Tennis: ATP World Tour Finals Preview

ATP World Tour Championships

The best eight players of the season hit London this week for the ATP World Tour Finals.

Only Rafael Nadal is missing from the field due to injury.

Unlike all other ATP tournaments, the event is a round robin with players split into two groups of four.

The top two from each group will proceed to the semi-final stage where it reverts back to the traditional knockout format.

After a long season, one of the keys at this time of year is fitness. Who is powering towards the finish line and who is counting down for the off-season to start?

 

The contenders

 

Novak Djokovic
Win/Loss for the year: 70-11
Tournaments Won: 5
Ranking: 2

Since dropping a heart breaking US Open final to Andy Murray, the Serb has barely put a foot wrong. He dominated the Asian leg of the tour, winning back-to-back tournaments in Beijing and Shanghai losing just two sets.

A shock loss to Sam Querrey in Paris last week may actually have been a blessing in disguise, with Djokovic having bigger things to worry about.

He goes into London good enough, hungry enough and fit enough to take out the title. The only knock is in five appearances in the World Tour Finals he has only made it past the round robin stage twice.
However, in those years he had played a lot more post US Open tournaments.

Andy Murray
Win/Loss for the year: 53-13
Tournaments Won: 3
Ranking: 3

 

It’s been the year of ticking things off the to do list for Murray.

 

He’s got a gold medal and a grand slam trophy but could there be another big win on home soil coming up?

Like Djokovic, Murray enters the WTF with three tournaments under his belt since Flushing Meadows but with fewer match wins.

He is fresh enough to go all the way and has the runs on the board against the best players in the world.

This year the Scot has established himself as a big tournament performer with a Wimbledon final and an Australian Open semi-final also on his resume.
His previous form at the WTF is not great (7-5 from four appearances) but this is a new Murray.

Roger Federer
Win/Loss for the year: 68-10
Tournaments Won: 6
Ranking: 1

How many times have people suggested the great Swiss may be past it and how many times has he come back and proved them wrong?

However, the numbers don’t lie and since his Wimbledon win, he has defeated just two players in the top 10.

In his last three tournaments he has gone down to Tomas Berdych, Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro, who will all feature this week.

He enters the WTF in the worst form of the big three but as always he has the ability to raise his level in an instant. He is also a six-time winner of the event including the last two. That motivation to defends his points will be a factor this week.

Juan Martin Del Potro
Win/Loss for the year: 62-14
Tournaments Won: 4
Ranking: 8

Of those outside the top three, the big Argentine enters the WTF in the best form.

After a quarterfinal showing at the US Open, he has won back-to-back tournaments in Vienna and Basel, which included a huge win over Federer on the Swiss’ home court.

In fact he is finally returning to the sort of form that saw him claim a grand slam title.

He is serving big, cracking forehands, moving well and is most importantly healthy.

Last time he played the event in 2009 he made the final and enters this year in equally good form.
The Underdogs

The rest of the field is made up of David Ferrer, Jo Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych while Janko Tipsarevic looms as the likely replacement for Nadal.

For any of these guys to win it is going to need to take a super human effort for what would be the biggest win of their respective careers.

Ferrer and Berdych have the added stress of a Davis Cup final on the horizon and could be concerned with their preparation for that, especially as both would be feeling confident of their chances of winning.

Tsonga is coming off a reasonably disappointing year in the big events on the tour, failing to make it past the quarterfinals of any slams or Masters 1000 events.

He is also playing his home event in Paris the week prior, a tournament where he has an outstanding record as a former winner and finalist.

Last year he was able to carry that form to the WTF, making the final.

Tipsarevic rounds out the field. He has always been one of the best underdogs in the business and with nothing to lose he can go out on the court and just swing away.

 

That makes him a dangerous prospect however, it is still questionable if he believes he can match it with the big four, or three in this case.

 

The Verdict

Winner: Novak Djokovic

Runner Up: Andy Murray

Best Outsider: Juan Martin Del Potro

 

 

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