The 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals introduced by NEOM begins on Tuesday in Saudi Arabia, however first, the 21-and-under stars visited Al-Balad, the historic previous city of Jeddah, for this yr’s official group picture.
Ahead of the primary ATP-sanctioned occasion to be held in Saudi Arabia, gamers took time to go to the historic websites in Al-Balad, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014.
“We’ve had a very enjoyable time,” stated 19-year-old American Alex Michelsen. “Everyone’s been having quite a lot of laughs. People have been nice and to see the previous metropolis was actually, actually cool.”
Jordanian Abdullah Shelbayh obtained a wild card for the occasion. The Arab star loved spending time together with his rivals in Jeddah, the place the gamers hung out exploring the native markets.
“It was thrilling to do that with the gamers, they’re fairly humorous guys,” Shelbayh stated. “It was good to spend a while collectively exterior of competitors.”
Frenchman Arthur Fils, who gained his maiden tour-level title in Lyon earlier this season, confirmed off his driving expertise in Al-Balad. The 19-year-old drove his fellow stars round in a buggy, receiving cheers of help.
“It was good,” Fils stated. “I used to be driving the boys, it was simple. Everyone was smiling and laughing. It is good to be with the boys as it isn’t usually. It is a good metropolis. It is good and the individuals listed below are very welcoming. I’m liking it.”
Fils’ countryman Luca Van Assche practised for the primary time in Jeddah on Saturday earlier than visiting town.
“It is an unimaginable expertise for us,” Van Assche stated. “I’ve by no means been right here so it’s a new nation for me and civilisation and I’m joyful to be right here to see among the metropolis. It may be very stunning.”
Two Italians, Luca Nardi and Flavio Cobolli, will make their debuts on the 21-and-under occasion. Both had enjoyable sightseeing and enjoying rooftop tennis on the customer centre.
“It may be very good right here,” Nardi stated. “We are having an excellent day visiting town. I prefer it and the persons are very good. My first time enjoying tennis on a roof. It was very good and seeing children come. It was a pleasant environment.”
“It was a terrific day and I’m very joyful to be right here with the Next Gen class,” Cobolli stated.
Green Group consists of Fils, Stricker, Cobolli and Nardi. Red Group consists of Van Assche, Michelsen, Medjedovic and Shelbayh.
Seven of the eight rivals are event debutants, excluding 2022 semi-finalist Stricker.
“It was a great tour,” Stricker stated. “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.”
Hamad Medjedovic was absent as he was a member of the Serbia group on the Davis Cup Finals.