The ATP Finals put a fitting period on the 2015 season as the man who began on top, Novak Djokovic, finished the year on top with his 5th career London title.
Here are some final thoughts:
1. King Novak
There really isn’t any doubt, he’s the best in the biz right now and that’s a fact by a wide margin. If fact, it’s one of the widest margins by ranking points this sport has ever seen. And when you consider those giving chase, that’s quite an accomplishment.
I’ll have more on his 2015 season in the coming week.
2. Federer At 34
He’s 34. That’s a year older than Andy Roddick. And only one player in the Top 50 is his senior and he’s a 6-foot-10 giant with a monster serve who goes by the name of Ivo.
The fact the Federer can do what he does in his mid 30s (beard or no beard) is nothing short of remarkable. And consider he not only made the finals, he won his group undefeated beating both Novak Djokovic and Thomas Berdych.
It’s good to be the GOAT.
3. Rafa’s Resurgence
If there was a feel-good story of the week, it was Rafael Nadal. After a trying 2015, things came together nicely this fall for the former No. 1 who finally gave his fans some long needed hopes.
Rafa’s still never won the Finals – and likely he never will – but he showed some old form and pocketed some great wins beating Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka en route to the semifinals.
This all bodes well for Nadal in 2016!
4. Surface Change
If I have one complaint about the Finals, it’s the court speed. Maybe a little more speed would be welcome.
That said, I agree with Nadal and others who are calling for a change of surface. Go clay, go grass, go ice. Whatever. As long as there’s a week between Paris and London, why not change up the surfaces?
5. Berdych’s Bomb
What can you say, for all his talents he was only able to muster one single set at the event. To me, the guy is just too damn content with where he is. If only he could figure out a way to get Ivan Lendl in his camp. Or maybe that’s why he can’t.
In the last two full seasons, Berdych has exactly two Top 5 wins, both in Australia and both over Spaniards: 2014 Ferrer, 2015 Nadal. But he’s probably happy with that.
6. Andy’s Davis Cup Dilemma
Maybe I’m mistaken, but didn’t Novak Djokovic play and win the ATP Finals then take care of business the following weekend at Davis Cup finals in 2013?
The same for Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka who played a bruising semifinal last year then came together to win Switzerland their first title the following weekend?
So what’s Murray’s problem? If Djokovic, Federer and Wawrinka can leave all out there at the Finals, why can’t Murray, especially in front of his home crowd?
While I’m fine with his focus on the Davis Cup, you have to give it your best at both.
7. Big Three Again!
Three of the four semifinalists were the old stalwarts, the big three: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Why we all love seeing them play, I do wonder, is anyone ever going to break them up? Or are they just going to dominate for another 5, 10, hell 15 more years? Maybe by the time they retire they’ll just pass the baton to their kids?
That said, what’s so remarkable is that in the last nine years, there’s hasn’t really been a significant, sustained drop off. They just keep winning, keep staying on top. Sure, there’s Murray and Wawrinka, but that’s about it as far as consistent threats. (Makes me miss Del Potro!)
8. Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau
Lost in the shuffle, credit to Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau for winning the ATP Finals doubles title. And they did so without losing a set including a semifinal win over the Bryans. That win also earned them the No. 1 year-end ranking. That’s quite a week for the two who like Novak Djokovic, also won Wimbledon.
So that ends the 2015 ATP season, but tennis continues this weekend with the Davis Cup finals and then the start of the silly season with exos around the world.
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