As the final round robin event approaches, there hasn’t been a field as wide open as this one for many years. Almost all players in the field you could make an argument for them taking home this prestigious crown in the Barclay’s ATP World Tour Finals. In this preview, I will go through player by player from each group and break down their chances. We will start with Group A.
Rafael Nadal: No one had expected Rafa to come back the way he did this year, winning the French and US Open titles. He has only lost 5 matches all year with a spectacular 68 – 5 record. Adding on to the 2 slams, Rafa has won 8 other titles, including 5 Masters 1000 titles. However, since the indoor hard court season has started, Nadal has struggled a bit on the fast hard courts. He has not won a title since the US Open. In the 3 tournaments he has played since then, he has lost to Djokovic, Del Potro, and Ferrer in these tournaments. Despite his struggles on the hard courts, I still see Nadal moving on through his portion of the round robin due to the lack of consistency from the others, besides Ferrer, to beat him.
David Ferrer: There might not be a hotter player on tour right now than David Ferrer. Going into Paris, I did not expect him to do well after a horrific indoor season with losses to some pretty low quality players. This does not include Dimitrov or Youzhny in the last 2 weeks. But the losses to Florian Mayer and Joao Sousa stuck out to me. But I think Ferrer shocked all of us when he knocked off Nadal in the semis and had many chances to stun Djokovic in the finals. I think Ferrer will surprise us again and go 3 – 0 in his section of the round robin and advance to the final rounds.
Tomas Berdych: It has been another solid year for the big hitting Czech. Berdych is certainly one of the most dangerous players out there on indoor courts like these. It’s the consistency that is a concern for me. He didn’t make it past the quarterfinals of any Slam this year and I think that has something to do with it. It’s more of the belief factor for Berdych. Does he really think he can hang with the top guys on a daily basis? He has been close on several occasions, but I have not seen enough consistency from him throughout the year to make me think that he could take out Nadal or Ferrer right now.
Stan Wawrinka: This has certainly been one of Wawrinka’s best years on tour. He is currently at an all time high in the rankings at #8 and is certainly deserving of that. His semi final run at the US Open this year was phenomenal and also played very well in Paris, where he had the battle with Gasquet, and Australia, where he played the possible match of the year against Djokovic. The only problem with Stan here is that the indoor hard courts are his least favorite surface, and I think we all witnessed that a bit when he got slammed by Novak last week in Paris. But that does not mean opponents should look him over. He is still very dangerous, and very powerful off the ground. If he beats Ferrer and Berdych, I like his chances to advance. But I still think Ferrer is too solid right now. Nevertheless, just someone to keep your eye on as the week progresses.
Here is the Group B preview now.
Novak Djokovic: Novak certainly looks like he playing the way he was back in 2011. He is full of confidence and has not lost a match since the US Open final. He beat Nadal in Beijing and also took both the Masters 1000 titles in Shanghai and Paris. There is no one playing better ball than Djokovic right now. That being said, he was not favored a kind round robin group. Delpo and Roger landed in his group and those are 2 guys that are playing some good ball as well. I still like Djokovic to advance and he is my pick to win the title for the second straight year.
Juan Martin Del Potro: Another fantastic year for the big Argentinian. He has returned to one of the game’s most elite players. He took the title in Basel for the second straight year. He crushed Nadal in Shanghai before losing a tight match to Djokovic in the final. Despite his loss to Roger in Paris, I think it will benefit his cause for London for a few days of extra rest. Delpo, Roger, and Novak will all battle for the 2 spots into the elimination rounds (sorry Gasquet). I do think Novak will prevail, but you can’t tell much apart from Delpo and Roger right now and I am looking forward to how this turns out.
Roger Federer: Glimpses of the old Roger were seen last week in Paris. He finally got some revenge against Del Potro in the quarterfinals before falling to Djokovic in 3 sets in the semis. Roger has a great chance to advance here because of the surface. There might not be a better surface suited for Federer’s game than in London right now. But like I said before, you can’t tell much apart from Roger and Delpo right now.
Richard Gasuqet: It has been a good year for Gasquet as he reached his first semi of a Slam since the Wimbledon semis all those years ago. He playing solid ball right now after reaching the quarters in Paris and winning in Moscow. Unfortunately for him, he is surrounded by 3 grand slam champions and power hitters. Gasquet could have made a run in the other group, but he does not have much of a shot here. He has a combined record of 4 – 24 against Djokovic, Federer, and Del Potro. Good luck Richard. He should put on some big shots though with that beautiful one hander.
Semi – final predictions:
Djokovic d. Nadal
Federer d. Ferrer
Djokovic d. Federer
Enjoy the last full week of tennis everyone!