Musetti, Alcaraz and Korda like the innovation

As Lorenzo Musetti and Hugo Gaston battled deep into the night on Wednesday in Milan, fans stood in the top row of the Allianz Cloud. Others paced in the concourse from section to section during play to get a better view. None of that would normally be allowed.

But one of the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals’ innovations is free fan movement, which players, including especially Musetti, loved.

“This rule I think it's a good rule because when we are playing we don't notice too much the people are moving and it's not disturbing for us,” Musetti said. “I think I have the crowd by my side and I hope tomorrow it's going to be a full crowd and I want the participation of the crowd like tonight.”

Musetti defeated Gaston 4-3(4), 4-3(6), 2-4, 3-4(7), 4-2 in the longest match in tournament history, which lasted two hours and 33 minutes. And the liveliness of the crowd made for a special environment.

“It was really fun, I was really happy to play in front of my Italian crowd,” Musetti said. “I will try my best tomorrow and I will enjoy the show for sure.”

It was no surprise that Musetti, the home favourite, liked the innovation. But he was not the only one. Top seed Carlos Alcaraz was among the competitors who praised the rule.

“I think it's fun to have it,” Alcaraz said. “The fans can walk around the seats and I think that it's fun and different.”

There are more than just murmurs in the crowd during changeovers. A DJ in the stadium blares music through the Allianz Cloud making for a festive atmosphere.

“It's amazing. It's an amazing atmosphere, the music, the crowd, everything was amazing,” Alcaraz said. “I really like it and I'm really enjoying the playing in that atmosphere.”

Second seed Sebastian Korda, who is 2-0 in Group B play, added that he would not mind allowing fans to roam during the action at other ATP Tour events on the calendar.

“I don’t care if someone is walking around waving their hands, I don’t notice it at all,” Korda said. “It is normal for me with people moving about and I like it.”

The consensus was that this has given fans more of an opportunity to share their passion for the sport and the players.

“The crowds have been awesome. It is a lot of fun having such passionate fans,” Korda said. “Coming from Paris the fans are crazy and they are crazy here, so it has been a lot of fun. I love it.”