South Africa

Novak Djokovic leads cast as London bids farewell to ATP Finals


In these straitened times prize money has also been slashed from last year’s total pot of $9 million to $5.7 million with an undefeated champion to pocket $1.56 million compared to the $2.6 million Tsitsipas earned despite losing one round-robin match.

Not that cash will be the motivator for world number one Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and debutants Andrey Rublev and Diego Schwartzman when the tournament’s 50th edition starts on Sunday.

Serbian Djokovic, 33, is guaranteed to end the year as number one for a sixth time, equalling Pete Sampras’s record.

World number one Novak Djokovic. Credit:AP

But the last of his five titles at the year-ender came in 2015 and, after his recent default in the U.S. Open and thrashing by Nadal in the French Open final, he will be eager to put the year to bed with a powerful statement.

Djokovic, denied the chance to defend his Wimbledon title this year when it was cancelled for the first time since World War II, can match the absent Roger Federer’s six ATP Finals titles. Nadal, incredibly, still awaits his first.

The Spanish 20-times Grand Slam champion has a relatively mediocre record in the event, his best runs being two runner-up finishes in London in 2010 and 2013.

His last two appearances ended in round-robin stage exits.

Rafael Nadal en route to victory in the French Open final last month.

Rafael Nadal en route to victory in the French Open final last month. Credit:AP

“Of course I wanted to win the tournament, but it’s always difficult,” Nadal, who has never had the benefit of contesting it on his favoured clay, said.

After the domination of Federer and Djokovic, who won 11 of the 13 editions between 2003 and 2015, the last three years in London has seen first-time winners in Grigor Dimitrov, Zverev and Tsitsipas and that sequence could continue.

Austrian world number three Thiem, the U.S. Open champion, was runner-up in 2019 and would love to cement his breakthrough year by winning the most prestigious title outside of the four Grand Slams.

Dominic Thiem.

Dominic Thiem.Credit:Getty Images

Medvedev, who will be joined this year by fellow Russian Rublev, also looks a good bet after warming up in style by winning last week’s Paris Masters, although on his debut last year he lost all three of his round-robin matches.

“Hopefully I can get some wins. I have no other goal than just to get some wins,” Medvedev, who lost to Nadal at the O2 last year despite leading 5-1 in the deciding set, said.

Rublev could be dangerous too, having won five titles this year, more than any other player. While Schwartzman recently cracked the top 10 for the first time at the age of 28.


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