- Eight players aged 21-and-under will vie for big bucks in the Next Gen ATP Finals
- Absent are the two best players eligible to compete: Jannik Sinner and Félix Auger-Aliassime
- No. 1 seed Carlos Alcaraz, by far the highest ranked, is the big favorite to win. We break it down below
After a year’s absence because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Next Gen ATP Finals return in Milan, Italy.
But the two best players eligible, world No. 10 Jannik Sinner (the 2019 champion) and No. 11 Félix Auger-Aliassime, preferred an ATP 250 tournament in Stockholm, Sweden.
That leaves the top seed to 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who is the prohibitive favorite to win it all.
Next Gen ATP Finals Odds
|||Carlos Alcaraz (ESP)||+140|
|||Sebastian Korda (USA)||+250|
|||Brandon Nakashima (USA)||+500|
|||Hugo Gaston (FRA)||+500|
|||Lorenzo Musetti (ITA)||+900|
|||Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune (DEN)||+1400|
|||Sebastian Baez (ARG)||+2800|
|||Juan Manuel Cerundolo (ARG)||+3500|
Odds as of Nov. 8 at DraftKings
Group B Looks the Toughest
Group A is Alcaraz, Brandon Nakashima, Juan Manuel Cerundolo and Holger Rune.
The tougher Group B includes Sebastian Korda, home favorite Lorenzo Musetti, Sebastian Baez and Hugo Gaston.
The weak links in the draw are the two Argentines – Cerundolo and Baez.
Cerundolo shocked the tennis planet when he won the ATP-level Cordoba Open from the qualifying back in February.
But he has only played one match off the clay all season. And that was on grass. He also has been playing mostly at the Challenger level.
— Next Gen ATP Finals (@nextgenfinals) November 8, 2021
His countryman Baez is even more obscure. Baez has played just two career ATP-level matches, both this year. And like Cerundolo, he has spent nearly the entire season on clay.
If either of the Argentines wins a pool match – even with the quick format – it would be a shocker.
A Lot of Adjustments and Special Rules
The first shock is the court – it’s a singles-only court. The dimensions are exactly the same. But the lack of doubles lines makes it feel narrower, somehow.
New rules announced for the Next Gen finals … pic.twitter.com/h3qOxvFnu0
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) November 6, 2021
And then, the abbreviated scoring system. The format is best-of-five sets. But the scoring is first to four games, leading by two, with a tiebreak at 3-3. And no-ad scoring. It happens very, very quickly.
The fans are allowed to circulate freely throughout, except behind the courts. And the coaches are allowed to … coach from the sidelines.
Previous Next Gen ATP Finals Winners and Finalists
|2019||[WC] Jannik Sinner (ITA)||Alex de Minaur (AUS)|
|2018||Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)||Alex de Minaur (AUS)|
|2017||Hyeong Chung (KOR)||Andrey Rublev (RUS)|
Big Names Missing from Next Gen Lineup
In addition to Sinner and Auger-Aliassime, American Jenson Brooksby is home with an abdominal injury and will not take part.
So the field could have been a lot better.
But with 18-year-old Alcaraz at the top of the list, home-country favorite Musetti, and the crafty Gaston in the lineup, the tennis will be quality.
Tuesday Next Gen ATP Finals Matchups
|A|| Brandon Nakashima vs  Juan Manuel Cerundolo||-1000 / +600|
|A|| Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) vs.  Holger Rune (DEN)||-320 / +230|
|B|| Sebastian Korda vs.  Hugo Gaston||-235 / +175|
|B|| Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) vs.  Sebastian Baez||-285 / +210|
Who Has the Edge?
Alcaraz has shown he’s just fine on the hard courts. In the absence of Sinner he’s the most accomplished player in the draw. And he’s in the “easier” pool.
— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) November 8, 2021
Group B might come down to Korda vs Musetti, with the Italian getting the home support. Musetti won their one ATP Tour meeting, although that was on clay.
That was the only ATP-level meeting between any of the players in the tournament. So there’s not much precedent to go by.
Potential Tuesday Upsets
The Tuesday evening match (1:30 pm ET) between Korda and Gaston offers the best upset potential, with Korda not having seen anything like Gaston so far in his short career.
The first South American to qualify for Milan 👏 🇦🇷
— Next Gen ATP Finals (@nextgenfinals) November 1, 2021
The 21-year-old Frenchman, as it happens, defeated both Alcaraz and Musetti last week at the indoor Paris Masters. And he also gave world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev conniptions before the Russian finally figured him out.
So beyond the outcome hinging on who adjusts to the unique conditions best, the lefty Gaston is definitely the best underdog in the field even though he was the last one to qualify.
Best Bet: Carlos Alcaraz (+140)
Longer Shot: Hugo Gaston (+500)