With the 2017 season nearing its end, there is still one major trophy that eight of the world’s elite players have their sights set on before closing the book on another year.
The Nitto ATP World Tour Finals from London’s O2 Arena is set to kick-off on Sunday November 12 and there are a few things fans should know ahead of the event.
1. Nadal & Federer headline the groups
This is only the second time in history – and second consecutive year – that the eight men participating at the World Tour Finals are from eight different countries.
Headlining round robin play are, of course, world no. 1 Rafael Nadal and no. 2 Roger Federer, who have both been the centre of attention all season.
The #NittoATPFinals singles draw is complete 🙌
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 8, 2017
Combined, there are 36 Grand Slam titles and 61 Masters 1000 titles between these eight players.
By those numbers, the more “stacked” group could be Group Boris Becker – Roger Federer (19-time Grand Slam champion, 27-time Masters 1000 champion), Alexander Zverev (2-time Masters 1000 champion), Marin Cilic (2014 US Open champion) and Jack Sock (2017 Paris Masters champion).
Group Pete Sampras is made up of world no. 1 Rafael Nadal (16-time Grand Slam champion, 30-time Masters 1000 champion), Grigor Dimitrov (2017 Cincinnati Masters champion), Dominic Thiem and David Goffin.
Nadal is guaranteed to finish 2017 as the world no. 1 regardless of his Finals campaign.
2. History in the making
Roger Federer is the only man in London to appear on the list of past champions, although he hasn’t lifted the trophy since 2011. The six-time Finals champion is a heavy favourite to win again this year, especially given his 49-4 win-loss record on the year which includes two Grand Slams and three Masters 1000 titles.
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal has never won the World Tour Finals (shocking, yes). He has, however, made the final twice before, falling to Federer and Novak Djokovic. If Nadal’s knee can sustain one more week of competition, there is a chance for the Spaniard to be “third time lucky”.
Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic, David Goffin and Jack Sock have never even progressed to the semi-final stage of the competition. Three of these six – Zverev, Dimitrov, Sock – are debutants in London.
What should tennis fans take away from this? Either Federer will win a historic seventh World Tour Finals title or history will be made as a new winner is crowned in London on Sunday November 19.
3. 2016 vs. 2017
The Top 4 in 2016: Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Milos Raonic, Stan Wawrinka.
The Top 4 in 2017: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem.
Injuries have played a major role in the shift in rankings this season. Only two of the eight men that were in London this time last year are making another appearance this year – Dominic Thiem and Marin Cilic. The other six cut their seasons short due to injury concerns.
The absence of some key figures, like half of ‘The Big Four’, has allowed others to step up and claim their spot in London this year, such as debutants like Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov and Jack Sock.