Learn more about the best 20-and-under players

Jakub Mensik, Arthur Fils, Alex Michelsen, Shang Juncheng, Luca Van Assche and Dino Prizmic spearhead the current crop of #NextGenATP stars for fans to keep an eye out for in 2024. Between them, they have already clinched Top 10 wins, earned tour-level titles and enjoyed ATP Challenger Tour success in their blossoming careers.

One of the aims for these teenagers this year is to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF, an event that has crowned Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz as champions in the past. On a broader scale, 15 of the Top 20 in the PIF ATP Rankings have played at the 20-and-under event.

ATPTour.com caught up with the early contenders in the PIF ATP Live Race To Jeddah to get to know more about their game styles, off-court interests and much more.

Jakub Mensik

Game Style
Last season Jakub Mensik made his mark at the US Open, where he advanced to the third round. This year, the Czech has gone up another level and currently leads the PIF ATP Live Race To Jeddah after a standout start to the season.

With the 18-year-old cracking the Top 70 in the PIF ATP Rankings in March, fans should expect to see a lot more of Mensik as the season goes on. But what can they expect when they watch him in action?

“I am a very aggressive baseliner. I have a big serve and also a big forehand, so I like to play more aggressively,” Mensik told ATPTour.com. “I'm not that guy who is playing just from the baseline. I'm trying to always think about something special. To go to the net or play some beautiful shots.”

Breakthrough Moment
In February, Mensik took advantage of a new benefit for #NextGenATP talents who reach the Top 250 of the PIF ATP Rankings to compete at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. Players aged 20 and under inside the Top 350 receive up to eight ATP Challenger Tour 100 and 125 opportunities. But as a Top 250 player, Mensik was also eligible for one ATP 250 main draw opportunity in a three-tournament week (and two ATP 250 qualifying events).

The Czech took the opportunity to compete in the main draw in Doha, where he advanced to his first tour-level final in just his third tour-level event. He beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Andy Murray, Andrey Rublev and Gael Monfils before losing to Karen Khachanov.

“The [Doha] week will be for me unforgettable,” Mensik said. “From the beginning, I didn't even get to this tournament on my own ranking. I had to use the NextGen spot, so I tried to enjoy every moment on the court. I didn't expect that I would go through to the final, so I'm really happy with my performance.

“I think for the future, this tournament showed me that I can play with these players and that I can be soon on top.”

Next Gen ATP Finals Goals
With Mensik currently leading the PIF Live ATP Race To Jeddah, he is already in a strong position to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF for the first time. The Czech is excited at the opportunity of playing in Jeddah and revealed he is close with his fellow #NextGenATP stars.

“I remember the tournament when Jannik Sinner won. Before Rublev and all of these players were playing there, Alcaraz has won it also, so you can see that lots of the players which were there, they are now around Top 10, Top 20,” Mensik said. “It's also tough to get through the Next Gen ATP finals and then play the [Nitto] ATP Finals as well, but it's great to compare with all these young players.

“I know all of them,” Mensik added when asked about his fellow 20-and-under stars. “I played a lot of junior events, also tennis Europe events against them. I have known them for a long time. We are good friends. We are joking around. Having hits at tournaments. We are all going the same way up.”

Off-court Interests
Away from the court, Mensik is a big sports fan and enjoys travelling on Tour.

“I'm very friendly and I like relaxing with friends. I'm also watching the NBA,” Mensik said. “I watch football with my dad. We support Slavia Prague. Three years ago or so we were at the group stages of the Champions League.

“I am also quite active. I tried bungee jumping once. It was in Czech Republic when I was eight or nine years old. It was only 10 or 20 meters. I also went swimming with dolphins.”

Did You Know?
Mensik, 18, beat Andrey Rublev in Doha this season to become the youngest player to defeat a Top 5 player since Carlos Alcaraz overcame Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open in 2021.

Arthur Fils

2023 Breakthrough
Many fans would not have heard of Arthur Fils 12 months ago. Fast forward a year and the Frenchman is one of the most exciting prospects on Tour. The 19-year-old lifted his maiden tour-level trophy in Lyon last May and was named the Newcomer of the Year in the 2023 ATP Awards. Starting this year inside the Top 40, Fils is aiming to break more new ground in 2024. However, with increased expectation comes increased pressure, which is something the teenager is adjusting to.

“The easiest part I think is to break out,” Fils told ATPTour.com. “To go to the top, that's the easiest part. But to stay there I think it's the most difficult part. Last year I had a really great year, with some very good matches and I did some great things. But now when you are where I am, there are a lot of players behind you, not a few, and they just want to take your place. You are here, but they will just want to pass you, so it's a little bit different.

“You're not coming onto court like an outsider but as a favourite. It's a little bit different. Last year I was coming like an outsider and it's really easy to play as an outsider because you don't have any pressure, you don't feel anything. When you are the favourite I think it's a little bit different. But now I'm just learning how to deal with it. I think it's better and better since the start of the year and I'm trying my best.”

Next Gen ATP Finals Experience
Fils, currently second in the PIF ATP Live Race To Jeddah, competed at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF last season. He won all three of his round-robin matches and beat countryman Luca Van Assche in the semi-finals before Hamad Medjedovic prevailed in a five-set title decider.

“It was a big experience. It's kind of another sport because it's not the same rules. We hit a yellow ball but that is the only thing that was really the same. We didn't have any warmup and everything but it was nice,” Fils recalled. “It's funny to play with the young guys, to play with the boys I mean, we all play together in the juniors, so it's funny to be there again and to compete together. It's all about a good atmosphere and just sharing good moments. Everyone now who played in Jeddah is doing very great on the Tour.”

Five #NextGenATP stars clinched main draw wins at the Australian Open, while Mensik, Fils, Michelsen and Shang all recorded victories in Indian Wells earlier this month. Fils said that he and his fellow #NextGenATP players are supportive of each other’s achievements off court.

“Mensik is a very nice guy, always saying hi and good luck. Prizmic I don’t really know but he is playing unbelievable tennis. The match he did against Djokovic in Australia was amazing,” Fils said. “Jerry Shang is nice. We played together in the Orange Bowl three years ago. We played in semi-finals. I have known him for a long time and he is very nice and very polite. He is very easy to be around."

Game Style
Fils describes his game as ‘explosive’ and ‘high energy’. They were traits fans would have witnessed last season when he upset Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to the final in Antwerp and Casper Ruud during his journey to the last four in Hamburg. Throw in a third-round showing in Shanghai and semi-finals in Montpellier and Marseille and it is easy to understand how the Frenchman rose from outside the Top 250 in January 2023 to No. 36 in October.

This season, the 19-year-old advanced to the semi-finals in Auckland but suffered disappointing early exits in three clay-court South American events. With the European swing coming, Fils will be hoping to kick on and re-find the level that helped him achieve so much in his debut season. If he can, he will be one to watch again in 2024.

Did You Know?
Aged 18, Lyon champion Fils was the youngest titlist on the ATP Tour last year.

Alex Michelsen

Game Style
When you play Alex Michelsen, you know you will be in for a battle. The 19-year-old has already demonstrated his fighting capabilities during his first 12 months on Tour, highlighted by a final run in Newport last year, a third-round showing at January's Australian Open and a maiden ATP Masters 1000 victory in Indian Wells in March. The American is proud of how he competes.

“I think I compete really, really well,” Michelsen told ATPTour.com. “I feel like I'm always going to give it 100 per cent, whereas you know some guys might not give it 100 per cent every day. I know when I get on the court I'm going give it my all to win.

“Nothing's better than the grind. ‘You gotta love the grind’, I tell myself all the time. Because if you don't love it, then being on the tennis tour really sucks. Thankfully I do.”

Breakthrough Moment
Rewind to last July when Michelsen arrived in Newport, where he was preparing to compete in just his second tour-level event. The teenager earned his maiden tour-level win against Maxime Cressy in the first round before he soared past James Duckworth, Mackenzie McDonald and John Isner to reach his first ATP Tour final.

“Newport showed that I can hang with the level of a great player like Mackenzie McDonald and with John, who is the best server to ever play the game. Being able to hang with them and beat them was pretty cool,” said Michelsen, who lost to Adrian Mannarino in the final.

Two weeks later Michelsen made the decision to turn pro following his run, forgoing his college eligibility.

“I wasn't really processing what had happened in Newport when I was in Chicago. But as I went home, and then the days kind of went by, and I made the decision to go pro,” Michelsen said. “I was just kind of in my room by myself and I thought, ‘I just did all that’. I went from 250 to 140 [in the PIF ATP Rankings] in a couple of weeks, and I made strides that I never really thought I'd make.”

Next Gen ATP Finals Experience
Michelsen competed at last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF after finishing in the Top 8 of the PIF ATP Live Race To Jeddah. His visit to Jeddah is one that will live long in the memory as he seeks a return in 2024.

“Going through the old city [in Jeddah] was a pretty crazy experience for me,” Michelsen said. “I've never seen anything like it, I've never been anywhere close to this part of the world. I was seeing all the culture and historic buildings and I was like, 'Whoa!' That was a really crazy experience for me. I was kind of sitting there in awe for a couple hours. I’ve never done that, I've never just sat in awe for that long.”

The 20-and-under event features several on-court and off-court innovations to enhance entertainment for fans on site and watching on TV. Michelsen enjoyed that aspect of the event.

“I liked some of the innovations: I liked how there's only 15 seconds in between points when it's just serve and return, two balls or less,” Michelsen said. “I liked that because sometimes I feel like players take too long and I like to kind of play a little quicker.”

Michelsen, who describes himself as a competitive person, possesses a big serve and a strong net game. With aims to become the next American No. 1, the 19-year-old revealed which of his fellow countrymen inspired him when he was growing up.

“I always watched John McEnroe back on tapes because he was kind of the legend and he was super entertaining to watch,” Michelsen said.

“And then I grew up watching Taylor Fritz, Steve Johnson, these guys at the top, they're always pretty good.

“John [Isner’s] influence [was big] because of the big game style. Stevie [Johnson] and I don't exactly play like each and I don't play like John either. But the big serve always fascinated me and trying to get to the net. I enjoyed that. And I feel like I've tried to apply that a little bit with myself.”

Did You Know?
The 19-year-old is the youngest player from the United States to win an ATP Masters 1000 match since Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe both won in Miami in 2017.

Luca Van Assche

Breakthrough Year
Like friend and countryman Fils, Luca Van Assche made big strides in 2023. The 19-year-old advanced to tour-level quarter-finals in Hamburg and Metz and won a set against Novak Djokovic in Banja Luka. It was a crucial year for the Frenchman in his development.

“I learned a lot because I think it was my first year on the ATP tour, not just the ATP Challenger Tour. It was really nice. It was the first time I was in the the Top 100. The first time I played Grand Slams, so it was very interesting. I learned a lot,” Van Assche told ATPTour.com. “I gained a lot of experience because I played against very good players. Very big tournaments. It was a very good experience for me and I hope to keep it up for this year.”

Game Style
Standing at 5’10”, Van Assche is the fifth shortest player inside the Top 100. However, while the 19-year-old may not possess the biggest weapons, he is a hard worker who gives you very little. Just ask Djokovic in Banja Luka last year.

“I think I can do a lot. I think I can be very solid. Behind the baseline, I can return very well,” Van Assche said. “I think I'm trying to be more and more aggressive during the points. I think I have a very good backhand."

The Frenchman has not enjoyed the start to the season he would have hoped, having failed to win consecutive matches at his past five tour-level events. However, a third-round run at the Australian Open and a semi-final showing at the ATP Challenger Tour 175 event in Phoenix means it is far from a disastrous start to 2024 for the World No. 80.

“It is difficult because I want to be better now. In my head I am a little bit behind what I was expecting," Van Assche said. "But if I see my game a few years ago, of course I would be very happy to be where I am now. But now I have had some results and played at a good intensity, I want to do better and to be higher.”

Van Assche and Fils, alongside 21-year-old Arthur Cazaux, are the most exciting prospects in French tennis. The trio continues to push each other, with Van Asssche and Fils friends since childhood.

“We are friends. I have known him for a long time. We played a lot of tournaments together at the juniors. We made a final at Grand Slam juniors, so we had a very good relationship,” said Van Assche, who beat Fils in the 2021 Roland Garros Boys’ singles final. “Outside the court we go to dinner sometimes. During the tournament we practise together, we spend time together. It's good to have many friends on Tour because the year can be very long and far away from your friends in Paris or at home or your family. So it's nice to have some friends on Tour. We can spend a lot of good time together and have good memories.”

Van Assche has also hit with Michelsen and Mensik and believes both have games to go to the top.

“I already played Michelsen last year. I did a few practises with him and Mensik. They are incredible players. They play very well,” Van Assche said. “I hope we all qualify at the end of the year for Jeddah.

Next Gen ATP Finals Experience
Van Assche is another player aiming to make their second appearance in Jeddah, having competed last year. The three-time ATP Challenger Tour champion was full of praise when speaking about the indoor hard-court tournament.

“It was good. It was a nice court. The guys who were there supporting us were good,” Van Assche said. “It was different rules. It was fun to play with these rules. Some were good, some I liked a little bit less. It was a good event for me. A nice experience and fun.”

Humbert on Fils & Van Assche
Ugo Humbert is the French No. 1, having already won titles in Marseille and Dubai this season. The World No. 15 broke onto the Tour five years ago and played the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF in 2019. Now 25, the lefty is pleased to be the leading French figure on the ATP Tour and is excited by the prospect of Fils and Van Assche.

“I have known them for a couple of years because they were training at the French Federation. Now they're playing so good, so we are together at tournaments and they are two great guys,” Humbert told ATPTour.com. “They have a really good mindset, too. It's nice for French tennis that we have a good generation.

“We like to push each other. It's like a race. It's really cool. When I was young, I was the only one in the new generation in France and I felt like it was missing some players to push me, to push me every time. So now it's really good to have Arthur and Luca and also Arthur Cazaux.”

Did You Know?
Van Assche was the first player born in 2004 or later to reach the Top 100 in the PIF ATP Rankings.

Shang Juncheng

Breakthrough Moment
Shang Juncheng is just 19 years old but is a player that many fans have been aware of for some time. The Chinese star made his tour-level debut in Miami in 2022 before he earned two impressive wins against Ben Shelton in 2023, the same year he won a main-draw match at the Australian Open.

His greatest moment came earlier this season, though, when he soared to his first tour-level semi-final in Hong Kong in the opening week of the year.

“First and second match, things could have gone really, really wrong. Because I was down match points in both matches. I just kept believing in myself and then kept playing, kept fighting for the points and it just happened… Probably one of the most important tournaments that I've played,” said Shang, who beat Frances Tiafoe in the quarters before falling to Rublev in three sets in the last four.

He went on to reach the third round at the Australian Open and came through qualifying to advance to the second round in Indian Wells after winning his first main-draw match at an ATP Masters 1000 event.

Game Style
Possessing a lefty serve and destructive forehand, Shang has the weapons to cause his opponents problems. Just ask China’s No. 1 Zhang Zhizhen, who recalls his practices with Shang.

“I like to practise with him and then you can see he's improving huge amounts,” Zhang told ATPTour.com. “Every single time we hit he surprised me. I'm really enjoying hitting the ball with him because he also gave me some more ideas, different ways, to play tennis.

“His forehand for sure is very good. I still remember the practice in Australia and his forehand felt like a bullet. The ball is like a bullet, just going so fast and flat. I think it's really tough to play against. He's attacking the ball. He's moving. He's making winners.”

Shang has demonstrated his quality throughout the early stages of his career but admitted he can be a perfectionist when it comes to his game.

“If my coach hears this, he's probably going to think differently, but I would say that I'm an easygoing, patient guy. But I tend to get mad sometimes at myself, perhaps a little bit too harsh,” Shang said. “I think that's maybe a good thing for an athlete because you're always searching for the perfect play and then also trying to improve in every way.

“My friends and my family, they always tell me to maybe try to be a little more patient because sometimes you're not even wrong. You're just maybe having bad luck or something, so that's something I've got to work on.”

Young Guns On Tour
Shang is one of 13 players aged 20-and-under inside the Top 200 in the PIF ATP Rankings. The World No. 124 is excited by the success of his fellow youngsters on Tour and revealed that it has helped motivate him to achieve more.

“I think it's an amazing thing. Obviously, you have Top 10 players, Alcaraz, and Sinner, who are only a few years older, and then Holger as well. So for us in 2005, maybe even younger than us doing so well, it's a motivation,” Shang said. “We compete, we compare to each other in a really good way. And that's been pushing me in the past couple of months.”

Chinese Success
Chinese tennis has had stars in the past. Notably former WTA star Li Na, who won two majors (Roland Garros 2011, Australian Open 2014) and reached a career-high No. 2. Her legacy is evident on the WTA Tour today, with Zheng Qinwen, 21, advancing to the Australian Open final in January. There are currently seven Chinese women inside the Top 100.

On the ATP Tour, Zhang and Shang are flying the flag for their country.

Zhang became the first Chinese player to crack the Top 50 in the PIF ATP Rankings in singles in January, while he won a doubles title in Marseille in early February.

“I think it's really, really exciting because obviously Big Jerry just won a title in doubles,” Shang said. “He also did very well in Davis Cup and we won, that was fortunate. I think it's just very, very exciting to see familiar faces, people who speak your language. Also on the women's side, they're doing so well. That makes it feel like home a little bit when you go to the tournaments. You can speak your own language, talk to the people and maybe have a little fun together.”

Zhang is pleased with the recent success of Chinese tennis and is proud of Shang’s development.

“You see Jerry now is already around the Top 100 at 19. It is brilliant,” Zhang said. “When I was 19, I was nowhere. You have to keep moving, keep going forward and realise it can take time. It is not just when you are 20 you are at the top. You need to believe in yourself because before you never think you can break Top 100. And now I am in Top 50. We have to believe ourselves that we can do a little bit more.”

Did You Know?
Aged 17, Shang became the first Chinese man in the Open Era to win a match at the Australian Open when he advanced to the second round in 2023.

Dino Prizmic

Breakthrough Moment
Dino Prizmic grabbed attention at the start of the year in Melbourne, where he pushed Novak Djokovic to four sets in the first round at the Australian Open. The 18-year-old Croatian played fearlessly on Rod Laver Arena, with the match stretching four hours. It was the longest first-round clash of Djokovic’s career and was an occasion that has boosted Prizmic’s confidence.

“It was a big thing for me to play against Novak, also on Rod Laver Arena. It is a really good feeling. I definitely learned a lot from him on the court and outside the court,” Prizmic said. “I know now what I need to improve in my game. I just want to want to stay focused. I think I need to focus more on being an aggressive player. Everything in my game needs to go up a level to play against these players.”

Game Style
Prizmic fought hard against Djokovic in Melbourne and looked to be aggressive when he could. The 18-year-old, who captured his first ATP Challenger Tour title in Banja Luka last season, is clear about how he wants to play on Tour.

“I am a big fighter. I am a more aggressive player but I can produce on the defensive side. I want to play my best tennis every match if I can and enjoy every moment on court.”

Friendships on Tour
The Croatian, currently No. 169 in the PIF ATP Rankings, is one of two 18-year-olds inside the Top 10 in the PIF ATP Live Race To Jeddah. Mensik is the other and is a player Prizmic knows well.

“I know the other Next Gen guys, especially Mensik. I'm really good with him. He is a really, really good player," Prizmic said. "Big serve and a very good forehand. And also Michelson, he already reached the Top 100 at 19 years old, so he's a really good player. We are very young and we need to improve a lot of things to play against the best players, but I think we know that.”

Next Gen ATP Finals Goals
Prizmic will be hoping to be part of the best 20-and-under players at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF. The Croatian narrowly missed out on qualification for Jeddah last year but enjoyed watching the event.

“I watched last season and it was very good. I think it's very good to play Next Gen because it's the eight best young players, so it is really good to be a part of the Next Gen,” Prizmic said. “It gives you a chance to show your best and to see what you need to improve. It's definitely my goal to qualify. This year I want to reach the Top 100. I just want to enjoy every moment on the court, but it's a big thing for me to play Next Gen with the best young players.”

Off-court Interests
Having pushed World No. 1 Djokovic to four sets earlier this year, it could be easy to forget that Prizmic is just 18. So how does a talented teenager spend his time when he is not going blow for blow with a 24-time major champion?

“I like to play video games,” Prizmic said. “Also watching sporting events and UFC events. It is my favourite sport after tennis, my best sport. I have a big screen at home and I play some games with my friends, but I am not taking the console on Tour. Maybe one day.”

Did You Know?
Prizmic was the first player since Stan Wawrinka in 2003 to win the Roland Garros boys’ singles title and a Challenger trophy in the same season (2023).