Next Gen ATP Finals organisers under fire after bizarre draw ceremony

Organisers have faced criticism after female models and a catwalk were used to draw the groups for the Next Gen ATP Finals.

Denis Shapovalov at the Next Gen ATP Finals draw   -  Getty Images

The draw for the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals prompted criticism and accusations of sexism after female models were used to determine which groups the players would compete in.

The first edition of the competition, co-organised by the Italian Olympic Committee and the Italian Tennis Federation, is set to be held in Italy this week, and involves promising players aged 21 or under.

READ: A guide to the new innovations at the Next Gen ATP Finals

Intended to showcase the best of the tour's emerging stars, the event features a slogan proclaiming "The Future is Now".

A glimpse of the future

However, in what many observers considered to be a regressive decision, players were required to pair up on a catwalk with female models, some of whom then suggestively revealed a card displaying the group the player would be drawn into.

ALSO READ: ATP apologises for 'unacceptable' draw ceremony

Judy Murray, the mother of British Davis Cup stars Andy and Jamie Murray and former captain of Britain's Fed Cup team, described footage of the bizarre ceremony as "awful", while Amelie Mauresmo branded it a "disgrace".

The Finals feature Karen Khachanov and Denis Shapovalov among a clutch of eight promising youngsters, some of whom appeared embarrassed and uncomfortable during the unusual draw.

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