MILAN, October 20, 2018 (Press Release)
Time is ticking away for the ATP’s top 21-and-under players to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals, with less than two weeks remaining in the ATP Race to Milan. This year, renowned Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer is making a timely and welcome step forward in tennis by partnering with the Italian Tennis Federation (FIT) to become the Official Watch and Timekeeper of the innovative season-ending event that showcases the future stars of the ATP World Tour.
TAG Heuer will join the Next Gen ATP Finals, beginning with this year’s event which will be held at the Fiera Milano from November 6-10. The new partnership was revealed at a press conference in Milan on Friday, attended by FIT President Angelo Binaghi, ATP Executive Chairman & President Chris Kermode, and Dominic Wolz, TAG Heuer Sponsoring Director, and several local dignitaries.
As part of the new agreement, TAG Heuer, known for its major technical, aesthetic and commercial revolutions throughout their almost 160 years of experience, will integrate Hawkeye Live Technology to a TAG Heuer Connected watch that will be provided to all umpires officiating during the tournament. TAG Heuer will also provide the on-court clock and the Shot Clock.
TAG Heuer’s involvement with the 25-second Shot Clock is a natural fit for a company that partners with the most intense and most thrilling sporting events across the globe to clock champions as they push their limits, achieve the impossible and never crack under pressure.
Angelo Binaghi, President of the Italian Tennis Federation, said: “The Next Gen ATP Finals are delighted to have TAG Heuer join our exciting and innovative event which showcases the stars of the future. Although only in its second year, this tournament has already garnered world-wide interest because of its ground-breaking approach to developments in the presentation of the sport.
“The Italian Tennis Federation is ready to set up a new edition of these Finals, with ATP and Coni Servizi, and the support of Fondazione Fiera Milano, Ente Fiera, Regione Lombardia and Milan municipality. We expect this event to be not only very exciting, but also capable of responding fully to the needs of producing a great stage for tomorrow’s world tennis dominators. We also trust that our Next Gen ATP Finals will confirm Milan as a strategic city for our national and international tennis movement.”
Jean-Claude Biver, CEO, TAG Heuer, said: “We are very happy to partner today with such an innovative, disruptive and young event like the Next Gen ATP Finals. We share the same values and we strongly believe in the future of those young talents full of promise, such as our Friend of the Brand Denis Shapovalov. Our role as Official Timekeeper proves our expertise as avant-garde timekeeper of some of the most important sport events in the world”
Several of the world’s most exciting prospects have already sealed their spot in the elite season-ending event. Canadian Shapovalov, who once again features among the leading positions in the ATP Race to Milan, is a TAG Heuer Friend of the Brand, joining a long stellar list of legendary sport ambassadors. The fast rising Canadian said: “Congratulations to TAG Heuer for becoming the official timekeeper of the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. Last year I qualified for the Next Gen ATP Finals and it was a memorable experience for me. As TAG Heuer’s Brand Ambassador, I am stoked that TAG chose to support the Next Gen Finals which is a great showcase for the younger generation of ATP players to show the world their talent and skills.”
In addition to TAG Heuer’s involvement with the on-court clock, the 25-second Shot Clock and Hawkeye Live technology link to a TAG Heuer Connected Watch used by umpires, the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals will continue numerous other innovations successfully trialed at the inaugural event last year.
These will include the best-of-five set format, shorter sets to 4 (tiebreak at 3-All), No-Lets and In-Match player coaching via head-sets. The player warm-up will be reduced by a further minute (from 5 minutes to 4) from the second player walk-on, and players will be instructed to use a towel rack at the back of the court to remove the onus on ball kids to handle towels. Free crowd movement in the stadium and a limit of 1 medical time out per match will also remain.