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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday November 10, 2020


With the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals fast approaching, Tennis Now is here to bring you up to date with each of the eight players that will join the field in London. Scroll down for a breakdown of each player’s 2020 performance as well as their past history at the World Tour Finals.

1. Novak Djokovic, 33 years old

2020 record: 39-3, four titles (Australian Open, Dubai, Cincinnati, Rome)
ATP Finals years qualified: 13 (36-14)
ATP Finals titles: 5

Novak Djokovic has racked up milestones at an alarming rate in 2020, but his failure to capture either of the last two Grand Slams on offer have left a bit of a bad taste in his mouth. Now that he’s locked up his sixth year-end No.1 finish in 2020, the world No.1 will look to finish his season by joining Roger Federer at the top of the all-time ATP Finals titles list with six.

It has been five years since Djokovic capped off a run of four consecutive titles at the O2, but he has reached the final in two of his last four appearances.

2 . Rafael Nadal, 34 years old

2020 record: 25-5, two titles (Acapulco, Roland Garros)
ATP Finals years qualified: 16 (18-14)
ATP Finals titles: 0

Let’s face it, November has never really been Rafael Nadal’s time of year to produce his best tennis. He’s barely won half of his matches at the ATP finals and lost the only two finals he has played (in 2010 to Federer and in 2013 to Djokovic) at this event. So what will the great Spaniard have left in 2020? Working in his favor is the fact that he has logged far less frequent flier miles in 2020. With just 30 matches under his belt, Nadal is probably more ready to give a strong effort than he has been in recent years, without a long trail of battles left lagging behind him.

With relatively fresh legs, the primary concern becomes: what type of form can Nadal play himself into? He didn’t look all that bad at Paris last week, where he reached the quarterfinals before falling to Alexander Zverev in straight sets. His challenge will be to gear up his return game, something that he was unable to do with regularity in Paris.

3. Dominic Thiem, 27 years old

2020 record: 22-7, one title (US Open)
ATP Finals years qualified: 4 (6-8)
ATP Finals titles: 0

Dominic Thiem has pronounced himself in good health after skipping the Paris Masters with a foot injury, and the Austrian will look to put the cherry on top of a season that saw him break through and finally reach the ultimate goal of claiming a Grand Slam title.

Last year at the ATP Finals Thiem made it all the way to a third-set tiebreaker in the final before yielding to the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas. It was further proof that the Austrian’s game has evolved enough on the hard courts to make him a formidable threat on the surface against any level of completion.

If his foot is indeed healthy, expect Thiem to be in the mix for a semifinal spot. He’s a player that is very much committed to expanding his influence and proving that his US Open title was more than a mere opportunistic fluke.

4. Daniil Medvedev, 24 years old

2020 record: 23-10, one title (Paris)
ATP Finals years qualified: 2 (0-3)
ATP Finals title: 0

Russia’s Daniil Medvedev made his first appearance at the ATP Finals in 2019 while running on fumes at the back end of a brilliant 2019 season that saw him reach nine finals, including six in succession in the second half of the season.

He blew a match point and a 5-1 double-break lead against Nadal in his second match at last year's Nitto ATP Finals, and that was pretty much it from Medvedev in London. He finished 0-3 and, furthermore, didn’t meet expectations for much of 2020 either. But last week in Paris we saw the juggernaut Medvedev for the first time in a long time and the result was a captivating run to a third Masters 1000 title and a reminder to the world that Medvedev is still very much capable of being a force among the elite.

He could be a factor in London, and if his stellar form continues, could emerge with the trophy.

5. Stefanos Tsitsipas, 22 years old

2020 record: 28-12, one title (Marseille)
ATP Finals years qualified: 2 (4-1)
ATP Finals titles: 1

Last year’s champion at the ATP Finals hasn’t exactly backed up the promise in 2020, but it isn’t as though Stefanos Tsitsipas has had a horrible season. He reached the semifinals at Roland Garros and even pushed World No.1 Djokovic to a fifth set while there. That performance in Paris was even more impressive when viewed through the lens of his failure at the US Open, where he failed to convert six match points before bowing out to Borna Coric in a heartbreaking third-rounder.

That his season didn’t spiral out of control from there is a plus mark in Tsitsipas’ category.

He’ll not be a favorite to defend his title, but Tsitsipas can most certainly make a statement to the field if he finds a way to make a go of it. Djokovic and Nadal are the two power brokers of men’s tennis at the moment, and the other six players of the field are all trying to expand their influence. Big performances at the biggest events matter the most and here is a chance for Tsitsipas to send another statement to his peers.

6. Alexander Zverev, 23 years old

2020 record: 27-9, two titles (Cologne 1, Cologne 2)
ATP Finals years qualified: 3 (7-5)
ATP Finals titles: 1

Alexander Zverev, strange as it seems, has found a way to play his best tennis just as his personal life has started to crumble around him. The German has taken his game to the next level at the same time he has learned that one of his ex-girlfriends is pregnant with his child, while another claims to have been abused by him during their relationship, which ended late last year.

That's quite the double-bomb, and it's a wonder that Zverev can compete at at all right now, let alone play at such a high level. Zverev has defiantly denied the abuse allegations and made plans for fatherhood, and all the while he has been in scintillating form. He won both titles in Cologne and reached the final in Paris, before Medvedev stormed back and stopped his winning streak at 12.

With his big serve and heavy game, Zverev has already proven that he can be a champion in London. He did that in 2018, and if personal problems don’t finally start to bleed into his performance, he has the potential to do it again.

7. Andrey Rublev, 23 years old

2020 record: 40-8, five titles (Doha, Adelaide, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Vienna)
ATP Finals years qualified: 1 (0-0)
ATP Finals titles: 0

The most consistent player of the 2020 ATP season has been Andrey Rublev in many ways. The 23-year-old leads the tour in titles (5) and victories (40) and has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a deserving member of the Top 10. But can he hang with the elite?

It might be tough for Rublev this year, with all those matches under his belt and the fatigue that comes with playing 48 matches in a five-month span (not counting the quarantine period). Perhaps more important than pushing for the title is just the experience that Rublev will gain in London. He’ll get at least three matches on one of the sports’ biggest stages against the game’s elite. While he is gunning for victories he can also process what he’s experienced and take it with him so he can continue the rapid ascension that has made him such a force to be reckoned with already on tour.

8. Diego Schwartzman, 28 years old

2020 record: 25-12, zero titles
ATP Finals years qualified: 0 (0-0)
ATP Finals titles: 0

Diego Schwartzman finally broke through with a Top 5 win in Rome (he was 0-22 against the Top 5), when he upset Nadal for the biggest win of his career, and he proved that it was no fluke when he knocked off Thiem in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros to reach his first major semifinal. It’s been an eye-opening season for one of the tour’s most exciting—and most endearing—players.

Winning in London will be an uphill battle for Schwartzman. He’d be better off if the event was held on slow, soggy clay this year, but whatever happens, he’ll be eager for the shot to show what he’s got on the big stage. If ever there was a contestant with nothing to lose at this event, it is Diego Schwartzman. Expect him to play his boldest and biggest tennis in London.


 

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