While Alexander Zverev is gearing up for the ATP Finals in London, the majority of his contempories are fighting it out at the Next Gen Finals in Milan.
The German is the leading light of his generation and has firmly established himself among the worlds elite, and chose to skip the experimental event for the rising stars of tomorrow last year in favour of taking on the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
One of the potential new additions to the wider tour that is on trial in Milan is the hotly-debated towel rack.
Fernando Verdasco led the band of tennis stars – which also includes young up-and-comers Aryna Sabalenka and Stefanos Tsitsipas – who have been criticised for the manner in which they interact with ball kids when being handed the towel.
The backlash from Verdascos particularly unsavoury outburst saw ATP chiefs introduce a towel rack in Milan, with ball kids no longer required to fetch towels for the players.
While many are in favour of the rack, Tsitsipas was a vocal opponent to its introduction to the ATP Tour as a whole.
One thing I didnt like that much was the towel thing, the 20-year-old Greek said. I always had to run for the towel, always had it in my mind.
When you play in high level, you have the ball kids give you the towels, so its a bit unusual to not have that.
I think having the towels whenever you need it, its very helpful. Its one thing less to think about. So to be playing your best game you dont need to think about whether youre going to take your towel now or later.
You can just call the ball kid. I think the ball kid, its their job to provide towels and balls for the players.
Though Zverev didnt compete in Milan, he hasnt shied away from voicing his opinion on the towel rack and he aimed a dig at Tsitsipas comments.
Im actually the wrong person to ask because I never take my towel ever really, especially in indoor events, he said at the O2 in London.
Ive taken the towel maybe twice this year – once was in Washington when it was like 120 degrees and was like 50% humidity so then I took the towel.
You guys should ask Next Gen guys who actually use the towel. Frances Tiafoe takes it basically every point. Tsitsipas takes it after an ace or double fault as well.
I heard Tsitsipas say its the ball boys job but its the ball boys job to give you balls – thats what I see the ball boys as.
I think you should also prevent players from taking the towel after every single serve and every mishit return – sometimes it does get a little bit ridiculous in my eyes.
So maybe it will prevent it from that and people will only use it for when theyre really sweating a lot. Sometimes its more a superstition than an actual use of the towel.