The eight top ranked players at the end of the season have qualified for the World Tour Finals. The Finals will be played at the O2 Arena between November 15th and 22nd.
Novak Djokovic has won the title for the past 3 seasons. The final last year was his easiest as he didn’t need to play a single point. Roger Federer reached that final but he had to withdraw with a back problem.
The eight players are put into two groups. This year the groups are not Group A and Group B. This time we have Group Stan Smith and Group Ilie Nastase. The ATP decided to honour former champions by naming the groups after them.
The draw has put Djokovic and Federer in the same group with Berdych and Nishikori.
Murray will be joined in his group by Wawrinka, Nadal and Ferrer.
Djokovic goes into the tournament as the favourite. He has had an amazing season and has only failed to reach the final in 1 tournament in 2015. His level of tennis has been breathtaking at times and he has maintained a consistently high standard.
Federer has the strongest record at the season end finals. He has won the tournament 6 times and has been runner up 3 times. He has also played some excellent tennis this season but has not matched Djokovic’s consistency. Losses to Ramos, Kyrgios and Seppi were unexpected. Other losses have come to Isner and Monfils. Djokovic took him down a few times too!
Murray has made the semi finals before. His tournament last year was disappointing and saw him win just one of his group matches.
Murray has a strong record over Ferrer and has beaten Nadal in their two 2015 meetings. That included on Nadal’s best surface in Madrid. He holds a 9-6 record over Wawrinka. They haven’t played since 2013 and Wawrinka came out on top that season with a 2-1 record over the Scot.
Wawrinka has a terrible career record against Nadal and trails 13-3 but the Wawrinka has won 3 of their 4 most recent matches. His last win was in Paris earlier this month.
Wawrinka has got to the semi finals in both his visits to the Tour Finals. He lost to Federer last year in a third set tie break and to Djokovic in 2013. He looks to be Murray’s main threat in their group.
Nadal’s form at the end of the season was much improved. He has never won this title but has been runner up twice. If Murray or Wawrinka slip up then he could scrape into the semi finals.
David Ferrer looks to have his work cut out in this group. He has losing records against Murray and Nadal and whilst he leads the series with Wawrinka he has lost 3 of their last 4 meetings.
In the other group it is likely that Djokovic and Federer will control things.
Berdych has a 2-20 record against Djokovic and a 4-16 record against Federer. His confidence won’t be helped by the fact that he also has a losing record against Nishikori with 2 wins and 4 defeats!
Nishikori has the best chance of challenging Djokovic and Federer. He beat Djokovic the 2014 US Open semi final. He also beat Federer in Miami last season on a hard court. Nishikori’s tournament could be affected by injury. He has worked on his fitness over the last year but injuries have troubled him recently.
Semi Final predictions
Barring injury or illness Djokovic is almost guaranteed to reach the semis. The Round Robin format often keeps things interesting but I don’t expect him to lose 2 matches.
Federer is an obvious second favourite but whilst he has a superb record at the Tour Finals he can have a bad day when it is least expected. If he is on top form Nishikori and Berdych may take a set from him but no more.
Wawrinka loves the big matches and knows his way to the semis. He has good record against the other players in his group and he is probably the only person who can prevent himself reaching a 3rd semi final.
Murray doesn’t do things the easy way. Superb one day and poor the next. It is hard to imagine him not being highly motivated but at the back of his mind he knows he has the Davis Cup final on the horizon. He is vital to Britain’s chances. I can see him having one poor match in the group stage but will do enough to get to the semi finals.
I think Wawrinka will try to do just enough in his opening two matches but will head this group. That would mean Murray meets Djokovic in the semi final.
Predicted semi finals:
Djokovic v Murray
Federer v Wawrinka
Djokovic v Wawrinka