In what had been another premium season for the well-established stars, the young guns had found their place under the ATP sun, with many players embracing a breakthrough run towards the top-100 and the first serious steps on the ATP Tour.
Jannik Sinner, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Miomir Kecmanovic, Corentin Moutet, Alexei Popyrin, Casper Ruud and Mikael Ymer have all established themselves as the ones to watch in the upcoming years, finishing in the elite group and making a perfect foundation for even stronger progress in 2020.
The mentioned players were also in contention for the ATP Newcomer of the Year award, with Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jannik Sinner as the main candidates to take the honor. In the end, it went to an 18-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner who enjoyed stellar progress in 2019, securing another recognition in an already packed year that represented him to the tennis world.
Between 2000-18, only four U18 players had managed to finish the season inside the top-80 on the ATP ranking list. Rafael Nadal did that twice in 2003 and 2004 before Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic joined him on the list in their last U18 season in 2005, with no updates in the next 12 years!
In 2017, Denis Shapovalov entered the exclusive chart following the semi-final at home Canada Masters, the fourth round at the US Open and two Challenger titles, looking good to stay the last player with that achievement for many years.
Instead of that, Jannik completed a long journey from outside the top-550 towards the place in the top-80 after an incredible run between February and November to add his name on the table and join notable and established players.
Born in a village in the Dolomites, Jannik was a promising skier before switching choosing tennis as his main sport, making a professional debut in 2018 and reaching the first Futures final. After a slow start of 2019 in Tunisia, a tall youngster who works with Riccardo Piatti and Andrea Volpini advanced into the semi-final of the Aktobe Futures before heading home to Bergamo, shifting into a higher gear and claiming the first Challenger crown on the fast indoor court, dropping only 14 games in the last three encounters!
It was the first Challenger crown for 2001 generation and Jannik didn't stop there, conquering the trophy at Trento Futures in the following week to wrap up the perfect fortnight. After a much-needed rest, Sinner went to Santa Margherita Di Pula and claimed another Futures title, this time on clay, rattling off 16 straight victories before scoring the first ATP win in Budapest at the end of April as a qualifier.
Right after that, Jannik was the finalist of the strong Challenger in Ostrava, securing further progress through the ranking ahead of home Masters 1000 event in Rome where he became the first player of his generation with a win at that level, ousting Steve Johnson in a tight third set for another milestone.
Jannik earned a place in the main draw in Lyon and s-Hertogenbosch, gathering more experience on the ATP Tour ahead of North American hard-court swing that saw him winning Lexington Challenger and qualifying for the main draw at the US Open, losing to Stan Wawrinka in four sets.
The semi-finalist in Mouilleron le Captif Challenger and the ATP 250 event in Antwerp, the Italian cracked the top-100 for the first time after one victory at the ATP 500 event in Vienna, earning another achievement for his generation and gathering momentum ahead of the Next Gen Finals in Milan.
Jannik was the player to beat in front of the home fans, dominating the field despite being the youngest competitor and defeating Alex de Minaur in the title match to confirm the status of the upcoming star. A week later, Sinner wrapped up the season in Ortisei, delivering another high-quality performance on an indoor court to celebrate the third Challenger title of the season (the youngest player to achieve that since Richard Gasquet) and close the year in the top-80, hoping for more of the same in 2020.