Personally, I usually love the ATP World Tour Finals. I think that it’s the greatest week of tennis on the calendar. Players can lose and still lift the trophy, doubles and singles get equal footing and the level of play is, usually, superb.
Last year was a massive let down. The first singles match to go to three sets was Nishikori’s victory over alternate Ferrer. Three more matches went the distance, and the tournament looked to be heating up but then Federer withdrew from the final and Djokovic won by default.
I fear a similar fate one year on. Djokovic might have to actually play the final this time, however there is almost no question that he will win. Can Federer really beat him on current form? Does Murray care about the tournament enough with a bigger tournament later this month? And are the rest even worth talking about?
Djokovic blew Kei Nishikori off the court on Sunday, the only man who took a set off the Serb a year ago. He will almost certainly beat Federer tonight, in their last 6 meetings; the Swiss only has 2 victories. Berdych will offer no resistance. Then, following that – who can stop him in the other group?
Nadal is having a resurgence of sorts; however beating Wawrinka is hardly a precursor for impending success, especially when considering both his record against Wawrinka and his record at Tour Finals (the first being excellent, the second being dreadful).
I’ll be surprised if Ferrer gets out of the group and even more surprised if he ever beats Djokovic again.
Wawrinka could and indeed does do well against the Serb however he probably has to beat Ferrer and Murray to have a shot at taking him on, which on Monday’s showing is very unlikely.
As I’ve already mentioned, Murray has bigger fish to fry this month and should Djokovic beat Federer, the Brit will finish the year at number 2 regardless of this week. Andy will soon lose interest in this tournament.
What am I trying to say? I love the ATP Tour Finals. I think that they are such a wonderful concept as a round robin format in a tennis competition is simple yet compelling.
However, it’s with a tad of lethargy that I await Sunday’s final this year. There’s no question who will win, there is no question what will happen. The intrigue has left men’s tennis, and until someone can consistently topple Djokovic, it will not return.
In fact, if you want empires falling then I suggest you watch the doubles tournament. Not only could any of the 8 teams win it this year, it’s looking likely that the Bryan Brothers will lose their grip on the number one crown. Should they retain their status as the best in the world, it will be through unbelievable play from an unconvincing position.
Maybe then, I am still as excited by the Finals, just by the doubles tournament for a change.