It is anybody’s guess as to how most of the Massive 4 will nonetheless be taking part in then.
All 4 are very a lot round in 2019 — after Andy Murray thought his profession is perhaps over.
Whereas the Scot will not be competing on the O2 Enviornment, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will likely be, joined by ample youth.
The ATP Finals is about to find out who’ll finish the 12 months at No. 1, both the ailing Nadal or Djokovic.
Nadal landed in Group Andre Agassi, alongside Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev, whereas Djokovic, Federer, Dominic Thiem and Matteo Berrettini function in Group Bjorn Borg.
Listed below are the 4 largest storylines of the occasion, which begins Sunday.
Nadal’s well being
Essentially the most related query referring to Nadal in latest ATP Finals has not been, ‘Will he win it for the primary time?’ however quite ‘Will he play?’
The array of accidents which have affected the 33-year-old Spaniard have surfaced all through seasons however appear to particularly derail him close to the tip, by which period he is piled up matches on his beloved clay.
Nadal missed the ATP Finals in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 — and performed just one match in 2017 previous to pulling out courtesy of a proper knee grievance.
After getting married to longtime girlfriend Xisca Perello final month — he was the final member of the Massive 4 to tie the knot — all the pieces appeared nice on the well being entrance.
However Nadal sustained an stomach harm, which impacts his serve, warming up forward of his semifinal on the Paris Masters final week and needed to withdraw.
He hopes to play however it stays to be seen whether or not he’ll be match sufficient to take to the court docket in opposition to Zverev on Monday.
“I must see how issues evolve each single day,” Nadal mentioned in Friday’s pre-tournament press convention. “I’ve good hopes to be 100% prepared for Monday.
“For me the principle aim is to be wholesome. I actually hope I will serve and each single day will really feel higher.”
The chase for No. 1
Why would Nadal play the ATP Finals and danger making his harm worse, which might have a knock-on impact and spill over into his low season, then January’s Australian Open? In Melbourne, Nadal might match Federer’s all-time males’s file of 20 majors.
Maybe as a result of Nadal and Djokovic are locked in a battle for the year-end No. 1.
Nadal reclaimed No. 1 this week after an absence of 12 months, changing Djokovic.
Nadal is bidding to change into the year-end No. 1 for a fifth time, which might match Djokovic and Federer. Djokovic would tie Pete Sampras for the all-time ATP lead if he will get to 6.
However as a lot as that would supply motivation for Nadal, 10 years in the past it may need been extra of a aim. Now, successful the ATP Finals for the primary time could possibly be the even greater goal.
“For me personally it wasn’t one in all my targets,” Nadal mentioned of the year-end No. 1 rating. “I am tremendous completely satisfied to be the place I’m right now however for me the aim is to play the total event with full well being.”
When one ponders Nadal’s achievements within the recreation — even when additionally contemplating his struggles taking part in indoors — it is outstanding that his file on the ATP Finals is a mediocre 16-13.
The Subsequent Gen is right here
Considering forward to when the Massive 4 are now not round, the ATP launched its Subsequent Gen advertising marketing campaign three years in the past. It additionally featured the creation of a brand new event for gamers below 22, the Subsequent Gen ATP Finals in Milan.
Nicely, the Subsequent Genners really arrived in 2019.
4 gamers 23 or below certified for London in debutants Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Berrettini, whereas Zverev returns to defend his title.
The final time that occurred? In 2009 when it was the standout quartet of Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and Juan Martin del Potro.
Tsitsipas began the 12 months the strongest, making the Australian Open semifinals as a part of a season by which the flashy all-rounder beat Federer when the Swiss was the two-time defending champion in Melbourne; downed Nadal on a clay court docket; and rallied from a set down in opposition to Djokovic on the Shanghai Masters.
Djokovic had been 60-1 in China — the place he enjoys large crowd assist — when claiming the primary set.
Medvedev — the counterpuncher with an enormous serve — ended the strongest. The 6-foot-6-inch Russian reworked from villain to crowd favourite on the US Open — a part of a stretch the place he made six consecutive finals — and nearly pulled off a monumental comeback in opposition to Nadal in one of the vital memorable grand slam finals in latest historical past.
The calm, big-serving Berrettini’s semifinal displaying in New York helped him change into the primary Italian man to succeed in the year-end championships since Corrado Barazzutti in 1978.
Zverev’s look within the remaining in Shanghai contributed his inclusion, though the German was the lone member of younger quartet to not make a grand slam semifinal.
Federer bids for fortunate No. 7
Given his file eight titles at Wimbledon, Federer’s recollections of London are, certainly, largely uplifting. But his two most painful defeats within the remaining of grand slams have come at Wimbledon, when he was dethroned by Nadal in 5 units in 2008 in what many contemplate to be the best match of all time and solely 5 months in the past when Djokovic upended the now 38-year-old.
Whereas not matching the 2008 epic for high quality, Djokovic saving a pair of match factors and prevailing within the first fifth-set tiebreak in Wimbledon historical past made it one of the vital dramatic contests ever.
A record-extending seventh title on the ATP Finals would not banish recollections of the Djokovic reverse however it could be the very best approach for Federer to finish his season, previous to embarking on a handful of exhibitions in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico Metropolis and China to finish 2019.
With Djokovic and Federer in the identical group, there is a excessive probability of the pair assembly twice — within the spherical robin, then within the remaining — as was the case in 2015.