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We made it! The exhaustive, but thrilling, season reaches it’s climax in England’s capital.
London, O2 Arena
This year the end of year event has a fresh feel to it. Three players – Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic and Marin Cilic – will make their debuts at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. All 8 players deserve to be here and it’s the old guard against the new wave. The Big 3 might still have the edge but anyone can catch fire and just need to win 2 group matches to reach the semi-finals.
Djokovic leads Group A and is career 41-5 against his group opponents and clear favorite fresh off his Paris Masters title and another exceptional year. Marin Cilic is perhaps the wildcard, since after his blistering US Open win, he has failed to back it up significantly but he will be fired up on his debut.
Roger Federer leads Group B and is looking to win the season finale for the seventh time. He has a 44-11 tournament record and has only failed to reach the semi-finals once in 12 visits. He is only 19-14 against his group opponents and looks to have the tougher group. The number 1 ranking is on the line but Federer needs some luck if he’s to claim it back.
Let’s break it down:
ATP Level: 1500
Surface: Indoor Hard
Defending Champion: Novak Djokovic – The Serb is attempting to win the season finale for the fourth time and finish as the year-end World No. 1.
Slumping: Stan ‘Stanimal’ Wawrinka – Not had the year he would have hope for considering he’s a Slam winner.
On Fire: Andy Murray – A late season tear brought Andy 3 titles and vaulted him into this competition. Confidence is high.
Outside Shot: Kei Nishikori – Has proven he can beat all of them and in this competition, anything can happen.
My pick: Novak Djokovic – He just dominates from the baseline with no apparent mental weaknesses.
Did You Know? The singles champion will be presented The Brad Drewett Trophy, in memory of the ATP Executive Chairman and President who passed away on 3 May 2013.
Thanks for reading and see you again next year!
Shanghai Rolex Masters
All the big names assemble again as the season enters it’s finale. Roger Federer returns to action after a three-week break, looking to win his 23rd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown.
Rafael Nadal slowly coming back from injury last week in Beijing, looks to win the elusive Shanghai crown for the first time, while Andy Murray will chase valuable points in Shanghai. The Scot has a strong record here, winning the title in 2010-11.
Tennis in China is exploding and with Li Na retiring, they are looking to their men for future stars. Wildcards are awarded to the Chinese players Di Wu, Ze Zhang, Chuhan Wang and Argentine Juan Monaco.
Let’s break it down:
ATP Level: 1000
Surface: Outdoor Hard
Defending Champion: Novak Djokovic – Djokovic is chasing his 20th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title coming off an unbeaten run of 12 matches.
Nasty Floater: Richard Gasquet – Not seeded and could face Berdych in the 2nd round who he beat recently at Davis Cup
Up and Coming: Dominic ‘The Dominator’ Thiem – Showed what he could do at the US Open and could face Djokovic in the 2nd round.
Slumping: David ‘The Wall’ Ferrer – Are all the miles catching up with him? Recent losses to Granollers, Simon and Troicki have been unusual.
On Fire: Tomas Berdych – The BerdMan is hitting form at the right time chasing berth in London.
My pick: Novak Djokovic – Looks to be on another tear on the hard courts.
Did You Know? In its first three years in 2009-2011, Shanghai was awarded ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Tournament of the Year
Watch: Shanghai Uncovered
Thanks for reading and check back next week for more picks and amusement!