The O2 Arena in London is ready to raise the curtain on the last seasonal tournament, the ATP Finals. The eight tennis players who have qualified for the Master are: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Dominic Thiem, Marin Cilic, David Goffin and Jack Sock.
Round robin. Pete Sampras Group will see Nadal, Dimitrov, Thiem and Goffin. In Boris Becker Group they will challenge Federer, Zverev, Cilic and Sock. Overall, these are two balanced groups, where there are two big favorites: Nadal and Federer.
The Spanish and Swiss players were the two dominators of 2017. Federer, clay season apart, has demonstrated a clear technical superiority,with two Slams and three Masters 1000 conquered, but also thanks to 11-1 record against the top ten and 4-0 against the top five.
Jumping Bercy he had to give up the chance to finish the year by number one, but in this way he could get to the O2 Arena in the best shape. For his special year and the surface, he is definitely the favorite for the final victory.
For Rafa, now number one until the end of the year, much will depend by the injury that forced him to withdrawl in Paris-Bercy. With six titles and two Slams, he is definitely the other favorite for the title. We will have to see his shape, and if the four matches lost against Federer this season will have some effects.
Surpirses could be represented by Dimitrov and Zverev. The Bulgarian, winner of three titles, including Cincinnati, is progressively approaching the best. Simpling his game, under the leadership of Dani Vallverdu, he has finally got the hoped-for effects, with the service and the forhand that work wonderfully.
Zverev, at the best season of his career, with five titles, including Rome and Rogers Cup, will have to handle the pressure well as he didn't in the Grand Slams. He is not going through a great period of shape, but his tennis has everything to compete with the best.
Cilic will have his chances. The final at Wimbledon has certified his status as champion, and the surface of the O2 Arena could favor him. However he will have to be able to overcome the emotion, and reach the semifinals of his round robin, where Federer and Zverev are also present.
Anyway the Croatian is more in shape than the young German tennis player. Finally, there are very few chances for Thiem, Goffin and Sock. The American has achieved unsurprising qualification after his unexpected victory at Bercy.
Goffin has played a good year, but he remains away from the top, and has a Davis Cup final to play against France. Thiem, after a good season on clay, disappeared for the rest of the year. Victory percentage: Roger Federer 45%, Rafael Nadal 35%, Marin Cilic 10%, Alexander Zverev 5%, Grigor Dimitrov 5%. Big absents Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Kei Nishikori.