Which NextGen stars are heading to Milan for the season finale?

The final eight are on route. A chance to finish the season with some silverware at the Next Gen Finals in Milan but who will reign champion at the championships?

Stefanos Tsitsipas will not be at the event as he has qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals in London. Felix Auger-Aliassime was due to play but an injury has ruled him out of the event.

Alex De Minaur

Ranked – 28
Age – 21
Nationality – Australian

A very good year for Alex, if anything an underrated year from the Australian. Three titles this year in Sydney, Atlanta and Zhuhai. Add to that a first top 10 win and breaking into the top 30 there is plenty to shout about.

I said underrated because he did spend quite some time out injured and did struggle to get back to form so to have found it again is a testament to his hard work.

Hard work epitomises De Minaur. He is strong off both ground strokes and is the definition of all-court game. He has a good serve and good touch around the net. He moves better than most and runner-up here last year will be hoping to go further.

Denis Shapovalov

Ranked – 27
Age – 20
Nationality – Canadian

It has been a good year for Denis, there have been difficult times and his form has dipped but of late has looked good especially his first title which came in Stockholm.

I watched him in Shanghai and I’ll be honest, I didn’t get it. I do still think there are questions over his game and where to build it from but it’s been up and down.

Being ambidextrous does give him options but also in my opinion complicates things and comes across erratic.

Frances Tiafoe 

Ranked – 46
Age – 21
Nationality – USA

Highlight of the season has to be quarter finals in Miami and of course Australian Open. Apart from that its been flat.

In all honesty it is annoying because I sat here last year when he played Tsitsipas in Milan and it felt like a hit around, I didn’t get the game.

8 wins from his last 21 going into Basel, it hasn’t given much. 

The one thing I would say about these defeats is that he’s gone down with a fight but has only won 4 of his 15 matches this year which have gone to best of three (excluding Grand Slams).

Casper Ruud

Ranked –  61
Age – 20
Nationality – Norweigan

The unknown with Casper but a really nice guy with a strong baseline game.

He recently hit a career high of 54 in the world and has had steady results. His best tournament was Roland Garros.

I watched all three of his matches there, he defeated Gulbis and Berrettini in straight sets. I like his character, he was 3-6 1-6 down to Federer and still gave his best in the third set which he lost 6-7 (8-10).

Casper trains a lot at the Rafael Nadal Academy and this will be a good tester for him to see where his game is at with others around his age.

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Miomir Kecmanovic 

Ranked – 55
Age – 20
Nationality – Serbian

We have seen glimpses of what Miomir can do. I’m excited to see how he gets on. I’m disappointed he hasn’t been chosen for the Davis Cup Finals but I imagine a conversation would have been had.

A week in Cincinnati was probably his best when he came through qualifying and saw off Feliciano Lopez, Felix Auger Aliassime and Alex Zverev with one set dropped and a set down against the German.

Ugo Humbert

Ranked – 62
Age – 21
Nationality – French

Ugo has impressed this year. I believe he is the only naturally left handed person in the line-up.

He wiped the floor with David Goffin in Antwerp recently and gave Andy Murray a good run for his money to in three tough sets in the semi-final.

Ugo has played a lot of tennis and decided only to take a month off at the end of last season. In the last 12 months he has played 36 events with 31 of them this year but majority has been challenger level of late.

He could cause some trouble, I like his fearless approach to a challenge and is in good form right now.

Mikael Ymer

Ranked – 72
Age – 21
Nationality – Swedish

Mikael Ymer has done something not many have and has won four challenger titles this year.

This will be a big challenge and an interesting one for Ymer going to Milan. He has only featured in 6 main ATP/ITF events this year so it will be a good test to see where he is at.

He has a strong serve and good baseline skills, if anything you could call it a no pressure free hit for him. 

Jannik Sinner

Ranked – 93
Age – 18
Nationality – Italian

Jannik didn’t officially qualify but the Italian will be the only local lad taking part in Rome.

He has be rewarded with a wildcard into the event.

He made his name recently on the ATP Tour with a good run in Antwerp seeing off Monfils and Tiafoe and backed it up with a solid round one victory over Kohlschreiber in Vienna.

He is the youngest player in the draw this year and the only teenager!