LONDON (Reuters) - The ATP’s flagship season-ending tournament for top-ranked tennis players aged 21 or under will feature revolutionary new rules including short sets, shot clocks and no lets.
Milan will host the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in November and the men’s governing body will use it to showcase a range of innovations designed to appeal to a younger audience.
The most significant change will be to the scoring system with matches being played over best-of-five-sets with first to four games instead of the usual six. Tiebreaks will be played at 3-3 and there will be a sudden-death point at deuce.
Other changes include shorter warm-ups and the strict enforcement of the 25-seconds between points rule using a clock.
Service net cords will also count as legitimate serves.
Players will also be able to communicate with their coaches at certain times during the match, although they will not be allowed on court, as is already the case on the WTA Tour.
“We’re excited to be bringing something new to the table with this event,” ATP Executive Chairman and President Chris Kermode said in a statement.
“The sports and entertainment landscape is changing rapidly, as are the ways in which fans are consuming our sport. This event is not only about the next generation of players, but also about the next generation of fans.
“We’ve created this new tournament precisely to allow us to look at some potential new elements, in a high-profile environment.”
Kermode said the ATP was committed to the traditions of the sport and would “safeguard the integrity” of tennis should any of the innovations reach the main Tour.
One tradition that fans might like to ditch, however, is the often frustrating wait for three games in a corridor behind the court before being allowed to take their seats.
The Milan event will see free movement of fans who will be able to come and go as they please without having to wait for a change of ends.
World number 17 Alexander Zverev is currently leading the Race to Milan standings while other likely players will be Croatia’s Borna Coric and American Frances Tiafoe.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis