Wednesday, November 22, 2017 09:36:38 AM
AFP, Milan :
The Next Gen ATP finals delivered all the promised drama even before a ball was hit Monday with organisers issuing grovelling apologises after a draw ceremony blasted as "sexist".
The inaugural under-21 version of the ATP World Tour Finals starts Tuesday in Milan, bringing together emerging stars tipped to rival Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
But a social media storm was whipped up after Sunday's draw ceremony when the players had to choose female models who had the letter 'A' or 'B' hidden on their bodies, to determine the round-robin group in which they would play.
South Korean player Hyeon Chung looked visibly embarrassed as he was asked to pull off a female model's glove with his teeth during an evening designed as a tribute to Milan's famous links with the fashion industry.
ATP executive president Chris Kermode apologised Monday describing the ceremony as "unacceptable, personally disrespectful and (that it) won't happen again".
"It's unfair and unreasonable we put these guys out there. It wasn't their choice, it's in no way to do with any of the players here tonight," he stepped in to add when the eight players were questioned.
"Disgrace", wrote former women's number one Amelie Mauresmo on her Twitter account, while fellow French player Alize Cornet wrote: "Good job @ATPWorldTour Supposed to be a futurist event right? #backtozero", as Judy Murray, mother of former men's number one Andy Murray, tweeted "awful".
Kermode said that he hoped that the focus would be on the planned innovations which would be tested during the five-day tournament including shorter sets, no-ad scoring, a no-let rule and electronic line calls to increase the pace of play.
"I've receive a huge amount of mixed response. We're not trying to 'mess with the game of tennis' but to try things that in five to 10 years we might eventually integrate into the sport.
"We want while the sport is in the best place it has ever been to try to look towards innovating for the future.
"These guys are the future and they're going to be here for a long time."
The tournament gets underway without any big name player with Germany's Alexander Zverev, at 20 already too strong for the group, playing an exhibition match in Milan on Tuesday before flying to London for the ATP World Tour Finals.
The highest-ranked player in Milan will be Russian Andrey Rublev, ranked 37th, and a winner this year on clay at Umag.
Rublev said he was honoured to be considered among the heirs to Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray.
"These top four guys are something unreal, they are legends, I grew up with them and they are still top. To get close to them you have to put in a lot of work, only time will show."
The 20-year-old Rublev is one of three Russians in the field including 45th-ranked Karen Khachanov, and 65th-ranked Daniil Medvedev.
Khachanov sees a bright future for Russian men who have not held a Grand Slam since Marat Safin won the 2005 Australian Open.
"A lot of players from Russia are here. It's just a new generation, young guys playing together, getting connected," said Khachanov.
Canadian Denis Shapovalov (ranked 51), American Jared Donaldson (55), Croat Borna Coric (48), South Korea's Chung (54) and Italian qualifier Gianluigi Quinzi (306) complete the line-up.
"The US has a rich tradition in tennis greats, there's been a lot of talk of a drought of a Grand Slam winner, just that the game has become more international, looking at this group so many continents are touched," said Donaldson.
"This tournament is about innovation, trying new things. It's definitely a cool, unique thing."
For Shapovalov the most difficult change is getting used to the 'no-let rule'. "For me that would be pretty challenging," said the Canadian.
Chung added: "I'm so happy to be part of these great players here. I'm trying to play my best this week."
The top two from each group will progress to the semi-finals, with the final next Saturday determining the best young player in the world and the winner earning $1.2 million (1.03 million euros).
THE High Court ordered hospitals and clinics not to hold body of a deceased if his or her family fails to immediately pay the medical bill to release the body. It has also asked the Health Secretary and the Director General of the Directorate of Health Services to issue a ...
Reuters, Moscow :Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to talk about the need to move from military operations to the search for a political solution to Syria's conflict, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.Russia is actively trying to build an international consensus around a peace deal for Syria, ...
AFP, New Delhi :Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova is under investigation in India for cheating and criminal conspiracy after the collapse of a luxury housing project that she endorsed, police and a lawyer said Tuesday.The firm behind the development is alleged to have taken millions of dollars from homebuyers ...
Janhvi Kapoor who is all set mark her Bollywood debut with Karan Johar’s Dhadak opposite Ishaan Khatter makes a dazzling entry at 48th IFFI 2017 in Goa. Janhvi was accompanied by her mother Sridevi and father Boney Kapoor. Janhvi looked elegant wearing Anamika Khanna lehenga choli. It is probably Janhvi’s ...
President M Abdul Hamid on Tuesday asked the members of Armed Forces to uphold their image at national and international levels by ensuing utmost professionalism. "Uphold the image of the armed forces . . . Help continue the country's ongoing development trend in the days to come," President's Press Secretary ...
MEDIA reports said an increasing number of poultry feed mills using dangerously toxic tannery wastes laced with poisonous chemicals as raw materials remain the biggest threat to public health. They are moreover flouting is a ban of the High Court for producing and marketing the toxic feed for animals which ...
Reuters, Moscow :Poised to run for a fourth term, President Vladimir Putin has started clearing out the old Russian political elite and says he's bringing in young people with "fire in their eyes."But a Reuters analysis shows that he has made limited progress so far.In the run up to March ...
After a wait of 17 long years, Indian model Manushi Chhillar has won the Miss World crown. Since yesterday’s announcement, many Bollywood celebs and public figures have congratulated her on winning the prestigious event. Here are some endearing messages from Bollywood celebs: The Megastar of Bollywood Amitabh Bachchan congratulated Manushi ...
Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Most of her colleagues always appreciate the acting of Runa Khan. There is no other alternative or choice of her in TV plays. So she has acceptability among the directors. Viewers also like her acting. Runa will entertain the viewers by virtue of her acting skill with ...
THE state-owned power plants can't generate electricity to a minimum of their stated capacity as they lack improved technology, besides management failure to achieve the highest output as per a report in The New Nation on Sunday. The report quoting Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) said its power plants can ...
AP, Paris :Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri said he will return home in the coming days from where he will declare a political stance for the first time since making a strange resignation announcement from Saudi Arabia that unleashed fears of a crisis in Lebanon.Hariri and his family met Saturday ...