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Arnaldi Takes Italy To Brink Of Davis Cup Victory

  • Posted: Nov 26, 2023

Arnaldi Takes Italy To Brink Of Davis Cup Victory

Sinner looks to clinch final for Italy against de Minaur in No. 1 singles

Matteo Arnaldi has given Italy a 1-0 lead in the Davis Cup final against Australia after staring down eight break points in the deciding set against Alexei Popyrin.

In contrast to the opportunities missed by Popyrin, the 22-year-old seized the moment when presented with his first match point in the 10th game of the decider to emphatically close out a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 victory in two hours and 27 minutes.

It was vindication for the former Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier, who squandered three match points against Botic van de Zandschulp in Italy’s 2-1 win over The Netherlands.

“I didn’t play much in the last few weeks, so I was happy after the first match even if I lost,” Arnaldi said. “Now I have won one of the most important matches in my life.”

World No. 4 Jannik Sinner will now attempt to clinch the final for Italy when he takes on World No. 12 Alex de Minaur.

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Players Get Up To Speed On New Rules, Innovations In Jeddah

  • Posted: Nov 26, 2023

Players Get Up To Speed On New Rules, Innovations In Jeddah

New rules, innovation centre stage at the first ATP-sanctioned event to be held in Saudi Arabia

Dominic Stricker, Alex Michelsen and Abdullah Shelbayh were among the world’s leading 21-and-under players getting a different view of the press conference room at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM Sunday. Instead of sitting behind the microphone answering questions, players perched in media seats while taking a briefing on the signature rules and innovations in play at the tournament, which will run 28 November-2 December at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City.

Stricker is the only member of the field who has played the event before, but even he will need to adapt to new conditions as the evolving event continues to serve as a testing ground for rule changes and innovation.

“No warm up will be interesting. Usually you have a few minutes to find your game, so this will be something different,” Stricker said.

“I like the new time rules with eight seconds between first and second serves and also 15 seconds between points when rallies are short. That’s a good one because you can save a lot of time after those short points. Some players may think they need more time, but I feel it’s a really good idea.”

Player briefing

World No. 94 Alex Michelsen, who this time last year was around 600 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and celebrating Thanksgiving in California, said that he also was comfortable with the abbreviated time between first and second serves.

“I just have three bounces, so eight seconds between first and second serves shouldn’t be an issue for me,” he said.

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Look Who’s Next! Players Pose For Official 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals Photo

Jordanian Abdullah Shelbayh, who received a wild card into the tournament, said he was looking forward to playing under a different set of rules.

“I think it’s going to be more exciting and more challenging as everyone gets used to the quicker speed of play,” Shelbayh said. “And with the short sets to four games, matches can be decided by just a few points, so I think that will being out the best in us.

“The rule I may find challenging is the free fan movement, because I’ve not had that before. We’re used to people walking around the court at practice, but to do it in a match will be a new experience.”

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Changes for 2023 are set to accelerate the event’s fast-paced format, enhance the fan experience, and enrich data and analytics for players, coaches and fans:

  • No on-court warm-up: Matches will start immediately after the coin toss, with a separate practice court available for warm-ups.
  • Shot-Clock Reductions: A new maximum of eight seconds will be introduced between first and second serves. This also applies after a let on first or second serve. As in previous editions, time between points will be reduced from 25 to 15 seconds if the previous point includes fewer than three shots.
  • Wearables: Players will be able to track and visualise biometric data during matches via wearable devices – providing a comprehensive overview of their physical performance and stress responses.
  • Insights: A new Physicality Index, developed by Tennis Data Innovations and Kinexon, will capture physical exertion through player and ball-tracking technology. Existing TDI insights such as Shot Quality will be leveraged in stadium for the first time.
  • In-match analytics: The newly launched Tennis IQ platform will be available to coaches sitting courtside along with data-tagged video footage, with match data updated in real time and visualised in stadium.
  • Basecamp: A new pre-event, off-court competition, Basecamp, will measure the skills and physicality of players through a series of tests, creating new ways for fans to analyse the game’s rising stars.
  • Lower umpire chair to reduce the visual obstruction for fans in the arena. Live Electronic Line Calling remains in place on all line calls.
  • Simplified scoreboard for improved fan engagement and understanding.

Continued from previous editions:

  • Scoring format will be best of five tie-break sets. Each set will be first to four games with a tie-break played at 3-3. Games will be played using the No-Ad scoring format with the server choosing the service box.
  • Free fan movement allowed in stadium, except behind the baselines.
  • Reduced changeovers: No change of ends after the first game of a set. At the end of the set, players will sit down for 90 seconds (down from 120 seconds).

The 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM will take place at the King Abdullah Sports City from 28 November-2 December 2023, with a record US $2 million prize money on offer.

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Look Who's Next! Players Pose For Official 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals Photo

  • Posted: Nov 26, 2023

Look Who’s Next! Players Pose For Official 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals Photo

Players visited Al-Balad, the historic old town in Jeddah

The 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM begins on Tuesday in Saudi Arabia, but first, the 21-and-under stars visited Al-Balad, the historic old town of Jeddah, for this year’s official group photo.

Ahead of the first ATP-sanctioned event to be held in Saudi Arabia, players took time to visit the historical sites in Al-Balad, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014.

“We’ve had a really fun time,” said 19-year-old American Alex Michelsen. “Everyone’s been having a lot of laughs. People were great and to see the old city was really, really cool.”

Jeddah Old Town visit

Jordanian Abdullah Shelbayh received a wild card for the event. The Arab star enjoyed spending time with his competitors in Jeddah, where the players spent time exploring the local markets.

“It was exciting to do this with the players, they are pretty funny guys,” Shelbayh said. “It was good to spend some time together outside of competition.”

Frenchman Arthur Fils, who won his maiden tour-level title in Lyon earlier this season, showed off his driving skills in Al-Balad. The 19-year-old drove his fellow stars around in a buggy, receiving cheers of support.

“It was good,” Fils said. “I was driving the boys, it was easy. Everyone was smiling and laughing. It is nice to be with the boys as it is not often. It is a great city. It is nice and the people here are very welcoming. I am liking it.”

Jeddah Old Town visit

Fils’ countryman Luca Van Assche practised for the first time in Jeddah on Saturday before visiting the city.

“It is an incredible experience for us,” Van Assche said. “I have never been here so it is a new country for me and civilisation and I am happy to be here to see some of the city. It is very beautiful.”

Two Italians, Luca Nardi and Flavio Cobolli, will make their debuts at the 21-and-under event. Both had fun sightseeing and playing rooftop tennis at the visitor centre.

“It is very nice here,” Nardi said. “We are having a very good day visiting the city. I like it and the people are very nice. My first time playing tennis on a roof. It was very nice and seeing kids come. It was a nice atmosphere.”

“It was a great day and I’m very happy to be here with the Next Gen class,” Cobolli said.

Jeddah Old Town visit

Green Group consists of Fils, Stricker, Cobolli and Nardi. Red Group consists of Van Assche, Michelsen, Medjedovic and Shelbayh.

Seven of the eight competitors are tournament debutants, with the exception of 2022 semi-finalist Stricker.

“It was a great tour,” Stricker said. “We saw a few things of Jeddah. Seeing the old buildings and taking pictures. It is a good event and I am looking forward to playing.”

Jeddah Old Town visit


Jeddah Old Town visit

Jeddah Old Town visit

Hamad Medjedovic was absent as he was a member of the Serbia team at the Davis Cup Finals.

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