What's at Stake: A slow week could mean big things for the NextGen

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email

Alexander Zverev has a chance to make a statement on clay in Munich. (AP)

This would seem, at first glance, to be a down week in the clay season. And it’s true, most of the top players are getting prepared for the dual-gender, Masters-Mandatory blockbuster that starts Saturday in Madrid. But don’t tell that to the men and women at the five other tour-level tournaments happening this week. Here’s a look at what’s ahead for them.


BMW Open by FWU (ATP)

Munich, Germany
$800,000; 250 ranking points
Red clay

Draw is here

Yesterday I wrote that there will never be a NextGen on clay until Rafael Nadal retires. But here’s a chance for two of the tour’s younger guns, top seed Alexander Zverev and fourth seed Hyeon Chung, to take a crack at a clay title without Rafa around. Zverev is No. 3 in the world, and he played well in Miami and Monte Carlo, but he’s still looking for his first title of 2018.

Also here: No. 2 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 3 Diego Schwartzman and No. 7 Gael Monfils, who will make his 2018 clay debut.


Millennium Estoril Open (ATP)

Estoril, Portugal
$800,000; 250 ranking points
Red clay

Draw is here

Welcome to the grind, Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 19-year-old will celebrate his run to the final in Barcelona with a tough opening match in Estoril against Pablo Andujar. The Greek is rising up the rankings, but he isn’t high enough yet to earn a bye at this 28-player event. Judging by his form in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, though, it won’t take him long to get there.

Also here: No. 1 seed Kevin Anderson, No. 2 Pablo Carreño Busta and No. 3 Kyle Edmund, all of whom have reached the semis or better at a major within the past year.

All-American first round: Frances Tiafoe vs. Tennys Sandgren

WATCH—TC Live discusses Carreno Busta's altercation with Dimitrov in Barcelona:


J & T Banka Prague Open (WTA)

Prague, Czech Republic
$250,000; International
Red clay

Draw is here

Even before her final at the Porsche Grand Prix on Sunday, Karolina Pliskova was looking ahead with dread to her first round in Prague. That’s because she was facing her sister, Kristyna. So it came as little surprise today to learn that Karolina, the top seed, had pulled out after winning in Stuttgart. It takes time to learn to drive a new car, after all.

Kristyna’s gain is the tournament’s loss, but for an International-level event, officials have still assembled a quality draw. Petra Kvitova, Daria Kasatkina, Daria Gavrilova, Sam Stosur and Barbora Strycova all remain.


Grand Prix de Sar La Princesse Lalla Meryem (WTA)

Rabat, Morocco
$250,000; International
Red clay

Draw is here

Which WTA player had the best month of April? How about Elise Mertens? The 22-year-old Belgian has won seven straight matches—a title and two Fed Cup victories—and has raised her ranking into the Top 20. Now she’ll head to the red clay in Morocco as the top seed.

WATCH—Elise Mertens' TenniStory: 


TEB BNP Paribas Open (ATP)

Istanbul, Turkey
$680,000; 250 ranking points
Red clay

Draw is here

Marin Cilic is the top seed at the week’s smallest men’s event, in Istanbul. He’s No. 4 in the world and 15-6 on the year, but he hasn’t been past the round of 16 at any tournament since he made his run to the Australian Open final. Istanbul would seem to offer a prime chance for Cilic to regain his early-season confidence.

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email

More Stories

French Open Memories, #9: Andre Agassi d. Andrei Medvedev, 1999 final

Agassi’s 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win was an end and a beginning for the tennis legend. 

French Open Memories, #10: Yannick Noah d. Mats Wilander, 1983 final

The Frenchman won 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 (3) in what was truly an emotional rollercoaster. 

Should Serena be seeded at the French Open? Her rivals think so

Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep spoke on the new mother's behalf.