'Sexist' Next Gen Finals draw ceremony takes tennis 'back to zero'

    This is the first year the Next Gen ATP FInals is being held.

    Story highlights

    • Next Gen ATP Finals held in Milan
    • Involves world's top under-21 singles players
    • Tournament runs from 7 to 11 November

    (CNN)It is a ceremony which has been branded "awful" and "sexist" and criticized for taking tennis "back to zero."

    Much to the dismay of many on social media, some of the sport's leading young players taking part in this week's Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan were on Sunday forced to choose a female model, who had the letter 'A' or 'B' hidden on her body, to determine the round-robin group they would play in at the tournament.
      The players were then escorted down a catwalk, arm-in-arm with the model, who would reveal the letter -- which corresponded to the round-robin group -- to the audience and cameras.
      French tennis player Alize Cornet tweeted: "Good job ATP World Tour. Supposed to be a futurist event right? #backtozero."
      Also on Twitter, tennis coach Judy Murray, who is the mum of former world No.1 Andy Murray, described the ceremony as "awful."
      Russia's Daniil Medvedev walks down the catwalk at the Next Gen Finals draw ceremony.
      Writing for sport360.com, journalist Reem Abulleil, who was at the draw ceremony, wrote: "There was inappropriate dancing, gloves that were removed by a player's teeth, and many more cringe-worthy moments but I'll spare you the details.
      "Most of the players looked visibly awkward, while some laughed their way through it. I personally felt deeply sad watching it all unfold."
      The ceremony was sponsored by Red Bull and, in a joint statement, the drinks company and the ATP apologized for the offense which had been caused.
      "The intention was to integrate Milan's rich heritage as one of the fashion capitals of the world," read the statem