Former top-ranked British tennis player Tim Henman says world No. 1 Novak Djokovic is the top favorite to win the Nitto ATP Finals but adds that world No. 2 Rafael Nadal will also have his chances if he arrives to the tournament fit and healthy.
Djokovic, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, has had another outstanding season and he will be aiming to end the season with clinching his sixth title at The O2 Arena in London. Djokovic, who claimed four consecutive Nitto ATP Finals titles between 2012 and 2015, hasn't won it all at The O2 Arena since beating Roger Federer in the 2015 final at the tournament.
"It’s not really going out on a limb is it to choose Djokovic," Henman told Metro UK in a phone call this week. "He’s the No. 1 player in the world again and he’s won this tournament on I think five different occasions.
"He’s got such a good record indoors and for all these players it’s almost the last push as it were. I think if I had to be backing anyone it’d be Djokovic." Henman tried to explain the reason why Djokovic hasn't managed to win a title at the Nitto ATP Finals since 2015.
"I think sometimes fatigue can come into it," Henman noted. "They do normally have very long seasons with a lot of matches. That is, obviously, not the case this year. "It's a tournament he’ll desperately want to win and I do think he starts as the favourite.
"Having said that, in Vienna, he did look a bit flat when he lost [to lucky loser Lorenzo Sonego in straight sets] so I’m sure he’ll want to bounce back and finish strongly at the O2."
Henman doesn't seem to be too high on Nadal's chances
Nadal, who recently equaled Federer's all-time Grand Slam record after winning his 20th Major title at the French Open, has never won it all at the Nitto ATP Finals.
Nadal has had deep runs at The O2 Arena but it has never resulted in him winning a title there as he ended runner-up at the tournament in 2010 and 2013. The Spaniard is now aiming to lift his maiden Nitto ATP Finals title at the age of 34.
"When you set the bar so high, when you look at his record indoors and sort of say, “Oh, it’s not too good”,' Henman said. "But he’s won a Masters series indoors, he’s been in the final of the ATP Finals on two occasions I think.
He’s still got a very good chance. "I don’t think he’s the favourite this coming tournament but he’ll still fancy his chances if he’s fit and healthy."