STARNBERG, November 17, 2020 (Guest post)
The 2020 Nitto ATP Finals is a men’s tennis tournament played in London, United Kingdom. The schedule for the tournament runs from November 15 to November 22. It is the final event for the season for the highest ranking singles and doubles teams on the 2020 ATP Tour. Due to COVID-19, no spectators will be in attendance for the final year that London holds this event.
The eight players in the singles competition are split into two groups. The first group features Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, and Diego Schwartzman in Group Tokyo 1970. In Group London 2020, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Andrey Rublev, and defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas are featured. The doubles groups feature Pavic/Soares, Granollers/Zeballos, Peers/Venus, and Melzer/Roger-Vasselin in Group Bob Bryan, while Group Mike Bryan is made up of Ram/Salisbury, Krawietz/Mies, Koolhof/Mektic, and Kubot/Melo.
With Roger Federer out due to injury, selecting Novak Djokovic as your free tennis pick would be the safe play. Djokovic enters the tournament with +110 odds, which is tied with Medvedev as the best odds. The defending champion, Tsitsipas, is far down the leaderboard with +1700 odds, so he is considered to be a non factor. Pavic/Soares are the favorite for the doubles competition with +115 odds. Both are ranked No. 4 and No. 6 overall in the doubles rankings.
The ATP Finals used a round-robin format with the players divided into two groups of four. All singles matches are best of three sets with tiebreakers in each set. All matches are played on an indoor tennis court.
In order to qualify for this event, players received places in the following requirements. A player needed to be in the Top 7 in the ATP Race to London on the Monday after the final tournament of the tour. If a player was ranked between No. 8 and No. 20, a player would need up to two 2020 Grand Slam tournament titles. The top eight players were invited, as well as two alternates.
The players accrue points across 18 tournaments made up of the four Grand Slam tournaments, eight mandatory ATP Masters tournaments, and the best results from any six other tournaments that carry ranking points. Points for players competing in doubles are accrued the same way as singles competition.
The Hope of a Hall of Championship
In singles, there is a legit shot that we could see Djokovic and Nadal in the title bout. With no Federer standing in anyone’s way, the two have the clearest path to the championship. It would give Djokovic an opportunity to get revenge on Nadal, who defeated Novak in the French Open final. If Nadal can make it to the championship, it will give him a chance to rewrite the script on his legacy, as Nadal has struggled on indoor courts in the past.
Nadal has qualified for the ATP Finals 10 years, but he has never won and has been the runner-up just two times (2010 and 2013). Nadal is ranked at No. 2 in the world, while Djokovic is ranked No. 1. Both are going to be in the Hall of Fame one day, and we can only hope the two will meet again this week.