Tennis: Frenchman Arthur Fils loses in the final of the Masters Next Gen, epilogue to a successful season

Beaten in the final, Saturday December 2, by Serbian Hamad Medjedovic (3-4, 4-1, 4-2, 3-4, 4-1), Arthur Fils will not become the first Frenchman to win the Next Gen Masters

Tennis: Frenchman Arthur Fils loses in the final of the Masters Next Gen, epilogue to a successful season

Beaten in the final, Saturday December 2, by Serbian Hamad Medjedovic (3-4, 4-1, 4-2, 3-4, 4-1), Arthur Fils will not become the first Frenchman to win the Next Gen Masters. Organized for the first time in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, this tournament created in 2017 brings together the best young people under the age of 22 and serves as a laboratory for the tennis of tomorrow for the ATP – which governs the men's circuit – which benefits from it to test new rules.

Despite a good start, the young Tricolore was dominated for almost the entire 2 hours 11 minutes of the game by his Serbian opponent. Although he erased two match points in the fourth set, the fiery Arthur Fils lost his nerve in the decisive set. He thus received a penalty point for throwing his racket in anger twice, then blaming – wrongly – the referee for not having announced his first warning. Above all, he did not resist the powerful serves of the 110th player in the world who, like a symbol, folded the match on his 19th ace (winning service).

The 19-year-old right-handed Frenchman can still be pleased with his week on the Arabian Peninsula. The 36th player in the world came out on top of his group in the first round, successively beating the Italians Luca Nardi (2-4, 4-3, 4-2, 1-4, 4-2) and Flavio Cobolli (4-1, 4-2, 4-2) then the Swiss Dominic Stricker (4-2, 3-4, 4-2, 4-3). In the semi-final, Fils had dismissed his friend and compatriot Lucas van Assche (2-4, 4-1, 4-3, 4-3) to become the first Habs qualified in the final of the Masters Next Gen, the 6th edition of which deplored the absences of the tenors Carlos Alcaraz, Holger Rune, Ben Shelton and Lorenzo Musetti, eligible due to their age, but many of whom are already more concerned by the “real” Masters, reserved for the best players of the season.

Future training partner of Nadal

Despite his defeat, Arthur Fils concluded a very good season which inducted him into the big leagues. Ranked 251st in the world at the start of the year, the native of Bondoufle (Essonne) has continued to climb to reach 36th place in the ATP, his best career ranking. Enough to make him the French number three behind Hugo Humbert (20th) and Adrian Mannarino (22nd), currently in Russia for an exhibition.

Above all, the new student of Sébastien Grosjean and Sergi Bruguera won the first title of his career at the ATP 250 in Lyon in May. Five months later, he lost in the final in Antwerp (ATP 250) against Kazakh Alexander Bublik (6-4, 6-4).

Next season will be important for Arthur Fils to confirm his progress. The objective will be, initially, to try to get among the top seeds of the Australian Open, from January 14 to 28. Before that, the Habs will have a very special preparation since they will share a week of training with the returning Rafael Nadal, in Kuwait, from December 8. “He very kindly invited me,” said the Ile-de-France resident at a press conference on Friday. I'm going to give it my all and try not to fly away too much on his forehands! I'm going to make the most of it. » A way of recognizing, also, the new status of Arthur Fils.