Feature photo: Pascal Ratthe / Tennis Canada
The 2019 tennis season may be drawing to a close, but there’s still the not-so-small matter of the ATP Finals at London’s O2 Arena to come. The draw was made for the tournament earlier this week with the eight competitors split into two groups, each named after two of the sport’s icons, Andre Agassi and Bjorn Borg.
The players will compete in three round-robin matches with the top two in each group advancing to the semi-finals. Here’s how last year’s final went:
Below, we preview the 2019 event and take a look at the form of the players due to take part.
Andre Agassi Group
Despite suffering an abdominal injury last week which forced him to withdraw from the semi-finals of the Paris Masters, Rafael Nadal is confident he will be able to play in London. The reigning Rogers Cup presented by National Bank, Roland-Garros and US Open champion and current World No. 1 has reached the final of this event twice before (2010 and 2013) but is yet to claim the title.
Also in this group, Russian Daniil Medvedev, who lost to Nadal at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the championship match, will be hoping to build on his recent success. The 23-year-old has been in stunning form of late, winning the Cincinnati Masters, St Petersburg Open and the Shanghai Masters having also reached the finals of the Washington Open, Rogers Cup in Montreal and the aforementioned US Open.
Alexander Zverev joins Nadal and Medvedev. The 22-year-old is the ATP Finals defending champion having won the 2018 event, defeating Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 in the final. Zverev heads into this year’s tournament ranked No. 7 on the ATP Tour. He was a recent finalist at the Shanghai Masters, where he was beaten 6-4, 6-1 by Medvedev.
Completing the group is Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. Last year, Tsitsipas was crowned the champion of the Next Gen ATP Finals, defeating Alex de Minaur having swept his group and overcome Andrey Rublev in the semis. The 21-year-old has been in good form recently, reaching the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters, semi-finals of the Swiss Indoors event and Shanghai Masters as well as the finals of the China Open.
Bjorn Borg Group
Headlines were made as Djokovic and Swiss sensation Roger Federer were drawn together in this group. Djokovic enters the tournament in good form having taken home the title at the Paris Masters last week, defeating Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the final. A beaten finalist last year in London, the Serbian will be hoping to go one better this time round and claim his first ATP Finals title since 2015 and his sixth in total.
Federer, meanwhile, last competed in October at the Swiss Indoors, which he won at a canter without dropping a single set. The 38-year-old, 20-time Grand Slam champion is a six-time winner of this event having claimed the title in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011. He was a beaten semi-finalist 2018, losing a tight match 7-5, 7-6(5) to eventual champion Zverev.
Joining Djokovic and Federer is Dominic Thiem of Austria. Thiem, a beaten finalist at the French Open in 2018 and 2019 is making his fourth ATP Finals appearance, having been knocked out at the round robin stage in each of the last three years. The 26-year-old claimed his first-career Masters 1000 title in March at Indian Wells, beating Federer in three sets.
Completing the group is Matteo Berrettini of Italy. The 23-year-old is making his ATP Finals debut this year. Ranked No. 8 on the ATP Tour, he has won two titles in 2019 at the Hungarian Open and Stuttgart Open. He was also a semi-finalist at the US Open, where he was beaten by eventual champion Nadal.
The first matches of the group stage round Robin will take place on Sunday, November 10th at the following start times:
Sunday, November 10th
Novak Djokovic (2) vs Matteo Berrettini (8) – 9:00 a.m.
Roger Federer (3) vs Dominic Thiem (5) – 3:00 p.m.
Monday, November 11th
Daniil Medvedev (4) vs Stefanos Tsitsipas (6) – 9:00 a.m.
Rafael Nadal (1) vs Alexander Zverev (7) – 3:00 p.m.