For one last time, London’s calling…

For the 12th and final year the ATP Finals will be played at the O2 Arena in London.

The best in mens tennis will be there, unfortunately none of the 17,500 spectators will be present. It is good to see it but will be slightly bitter-sweet, I was meant to attend the semi-finals and finals in London this year but it wasn’t meant to be, maybe a trip to Turin one year?

However, before we move to Turin we have one more week of tennis to play in 2020 and there is plenty on the line and plenty to talk about.

Group Tokyo 1970 – Novak Djokovic, Alex Zverev, Daniil Medvedev & Diego Schwartzman

Group London 2020 – Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas & Andrey Rublev

Will Djokovic end his London drought? 

The world number one ranking is secured for Novak Djokovic but the Serb has gone on his longest drought at the tour finals without winning having lost his last two finals in 2018 to Zverev and to Murray in 2016.

A potential sixth title would put him level with Roger Federer on most titles won at the tour finals. Federer is of course out injured and hasn’t won the season finale since 2011.

I do think that Novak has a slight point to prove, I said not long ago on paper if you look at his results he has had a phenomenal season but off court drama, disqualification in New York, quality of performance against Rafa in Paris and his worst career defeat to Lorenzo Sonego in Vienna I do worry his year will be remembered for the wrong reasons.

Since the disqualification I wouldn’t say I have been overly convinced, something just doesn’t seem right and then the defeat in Vienna was utterly bizarre. People used the excuse of he took his foot off the gas as his prior win secured his place as year end number one but to throw a match then isn’t right, is it?

He has been on a bit of a drought in London but will he put it right? I was surprised he didn’t head to Paris, I understand he had no points to pick up there but he will be slightly under cooked heading into London? I think so.

Andrey & Diego to debut

Last year the ATP Finals were won by debutant Stefanos Tsitsipas. Debutants, Matteo Berrettini & Daniil Medvedev however left without a wimpier showing anything can happen in such a tense week of tennis.

Debutants at this years event look potentially unlikely a couple of months back, the rankings froze on the ATP Tour meaning you could only pick up points and not lose them.

Andrey Rublev has been absolutely outstanding on route to this deserved debut in London winning multiple ATP 500 events and beating some of the best in mens tennis but London will be a big learning curve for Andrey who will want to face the big two and test himself.

Diego Schwartzman went from 23rd to 9th in a short amount of time and deserves a lot of credit making his top 10 debut following a phenomenal time on the clay courts in Rome and Paris.

The Argentine is simply relentless, he doesn’t give much away and his wins against Nadal in Rome and Thiem in Paris were some of the best performances I’ve seen this year and the one in Rome one of the best ever.

How will both get on in their debut?

Will Rafa finally find some form in London?

Indoor hard courts just aren’t Rafael Nadal’s thing. For the man who has won pretty much everything he is yet to win the ATP Finals.

Incredibly the Spaniard’s record in London isn’t that great at all winning 14 matches and losing 12 across his appearances in the capital. 

Rafa is very good and mixing up different aspects of his game but moving to indoor hard court is a problem and he has won an indoor hard court title since 2005.

It will be the first time in the last decade the Spaniard has played consecutive years in London, he played alright in Paris but I cannot see the 13 time Roland Garros champion winning this title…

Paris champion but winless last year, will Daniil deliver this time?

Last year the form player was Daniil Medvedev.

The Russian won two Masters 1000 titles and pushed Rafa to five sets in the US Open as he really became a solid top ten player.

Unfortunately his time in London didn’t go to plan at all, the man who had caused multiple issues for the best left London without a win.

I didn’t think 2020 went to plan for him, it didn’t for most but he really turned his style on last week in Paris winning the title in great fashion and showing that fantastic tennis brain he has.

Pressure off?

The good news for Them and Tsitsipas is that they have no points to defend, Thiem can only pick up points if he wins the title and Tsitsipas could afford to relax a little.

Do I think both are in great form right now? Not really, Stefanos has been searching consistency this year and Thiem hasn’t found his form since winning in New York.

I would say the pressure is off both of them. 

It is a strange one because winning this title is an incredible accolade but I’m still waiting that kick on from Stefanos. He did well at Roland Garros but is still searching for that consistency!

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