Novak Djokovic Eyes Record As Rafael Nadal Seeks First ATP Finals Crown

Novak Djokovic Eyes File As Rafael Nadal Seeks First ATP Finals Crown

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Novak Djokovic is bidding to win the ATP Finals for a record-equalling sixth time as Rafael Nadal chases the most important title lacking from his glittering resume at London’s O2 Area. The highest eight out there gamers within the males’s rankings — with Roger Federer absent — will compete on the end-of-season match, which begins on Sunday behind closed doorways regardless of a coronavirus lockdown in England. The 2 round-robin teams have been named Tokyo 1970 and London 2020 on the 50th anniversary of the primary staging of the occasion.

World primary Djokovic is in Group Tokyo alongside Daniil Medvedev, 2018 winner Alexander Zverev and Argentine debutant Diego Schwartzman.

Second-seed Nadal will compete in opposition to defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem, and Andrey Rublev, who’s showing for the primary time, in Group London.

The 4 best-placed gamers from the round-robin stage will progress to the semi-finals of the occasion, happening in London for the ultimate 12 months earlier than a transfer to Turin.

Six-time champion Federer, recovering from knee surgical procedure, is essentially the most notable absentee after a worldwide tennis season truncated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

5-time champion Djokovic, who lately equalled Pete Sampras’s document of six year-end primary finishes, has misplaced simply three matches this season, with a type of his default on the US Open.

The Serbian, who has not received the London occasion since 2015, stated he was seeking to finish his season on a excessive on the elite eight-man occasion.

“Coming into the match and realizing that I’ve clinched the year-end primary releases a few of the stress, undoubtedly,” he stated.

“However on the similar time it would not change what I hope to attain on this match and why I am right here.

“I actually wish to win each single match that I get to play and attempt to get my palms on the trophy and I would like this trophy as a lot as anyone.”

Nadal drought

Nadal, who pulverised Djokovic within the French Open ultimate final month to tug degree with Federer on 20 Grand Slams, has certified for the ATP Finals for a document 16 consecutive years

The Spanish world quantity two is nicely conscious of his shortcomings on indoor laborious courts — solely considered one of his 86 trophies has come on the floor.

“I believe I’m able to play somewhat bit higher the final couple of years indoors than what I did in the beginning of my profession indisputably however that is the numbers and I can not say one thing completely different,” stated the 34-year-old two-time finalist.

“I hope to alter that this week.”

Regardless of his lack of indoor success, the shortened season may rely in Nadal’s favour — he has been compelled to withdraw from the ATP Finals six occasions beforehand.

Final 12 months’s winner Tsitsipas, who beat Thiem within the ultimate, comes into the match after early exits in Vienna and Paris.

“Very blissful to be again, that is for certain,” stated the Greek world quantity six. “Yearly I get to expertise being again right here is thrilling.

“It is like a gathering spot for those who had an excellent 12 months to be again right here, have fun their laborious work, their dedication to the game. I am very privileged to be a part of it.”

Austria’s Thiem broke his Grand Slam duck on the US Open in September, beating Zverev within the ultimate, and the world quantity three stated he now felt as comfy on laborious courts as he does on clay.

Zverev, who has received two titles this season, has been dogged in latest weeks by home assault allegations made by a former girlfriend however he insists they’re unfaithful.

“Whereas I very a lot remorse that these accusations are made, I’ve to stay to my preliminary factor of them being simply unfaithful and proceed to disclaim them,” stated the German.

Medvedev, who misplaced all three matches on his debut in London final 12 months, comes into the match as one of many kind horses after profitable final week’s Paris Masters.

Promoted

Rublev, who has had a breakthrough season, profitable 5 titles, and world quantity 9 Schwartzman full the sector.

The ATP Finals additionally options the highest eight doubles groups. The highest seeds are US Open champions and French Open finalists Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares.

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