It won’t be the social gathering envisaged as London bids farewell to the ATP Finals however regardless of the strangest of circumstances the season-ender ought to present an upbeat notice on which to complete a tough 12 months for tennis. The ATP’s blue-riband occasion has proved an enormous success because it switched to London’s cavernous O2 Enviornment in 2009, drawing sell-out crowds to observe the world’s high eight singles gamers and doubles pairs go head-to-head.
Final 12 months almost 250,000 followers flocked to the Thames-side dome over the eight days of the event received by Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas. This time, with London in COVID-19 lockdown, the 20,000-seater area shall be eerily empty, barring the gamers, their coaches, event officers and a smattering of media.
Gamers should reside in a strict ‘bubble’ and even line judges shall be lacking, changed by the Hawk-eye reside system used lately on the U.S. Open. In these straitened instances prize cash has additionally been slashed from final 12 months’s complete pot of $9 million to $5.7 million with an undefeated champion to pocket $1.56 million in comparison with the $2.6 million Tsitsipas earned regardless of dropping one round-robin match.
Not that money would be the motivator for world primary Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and debutants Andrey Rublev and Diego Schwartzman when the event’s fiftieth version begins on Sunday.
Serbian Djokovic, 33, is assured to finish the 12 months as primary for a sixth time, equalling Pete Sampras’s report.
However the final of his 5 titles on the year-ender got here in 2015 and, after his current default within the U.S. Open and thrashing by Nadal within the French Open closing he shall be keen to place the 12 months to mattress with a robust assertion.
Djokovic, denied the possibility to defend his Wimbledon title this 12 months when it was cancelled for the primary time since World Warfare II, can match the absent Roger Federer’s six ATP Finals titles. Nadal, extremely, nonetheless awaits his first.
The Spanish 20-times Grand Slam champion has a comparatively mediocre report within the occasion, his finest runs being two runner-up finishes in London in 2010 and 2013.
His final two appearances resulted in round-robin stage exits.
“After all I wished to win the event, however it’s all the time tough,” Nadal, who has by no means had the good thing about contesting it on his favoured clay, stated.
After the domination of Federer and Djokovic, who received 11 of the 13 editions between 2003 and 2015, the final three years in London has seen first-time winners in Grigor Dimitrov, Zverev and Tsitsipas and that sequence might proceed.
Austrian world quantity three Thiem, the U.S. Open champion, was runner-up in 2019 and would like to cement his breakthrough 12 months by profitable probably the most prestigious title exterior of the 4 Grand Slams.
Medvedev, who shall be joined this 12 months by fellow Russian Rublev, additionally appears to be like a superb guess after warming up in type by profitable final week’s Paris Masters, though on his debut final 12 months he misplaced all three of his round-robin matches.
“Hopefully I can get some wins. I’ve no different objective than simply to get some wins,” Medvedev, who misplaced to Nadal on the O2 final 12 months regardless of main 5-1 within the deciding set, stated.
Rublev could possibly be harmful too, having received 5 titles this 12 months, greater than every other participant. Whereas Schwartzman lately cracked the highest 10 for the primary time on the age of 28.