The Newport player field is loaded up with some of the most exciting young talents on the pro tour. Four players in the field have been identified as being among the ATP World Tour’s “Next Generation” of champions, meaning they are under 21 years of age and have already broken through into the world top-200.
“These players are the real deal. Now is the time to start to follow these names, because no doubt in a few short years, these are the players who will start grabbing trophies and making moves at the majors. The next generation players are of course from all over the world, but, there’s a very strong contingent of Americans coming up the ranks, and we are excited to welcome several of the young Americans to Newport in July.”
After finishing the 2015 season as the world's No. 1 junior and being named the ITF Junior World Champion, 19-year-old Taylor Fritz has quickly ascended the Emirates ATP Rankings over the past two years. Earlier this year, Fritz earned his first victory over a top-10 player when he defeated world No. 7 Marin Cilic to reach the third round of Indian Wells. Last season, he became the youngest ATP finalist (since Kei Nishikori in 2008) and the youngest American to reach an ATP final (since Michael Chang in 1989) when he reached the Memphis Open final.
Tournament wild cards have been awarded to #NextGen rising stars Michael Mmoh and Reilly Opelka. Mmoh, 19, is the reigning USTA Junior National Champion. Last year, he won USTA Boys’ 18's National Championship to earn the 2016 US Open wild card. He also earned a spot in the Australian Open, having won the USTA Pro Circuit Australian Open Wild Card Challenge. Mmoh has made headway on the Challenger circuit in 2017, reaching a quarterfinal in Maui and a semifinal in San Francisco. Last year, he won his first Challenger title in Knoxville.
America's #NextGen power-server, Reilly Opelka, stands at 6'11"—tied with 2016 Newport Champion Ivo Karlovic as the tallest player on the ATP World Tour. Opelka made his Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open this year, falling to world No. 11 David Goffin in a five-set thriller. Last year, Opelka established his best result at an ATP Tour level event when he reached the semifinals in Atlanta.
Stefan Kozlov, current world No. 149, will return to Newport this summer. The 19-year-old American made his pro debut at the Newport tournament at age 15 in 2013, when he was granted a wild card. Since that time, Kozlov has had success on the Challenger Tour, winning a title in Columbus late last year. All of his Tour level match wins to date have come on grass courts, including a victory last week in the first round of the Ricoh Open when he defeated world No. 90 Dustin Brown.