The Next Gen ATP: the future of tennis

Antonio Arenas Mutua News

The Next Gen ATP is the new generation of tennis. All players under the age of 21 who form part of the world’s top 200 players are considered members of the Next Gen. It is a platform for discovering the young guns, future stars and emerging talent in the sport. Who will be the next elite star in tennis?

On a tour on which the average age is rising, where names such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are breaking longevity records, the new candidates to dominate the tour have a perfect showcase in the Next Gen ATP. The eight best players in the category throughout the season qualify for a big season-ending event, a Masters Cup custom made for the new generation; the Next Gen ATP Finals, which are played in Milan before the Nitto ATP Finals.

JAUME MUNAR
Age: (turns 21 on 5 May)
Country: Spain
Plays: Right-handed, two-handed backhand

Born in Santanyí (Mallorca), Jaume Munar has always lived with eternal comparisons with other famous Mallorcan players; Carlos Moyà and Rafael Nadal. The young player deals well with the pressure well and trains at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar. Last year he was champion of the Challenger de Segovia in El Espinar.

CARLOS TABERNER
Age: 20 years
Country: Spain
Plays: Right-handed, two-handed backhand

Valencia, home to many great tennis players, is the city where another Spanish player destined to shoot up the rakings was born. Coached by José Altur and Pablo Lozano, Taberner already notched up his first ATP win earlier this year, reaching the last sixteen in Montpellier, where he lost to the eventual champion Lucas Pouille. His idol is David Ferrer and his favourite surface is clay.

ANDREY RUBLEV
Age: 20 years
Country: Russia
Plays: Right-handed, two-handed backhand

Appearances can be deceptive. 68 kilos distributed over 6’2″ in height could fool observers into believing that the Russian is yet to develop, that his shots lack power. But nothing could be further from the truth and, above all, time is more valuable than power. Rublev’s forehand is a missile and all the players he faces say the same thing: the ball reaches them with practically uncontrollable pace. The Russian trains in Gavà (Barcelona) under the watchful eye of Fernando Vicente.

ÁLEX DE MIÑAUR
Age: 19
Country: Australia
Plays: Right-handed, two-handed backhand
If Lleyton Hewitt decides to coach you, you must be doing something right. Álex de Miñaur is a future star of Australia, land of tennis legends. Son of a Uruguayan and a Spaniard, De Miñaur is a student worthy of his mentor. On court he is tough to pass and his determination and a desire to improve set him apart. The young player lives in Alicante with his family and his favourite team is Real Madrid.

DENIS SHAPOVALOV
Age: 19
Country: Canada
Plays: Left-handed, one-handed backhand
Remember the name. Denis Shapovalov has something that cannot be taught; a charisma that electrifies every stadium he graces. Whenever he goes to a tournament, he always leaves with a legion of fans. His style of tennis is fresh, unpredictable and hugely spectacular. He is the future of one-handed backhands, following in the footsteps of his idol Roger Federer, but he also boasts the explosiveness of Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem. His talent on court is reminiscent of Rafael Nadal in his early years. They have something in common; they are both left-handed, an advantage that wins over fans and exasperates opponents with impossible angles.

ALEXANDER ZVEREV
Age: 21 years
Country: Germany
Plays: Right-handed, two-handed backhand

By age, the German is a member of the Next Gen ATP. By titles, world ranking and, above all, his game, Zverev is not the future of tennis, he is the present. The 6’6″ giant is the son and brother of tennis players. His DNA oozes tennis. There is no expert that does not expect him to succeed the Big Four, to lead world tennis in the coming years and to be the new figurehead of the sport. His explosion onto the tour came in 2017, when the German won 5 titles, only behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Two of his crowns came at Masters 1000 tournaments, the highest category on the ATP World Tour. His list of wins includes victories over Novak Djokovic and Federer himself and his game includes the aggressiveness demanded by today’s tennis, but also the tactics and strategy of yesteryear, thanks to his father and coach Alexander Zverev Sr. Sascha, the affectionate name given to the smallest of the Zverevs, is the only player of his generation in the top 10 of the ATP ranking. A prodigy.