9 Jan 2020

ASB Classic lands sought after signing

by Rhonda Karl
ASB Classic lands sought after signing

One of the most sought-after signings has been confirmed for next week’s ASB Classic Men’s field, with the winner of the ATP Next Gen Finals, Jannik Sinner confirmed to play.  More excitingly, he will be joined by fellow Next Gen Finals player Alejandro Davidovic Fokina and the current Junior World Number one Hoger Rune. 

Italian Sinner is widely considered the best prospect on the ATP Tour.  In addition to winning the Next Gen Finals in November, the 18-year-old, who is the youngest player inside the World’s top 100, has had an incredible year, racking up wins against Gael Monfils, Alex de Minaur, fellow youngster Frances Tiafoe and two former ASB Classic Champions (Kohlschreiber and Vesely).  He started the year ranked 553 and has risen an incredible 475 placings to reach a career best ranking of 78 in November, becoming the youngest player ranked inside the top 80 since Rafael Nadal (No. 43) in 2003.

The kid from San Candido captured four ATP Challenger titles this season, and Sinner became the youngest ATP tour semi-finalist in five years with his run at the European Open in Antwerp.  

His remarkable year saw Sinner named ATP Newcomer of the Year.

“2019 was a great year for me, with some big wins and to end the year winning the Next Gen Final’s has given me a lot of confidence coming in to the 2020 season. 

ASB Classic Tournament Director Karl Budge is extremely happy to secure Sinner for this year’s event.

“This is a huge get for us.  We have been working on this one for four months so when we got confirmation on Tuesday we were over the moon.  This is the best prospect on the ATP Tour right now.  He is the youngest player inside the top 100.  I have not heard this much excitement around a player on the Men’s draw for some time.  It is similar to how people are talking about Coco in our Women’s draw.  He will be a top five player for many years to come”. 

And Sinner too is looking forward to coming to the ASB Classic.  “All of the players talk about how great Auckland is so for me it was somewhere I was keen to try” said Sinner.

Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, ranked 82 in the world, will also receive a wildcard into the main draw. The 20-year-old former Wimbledon Junior Champion swiftly made his way into the top 100 rankings in 2019 reaching the semi-finals of his first ATP Tour event in Estoril beating Monfils, Chardy and Fritz. Like Sinner he took part in the Next Gen ATP finals holding his own against the best young players on the globe.

Junior World Number One Holger Rune has been awarded a wildcard into the singles qualifying draw. The 16-year-old Dane was a standout on the junior circuit in 2019 winning the Roland Garros junior title and the ITF Junior Finals in Chengdu to claim the number one ranking.  Rune has been serving at over 200kph since the age of 14 and comes highly rated by those all around the world, including his compatriot Caroline Wozniacki. 

“I had been looking at Holger for a while and was really keen to get him here.  I had a chat to Caroline who raved about him so gave me the confidence it was a great move.  He is pretty special and looking forward to seeing him play”, said Karl Budge

The trio of Next Gen players are joined in Auckland by fellow Next Gen stars American Frances Tiafoe, Norwegian Casper Ruud, Frenchman Ugo Humbert and Swede Mikael Ymer, making this one of the strongest fields ever assembled in terms of next-generation talent. And if history is to teach us anything, any one of these players could trouble the seeds and go the distance.