Austria

236

19

Won his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title in Almaty in June

Mate Valkusz

Hungary

246

20

Climbed 603 spots in the ATP Rankings in 2018

Yunseong Chung

South Korea

266

20

Rose 322 spots in the ATP Rankings in 2018

Tags: 

  • Next Gen ATP Finals
  • Milan 7696
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas
  • Frances Tiafoe
  • Alex de Minaur
  • Casper Ruud
  • Ugo Humbert
  • Michael Mmoh
  • Felix Auger-Aliassime
  • Preview
  • Denis Shapovalov
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