The 2022 season reaches its crescendo this week for eight of the ATP Tour’s brightest 21-and-under talents, who head to the Allianz Cloud in Milan to compete in the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals.

Lorenzo Musetti, Jack Draper and Brandon Nakashima headline the field in Italy from 8-12 November at an event renowned for its unique format and pioneering innovations.

As the action kicks off with a round-robin stage consisting of two group of four, ATPTour.com looks ahead at five things to watch from the 2022 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals.

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FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN MILAN

1) Innovation Station: As it has done since the inaugural edition five years ago, the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals will once again introduce new innovations and rules for 2022. While the pioneering match format of best-of-five first-to-four-games sets remains, many of this year’s changes are designed to enhance the flow of the game.

They include a quicker shot clock, with the time in-between points shortened to 15 seconds (from the standard 25 seconds) if the server hits an ace, a double fault or if the returner misses the return through forced or unforced error. Other rule additions include a reduction to just one sit-down per set and three-minute warm-ups, while the TennisViz system, in partnership with Tennis Data Innovations, will provide match analysis information directly to coaches for them to use during a match.

2) Musetti Leads Italian Trio: For the first time in event history, three Italians will compete on home soil at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals. Second seed Lorenzo Musetti spearheads the home charge in Milan, where the Hamburg and Naples champion will be competing for the second consecutive year.

Francesco Passaro and Matteo Arnaldi join the 20-year-old Musetti in attempting to become the second Italian champion in Milan after Jannik Sinner in 2019. Musetti competes in Red Group, while 21-year-olds Passaro and Arnaldi line up in Green Group.

3) Draper Seeks Big Showing: Third seed Jack Draper joins Musetti in a heavyweight Red Group. The 20-year-old Briton started the year at No. 265 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, but he has surged to a career-high No. 41 after a breakout season in which he has notched a 17-12 tour-level record and lifted four ATP Challenger Tour titles.

Draper will be the first Briton to compete in Milan in event history and he opens his campaign on Tuesday by going head-to-head with a fellow big-hitting lefty, Switzerland’s Dominic Stricker.

4) 2021 Semi-Finalist Nakashima Headlines Green Group: Like Musetti, Brandon Nakashima will be appearing in Milan for the second year in a row. The American was impressive on tournament debut in 2021, defeating Juan Manuel Cerundolo and Holger Rune en route to the semi-finals.

Nakashima has continued his progress in the 2022 season, highlighted by lifting his maiden ATP Tour title in his hometown of San Diego in September. Passaro and Arnaldi will look to channel home support to hamper the fourth-seeded American’s chances of progressing from Green Group, however, as will Czech Jiri Lehecka. The 20-year-old Rotterdam semi-finalist reached a career-high World No. 59 in August.

5) Can Tseng Make His Mark?: Joining Musetti, Draper and Stricker in Red Group is Chun-Tsin Tseng. The 21-year-old from Chinese Taipei, junior champion at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2018, won two Challenger Tour titles this season and will be feeling confident as he seeks an opening upset against Musetti on Tuesday. Tseng is the first Asian player to compete in the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals since South Korean Hyeon Chung lifted the trophy in 2017.

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