It will be Nadal vs Federer once again

By NT Bureau Published on Nov 10, 2017 08:39 PM IST

Chennai: To a casual tennis fan, this year’s ATP Finals can be described as 'Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and everyone else.' Each of the tournament’s two group consists of one very famous player (Federer and Nadal) and three relative unknowns in terms of tournament championships.

The rest of the ATP’s ruling establishment - Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori etc have been wiped out of this years draw by injury.

But, the matches starting next week will be an opportunity to watch a fresh crop of next-gen players -  Alexander Zverev, Jack Sock, and Grigor Dimitrov make their London debuts and compete for one of the most prestigious of non-major titles. David Goffin and Dominic Thiem on the other hand will be in action at the O2 for just the second time along with veteran Marin Cilic. News Today takes a close look at the draws and gives you an analysis of each player.

The World Tour Finals will be played in a round robin format. The eight man field of the top tennis players in ranking is split between two teams named after a former world no 1s, Boris Becker and Pete Sampras.

Team Pete Sampras
Rafael Nadal: Rank 1

The ATP Finals is the biggest title that Nadal has never won. The indoor conditions, the sometimes-fast courts, the time of year, and the presence of Federer and Djokovic have all conspired against him. This will be the 13th time Rafa has qualified, but just the eighth time he’s been able to play. He is heavily favored to reach the finals and a mouthwatering clash against Fedex is on the cards if injury doesn't play spoilsport.

Dominic Thiem: Rank 4

Dominic Thiem has managed to play more than anyone else in the Top 20 this year and he does this time and again since his debut. This will be Thiem’s 27th event, and the wear and tear has shown. He hasn’t made it past the fourth round of any tournament since the French Open. But, Thiem does have two wins over Nadal and that will be his trump card entering this tournament.

Grigor Dimitrov: Rank  6

Dimitrov has had a decent run leading to the tournament, reaching the final in Stockholm, and the semis in Beijing. More importantly, compared to Nadal and Goffin, who have been nursing injury, he’s healthy. But, Dimitrov’s career record against is just 1-10 against Rafa. Which means the key for Dimitrov could come in his meeting with Thiem. The last time they played was in Madrid, and Dimitrov lost 11-9 in a third-set tiebreaker after holding match points.

David Goffin: Rank 8

Goffin is a mystery. On the one hand, he’s been on a terrific run this fall, winning back-to-back titles in Shenzhen and Tokyo, and he comes in with a 50-22 record on the season, including a 13-6 mark on indoor hard courts. On the other hand, he’s been struggling with a balky knee that he hurt way back at Roland Garros. With that in mind, Goffin will have to gauge how much he wants to give at the O2, considering that he still has the Davis Cup finals—a more important event, likely, in his mind to play the following weekend.

Semi Final Prediction: Nadal and Dimitrov


Team Boris Becker
Roger Federer: Rank 2

There is nothing much to say on his regard other than the fact that he is Roger Federer, the greatest and best that Tennis has seen and the a sure bet for the finals. A six-time champion at the season-ending championships, he has re-established himself as a force in the tennis world this year.Alexander Zverev - Rank 3

The young gun will make his debut at the World Tour Finals which is not always an easy event for first-timers. But, he is definitely a player to keep an eye on. Zverev has beaten Federer twice, including in their only hard-court match which took place in Montreal in August, and the young German has quickly established himself with two Masters 1000 Series titles in 2017 as by far the best of the ‘Next Gen’

Marin Cilic - Rank 5

This is the Croatian’s third outing at the World Tour Finals, and neither of the previous ones went well – he went 0-3 in 2014 and 1-2 in 2016. His problem is that his head-to-head vs Federer is a fairly dire 1-7, so he’ll likely need to beat Zverev and Sock to make the semifinals, and he has a losing record against both.

Jack Sock - Rank 7

Sock has just come off the back of an incredible win at the Paris Masters. He has an even head-to-head record against Zverev, and has a 2-0 lead over Marin Cilic when it comes to their head-to-head record. But Jack Sock has never beaten the Fedex in any of their encounter. Sock will do well to advance from the group only if he gets the measure of Zwerev.

Semi Final Prediction: Roger Federer and Alexander Zwerev