The second edition of the NextGen Masters in Milan starts on Tuesday and it gathers seven Top 100 player and the winner of the Italian wild card Challenge who completes the field of eight players who will fight for the title that was won by Hyeon Chung in 2017.
Four players born in 1997 will have the last chance to claim the NextGen Masters but they will all give their best to go all the way and win an ATP title, although there are no points to win this week. Alexander Zverev and Denis Shapovalov have decided to skip Milan but the draw is very strong even without them, with Stefanos Tsitsipa and Alex de Minaur who lead groups A and B.
Stefanos is currently ranked 15th in the world after claiming 41 wins and conquering the first ATP title in Stockholm a few weeks ago. Another player born in 1998 who claimed the maiden ATP title in 2018, Frances Tiafoe, should be Stefanos' main rival in the group but we should not forget a tall Pole Hubert Hurkacz who is a very solid indoor player and who made the Milan berth after the withdrawal from Shapovalov.
Hubert won an indoor Challenger title in Brest to secure the place in Milan and he will try to extend that run against the higher-ranked rivals. Jaume Munar has earned the majority of his points on clay but he improved his game on hard courts a lot this season, looking to claim some big scalps and reach the semis in his first and last NextGen Masters.
Alex de Minaur and Denis Shapovalov have been the leaders of the 1999 generation this season and the young Aussie played some impressive tennis to stand just outside the Top 30, losing finals in Sydney and Washington and seeking the title run here in Milan after taking some rest to prepare for the last event of the season.
Taylor Fritz failed to qualify for the NextGen Masters in 2017 and he will have one last chance to win this event after scoring 22 wins so far in 2018 and reaching the quarter-final of the strong ATP 500 event in Basel.
Another player born in 1997 who plays this event for the last time is the last year's runner-up Andrey Rublev who could only score 17 wins so far in 2018 after missing three months of action due to a back injury. The Russian couldn't find the right form after that but he will try to shine in Milan again, playing some rock solid tennis at this event 12 months ago before losing in the title match against Hyeon Chung.
Liam Caruana, the Italian who lives in Texas, is by far the lowest-ranked player in the draw and the only who is not in the Top 100. Liam won the Italian wild card tournament to secure his place in Milan and this will be a great opportunity for him to check his current abilities against some of the best coevals in the world.
NextGen Masters in Milan draw: