ATP Finals Preview: Nadal Seeks First London Title, Federer An 8th
by Sean Randall | November 11th, 2017, 9:44 pm
  • 65 Comments

If I told you at the start of the year that only two players from the 2016 ATP Finals would qualify for the 2017 edition, you might see that. But you’d think I’m certifiably nuts if I told you neither of those two would be Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray. But that’s exactly what happened.

No Djokovic, no Murray. The only two from the 2016 tournament to return are Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem.

Djokovic and Murray along with Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka all failed to finish the season due to injury while Gael Monfils just wasn’t good enough to get in.

But all is not lost. Replacing Novak and Andy are legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal who return to the robin robin event. And as the lone former champion in the field, Federer is the overwhelming favorite.

Nadal comes in on an injury cloud following yet another knee issue. The 31-year-old says he’s fit, but he’s never won the title and with No. 1 wrapped up, does he want to push it on that knee?

Also joining in are four new faces to the event- Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, David Goffin and Jack Sock who nipped Pablo Carreno Busta at the finish line by winning Paris.

One could certainly see Zverev and maybe Dimitrov getting in, but Goffin and Sock? They should thank the lucky stars…

So do any of these new faces have a shot, or will the Roger-Rafa show continue?

Let’s handicap the groups.

BORIS BECKER (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday)
Of the two groups, this is far the tougher with four healthy guys and all four have won Masters titles on hardcourts. With seven titles here, Federer is the choice and after a few weeks off following trophies in Shanghai and Basel, he should be rested and revved up. Maybe Cilic gives him trouble, otherwise he wins the group. I think the second place match comes down to the winner tomorrow between big men Zverev and Cilic. Though neither of them are playing particularly well this fall, I give that winner the edge over Sock.

Projected Finish
Roger Federer (3-0): Riding a 10-match win streak entering, I don’t see anyone slowing him down here.
Alexander Zverev (2-1): Beats Cilic in debut and Sock on Thursday to get in.
Marin Cilic (1-2): I just think he might not have the “spark” in that crucial opener tomorrow.
Jack Sock (0-3): Give him credit for winning Paris, but he didn’t face anyone in the Top 15. That changes this week.

PETE SAMPRAS (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
How healthy is Rafa? We don’t know. We won’t know until Monday. Still, in a weak group, you have to like his chances against Thiem and Goffin. I think Dimitrov will be differnt matter. So if Rafa’s knee is OK, I think he makes the weekend, then I lean to Dimitrov to edge Thiem on Monday and take second. If Rafa can’t go or pulls out, Thiem is the guy, and a slower court would lift the Austrian’s hopes.

Projected Finish
Grigor Dimitrov (2-1): Stuns Nadal on Wednesday and Friday mathematics give him the group win.
Rafael Nadal (2-1): Knee not 100%, but still gives it a fight, though falls short of the title yet again. Still a fantastic year finishing No. 1, a well-deserved honor.
Dominic Thiem (2-1): Loss to Dimitrov Monday costs him a weekend slot.
David Goffin (0-3): I think he gets some sets, but not two in any match. Still a great year.

Semifinals

Federer d Nadal: Federer does it again, denies Rafa.
Zverev d Dimitrov: Zverev too much firepower indoors.

Finals
Federer d Zverev: Federer finishes season on a 15-match win streak and his 8th ATP Finals title. Not bad for a 36-year-old. Looks promising for 2018!

As I said, with Nadal’s knee issue and so many unproven players in the field, Federer is the clear favorite, there’s no debate. If Rafa’s healthy, he’s next. Then I put Zverev and then Dimitrov.

If the court is playing fast, then Cilic might have a chance to surprise. If it’s slow, Thiem gets a boost.

But I’m anxious to see how Zverev fares. The German has gone just 8-7 since winning Canada. I get he’s maybe fading out, but this is a big time event and if he wants to be the next big star, he needs to overcome that.

And with all in the absentees, what an opportunity for someone we’d never thought would qualify or ever qualify for this event to make it to the weekend.

Tennis Channel has early round-robin coverage before ESPN takes over on Thursday.


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65 Comments for ATP Finals Preview: Nadal Seeks First London Title, Federer An 8th

Roger is CLASS Says:

good luck Roger


Tennis Magic Says:

Roger will win all his matches and beat Rafa either in the semis or the finals of the ATP Finals, and that is assuming that Rafa doesn’t retire because of the speed of the court, but claiming knee pain as usual http://www.138mph.com/tennis-federer-versus-sock-and-cilic-versus-zverev-at-the-atp-finals-and-the-us-versus-belarus-in-the-fed-cup-final-this-weekend/


FedExpress Says:

@Sean Randall

Please correct your headline. Federer is seeking his 7th WTF title.

—-

Federer’s conversion rate in finals of WTF have been horrific.

Lost 4 finals, two fair ans square (walkover and defeat to Nole)

But he choked in 2005 and 2012 really badly.


jatin Says:

Very excited to see fed on court in an hour or so. This is by far my favorite event after GrandSlams because of its unique round robin format (which is just like Football) and the showdown between the year’s best players.
Would love to see Fed lifting this trophy again. His 2011 form in this tournament was unreal.


Nobody Says:

I can’t make sense of Sean’s projection. “Dimitrov stuns Nadal”, “Thiem loses to Dimitrov”, “Goffin (0-3)”. Thus everybody loses to Dimitrov, so he should be (3-0). Yet Sean gives him (2-1). Were’s the mistake?


Margot Says:

Jatin: Have you ever been, or do you live on the other side of the world? Great atmosphere, very intense.


jatin Says:

Never Margot. London is so far away from India and where I live. It already looks so intense on TV, can only imagine how it would be like to be the part of that atmosphere.
Are you watching it live ??


jatin Says:

Fed already on FIRE. :)


FedExpress Says:

Court seems to be slow and is it cause of the cam angle?


jatin Says:

WOW… HALF VOLLEY


jatin Says:

Fed Express
I believe it is a medium fast and low bouncing court. Certainly slower than Basel.
Cam angle doesn’t help either to gauge the speed with bare eyes.


jatin Says:

Sock has been improved so much. Its incredible.


FedExpress Says:

WHATTTTTTTTTA A MISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Miss of the year


jatin Says:

It was funny :)


jatin Says:

Nice way to wrap up the first set Rog


FedExpress Says:

GOAT decision to recieve at the start of the match.


jatin Says:

What a balanced stat.
5 backhand winners and 5 forehand winners along with 4 aces.


Margot Says:

Jatin: Andy’s not there :’( so I’m not either. Watching at home. Due to move from the 02 in 2020 might come closer to you.
Tubs is not at all overawed by the situation and is playing well, good for him. At the mo Fed is just a little bit too quick for him.
Yeah…Jack’s back side was a good distracting move….ahem…ahem quite a big target too….;)


FedExpress Says:

Sock serving better now


jatin Says:

Yeah Margot, I could understand that.
And its unlikely for Nitto Finals to move to Asia Again, it was at some point used to held on Shanghai. Next stop could be New York or other European countries.

Jack’s game is certainly huge. His serve and forehand combination is amazing.


jatin Says:

Its gonna be a tough set for Fed


FedExpress Says:

2 BPs wasters

why block with your FH side?


FedExpress Says:

YUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK

what a miss on BP


jatin Says:

Chance again


FedExpress Says:

worst case would be to get broken all of a sudden


Margot Says:

Lots of fab shots from Fed but lots of shanks too.


jatin Says:

Another break point chance


jatin Says:

Sock keep on Saving them LOL


FedExpress Says:

Another BP wasted


jatin Says:

We are heading towards a Tie breaker


jatin Says:

Fed serve has been top notch in this match. Hardly lost points.


jatin Says:

Sock ….. 1-0


Margot Says:

Oooh I love a tie, as log as Andy’s not playing it!


madmax Says:

Sock has played well; Roger has not taken his chances; the usual. Welcome to the life and times of…

Come on!


jatin Says:

1-1 … COmon fed


madmax Says:

Nail baiting stuff again.


jatin Says:

I agree Madmax :)


jatin Says:

What a backhand return rog.
3-2


jatin Says:

Has to break again
Comon


FedExpress Says:

Lollllllllllll FEderer why challenge


jatin Says:

A gift from sock…Double fault
Fed hold 2 serve


jatin Says:

Great start.
Super solid serve and all around game…. Well Done fed


skeezer Says:

NIce win and start for the Maestro against a recent MASTERS winner.
Onward!


FedExpress Says:

Congratz Fed and Fed Fans


Margot Says:

Well played Fed. Lovely free gift from Tubs in the tie. Glad he wasn’t overawed. Glad he played well, Fed was just too fast for him, round the court and on the ball.


madmax Says:

Margot, you are making me giggle. Are you calling Sock, Tubs? I had been thinking the same thing, needs to shape up a bit, but wow. He played a great match, considering this was his first time at the 02.

Jatin, yes. Fantastic.

FedExpress. Lighten up. If Sock got the tie breaker, so be it, into a third and then see what happens.

You must be losing all your hair following Federer.


madmax Says:

Super Fed, Super. Super, Super, Super…


FedExpress Says:

When Rafa had a vintage year what did Federer had for a year?


j-kath Says:

Sock played a lot better than I expected — I thought he’d be the weakest link of his half – but maybe not. Have seen Roger play better, but he achieved what he needed to do. Tally ho for next matches.


Humble Rafa Says:

Tally ho for next matches.

Friendly reminder that this is a family oriented forum.


j-kath Says:

Humble Rafa: Am assuming you are “pulling my leg”.


j-kath Says:

Apologies – meant Madmax, above.


Django Says:

Let’s hope NYC does not get WTF….very rowdy crowds. Maybe someplace new like Germany.


Daniel Says:

Couldn’t see the matches today. Glad Fed did in straights. Next Zverev. If he wins in two and Sock beats Cilic he qualifies already.


Humble Rafa Says:

What a balanced stat.
5 backhand winners and 5 forehand winners along with 4 aces.

He also has 4 kids. Isn’t it amazing how he does these things?, said a lot of people who have no clue.


Margot Says:

Well played Sascha! First time at the O2. First win! C’mon next Gen.


madmax Says:

Did Rafa really say this?

I can’t believe it and am sure it is spin.

Prior to the match, Nadal expressed his belief that the London showpiece should be a clay-court event.

“I believe that it’s not fair that a player like me really never played on a surface that was a little bit more favourable,” he said.

“I always played on the worst surface possible for me.

“If it’s indoor at the 02, then great, but you can build a different type of surface there”.


madmax Says:

J-kath,

Seeing as it’s me? Not sure whether that is a back handed compliment, pardon the pun, but I’ll take it!

Thank you for the read. I loved the images though, the kilt, Andy’s hat.

Classic.


j-kath Says:

Madmax: The glory is yours – it’s either two-handed or back-handed – whatever floats your boat (or your favourite serving return)…….


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