Mobilise the last forces and focus on every ball. From Sunday, this year’s best eight singles and doubles players will be in Turin for the ATP Finals.
Novak Djokovic will have to overcome seven young guns if he wants to end a successful year with another title. The Croatian duo Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic are the pair to beat in the doubles.
For the past 12 years the finals have been held in the London O2 Arena. Will now turn to Turin in Italy’s most prominent sports arena, the Pala Alpitour.
Last year, Daniil Medvedev won the event, beating Dominic Thiem 4-6 7-6 and 6-4. The Austrian will not compete this year due to an injury.
Other participants from that Finals, Diego Schwartzman and Rafael Nadal, are also not taking part this year. The Argentine failed to qualify while Nadal is still injured.
The eight players who will battle for the title are: Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini, Hubert Hurkacz, and Casper Ruud.
They have been divided into two groups of four, in which they will play against the other three athletes.
The two best players from each group will advance to the semi-finals, and the winners of these matches will fight for the title.
In the green group are Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Casper Ruud.
If No. 1 seed Djokovic wins the ATP Finals, he will match Federer’s record of six titles. The 34-year-old has been playing at the peak of his powers this year, winning three Grand Slams and two ATP tournaments.
2019 Finals winner, Tsitsipas slipped to fourth place after an early exit in the Paris Masters but managed to qualify with confidence thanks to his two titles. Notably, the Greek won 6-3 6-3 against Rublev in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters.
Rublev has won 48 matches in 2021 to earn his place in the ATP Finals. The 24-year-old won in Rotterdam, beating Tsitsipas and Murray along the way to win his eighth career title and achieve a fifth-place ranking.
At 22, Ruud is the youngest participant and the first Norwegian to make an ATP Finals. He can look back fondly on a remarkably successful 2021 season, in which he won five titles and achieved a career-highest ranking of eighth.
The red group is made up of Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini and Hubert Hurkacz.
Defending champion Medvedev had an excellent campaign at the last ATP Finals when he went undefeated in London to take the title.
The Russian has had a year to remember in which he won his maiden Grand Slam at the US Open, defeating Djokovic 6-4 6-4 6-4.
This is Zverev’s fifth consecutive Finals appearance. The 24-year-old has had a positive year, winning Olympic gold and four titles, most recently, the Vienna Open.
The German will be aiming to replicate his 2018 ATP Finals campaign in which he beat Djokovic 6-4 6-3 in the final.
Berrettini, one of the unused substitutes from the last Finals, secured his qualification with a seventh-place ranking. The Italian won two titles in 2021 and will be eager to impress in front of his home crowd.
Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz made the final qualification spot in ninth place after he reached the semi-finals at the Paris Masters.
The 24-year-old has won three titles this year, including a victory at the Miami Masters, where he beat Jannik Sinner.
From a British point of view, Cameron Norrie did not manage to qualify despite winning the Indian Wells Masters in October. But, as the second substitute, he can still speculate on an appearance.
Things look better in the doubles with Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares qualifying as well as Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram with a second-place ranking.
However, the all-Croatian doubles team of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic are clear favourites going into the ATP doubles Finals. Both are playing their best tennis and could end their season with a tenth title in Turin.
In the singles, Djokovic is, without doubt, the strong favourite. His performances this season have shown that he is still the best in the world.
Medvedev is the biggest challenger with the best record against the Serb. The Russian has four wins to Djokovic’s six. Zverev has also won against the number one this year.
They have proved he is beatable, but they will have to mount a massive effort to topple the man who is currently on top of the tennis world.