ATP Tour Finals gets underway at O2 in London on Sunday The season ending tennis championships involving top eight players in the world will be the last one to be held at O2 indoor arena this time.This will be 50th anniversary of the event.All matches will be played behind closed doors.
Barring world no.1 Novak Djokovic and second seed Rafael Nadal,other 6 players in the event are young guns.In fact a couple of them are past champions-23 year old Alexander Zverev and Stephanos Tsistipas aged 22.Two Gropus are named Tokyo 1970 and London 2020.Tokyo 1970 consists of Novak Djokovic,Alexander Zverev,Daniil Medvedev and debutant Diego Shwartzmann.London 2020 includes Rafael Nadal,Dominic Thiem,Stefanos Tsistipas and another first timer-Andrey Rublev.
History for Djokovic
Novak Djokovic will try to win the title for record equalling sixth time.Six time champion Federer has opted to skip the tennis season after it started in August due to injury concerns.Djokovic will have challengers like 2018 champion Alexander Zverev.Danill Medvedev has came back to form on indoor surface after his title win at Paris Masters few days ago.Hard hitting Russian is capable of beating any player on a given day.Djokovic will still be the favourite to top the group.
First title for Rafa?
20 time Grand Slam winner Nadal has always struggled on indoor surface.Just 2 out of his 86 ATP titles have come on indoor hard courts.Nadal has missed ATP season after US Open for most part in the past decade in order to prevent his body from burning as he had suffered many injuries in the past.Nadal will face the likes of Dominic Thiem and defending champion Stephanos Tsistipas.Nadal has good head to head record against both the youngsters.However Austrian and Greek stars have proved their mettle in this event in the past.US Open champion Thiem was a runner-up last year to Tsistipas.Although Russian Rublev had a fantastic 2020 season with most titles won-5 and also tour leading 40 wins,at such a prestigious event he will have to perform at his best to advance from group.
Djokovic vs Tsistipas and Nadal vs Medvedev may be likely semifinal matchups.Unlike in the past,Nadal looks fit enough for the end of season battle.Repeat of this year’s French Open final is on the cards again at O2 next Sunday.Both Nadal and Djokovic have won one major this season.Both will be hungry to end the season on a high.
By Shailesh Padhye