As we enter the final few months of the 2014 tennis season, here’s where the top guys are scheduled to be playing:
Djokovic (4): Sept 29 – Beijing, Oct 5 – Shanghai, Oct 27 – Paris, Nov 9 – London
Federer (5): Oct 5 – Shanghai, Oct 20 – Basel, Oct 27 – Paris, Nov 9 – London, Nov 21 – Davis Cup
Nadal (5): Sept 29 – Beijing, Oct 5 – Shanghai, Oct 20 – Basel, Oct 27 – Paris, Nov 9 – London
Murray (4): Sept 23 – Shenzen, Sept 29 – Beijing, Oct 5 – Shanghai, Oct 27 – Paris
Sept 22 (Shenzhen, Kuala Lumpur)
Shenzhen: Murray, Ferrer Gasquet, Robredo
Kuala Lumpur: Nishikori, Gulbis
Sept 29 (Beijing, Tokyo)
Beijing: Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Berdych, Dimitrov, Gulbis
Tokyo: Nishikori, Wawrinka, Ferrer, Raonic, Tsonga
Oct 5 (Shanghai)
Federer, Djokovic, Murray, Nadal, Wawrinka, Cilic
Oct 13 (Stockholm, Moscow, Vienna)
Vienna: Lopez, Pospisil, Thiem, Karlovic
Moscow: Cilic, Raonic, Gulbis, Gasquet
Stockholm: Berdych, Dimitrov, Anderson, Monfils
Oct 20 (Basel, Valencia)
Basel: Federer, Nadal, Warwinka, Dimitrov, Raonic, Del Potro
Valencia: Ferrer, Cilic, Nishikori, Isner
Oct 27 (Paris)
Federer, Djokovic, Murray, Nadal, Wawrinka, Ferrer (Paris)
Nov 9 (London)
Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, Wawrinka, Cilic (London Finals)
For the most part, there’s nothing striking about the schedules. Rafael Nadal returns (we hope) to action next week after another extended injury break. If history is any guide he’ll come back with a vengeance. Nadal’s slated to play five events with the hopes of finally winning the ATP Finals and reclaiming the No. 1 ranking from Novak Djokovic.
For the Serb, the big question is when will the baby come? That’s the X-Factor this fall!
With Davis Cup ahead, Federer has a busier than usual fall calendar. Plus he’ll play a December weekend exo in New Delhi. So I have to wonder if fatigue will be an issue? Federer is now 33 and unlike last year, this season’s he’s played a lot more tennis (last year he played 62 matches, this year he’s already at 66). A few years ago I called Federer the GOAT of scheduling, but now I have to question his judgment. Perhaps Paris will be expendable if he continues to do well. That said, he is in the No. 1 race as well so how much will he push it?
Also of interest is Andy Murray. With realistically just three spots remaining in London, Murray is currently 11th on the list so he’ll need to not only play events to have any hope of returning to London, but also do well in them.
Right now Murray is 350 or so points behind No. 8 Berdych for the final berth in London. And I expect Berdych and Kei Nishikori to both get in leaving one spot up for grabs among David Ferrer, Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, JW Tsonga and Murray. That’s stiff competition especially for someone like Murray who hasn’t even been to a tournament final since his Wimbledon title two summers ago. Making things tougher is the fact that Raonic, Dimitrov and Tsonga should all do well at the indoor events.
As always at the end of the year, we can expect to see lots of upsets (see Wuhan this week) and an increase in retirements as weary players try to get a jump on their off season. But with the No. 1 ranking still in doubt among Djokovic, Federer and Nadal, this figures to be a strong and exciting finish. And what a scene it would be if Federer were to have a chance at finishing the year No. 1 and finally winning the Davis Cup all on the same weekend. That could happen, folks. We shall see.
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