The final event of the ATP season sees the top 8 players from 2016 play off for the Year-End Championship. This year we see some new faces to the event and a few notable absentees through injury. Here’s the line-up and my thoughts on their chances this week…
- Andy Murray (GBR) – Murray is in career best form at the moment and has just become the World Number 1. He has a perfect opportunity to better his previous best showing which was in the semi-finals and even win the title in front of his home crowd.
- Novak Djokovic (SRB) – Novak has won the last 4 World Tour Finals and he will be gunning for a record-equalling 6th title. His form is probably not as strong as it was this time last year but I still expect him to do very well. The only man in this year’s field who has previously won the title.
- Stan Wawrinka (SUI) – Stan doesn’t seem to produce the same results in the best-of-3 format of the game as he does in the best-of-5 format. He is definitely a chance this year but he will need to be switched on from the start of each match and can’t afford an off day.
- Milos Ranoic (CAN) – Always a difficult opponent indoors with his big serve and strong game. Pulled out of the Paris Masters with injury but that appeared to be precautionary. If he serves well, he will be hard to beat in the tie-breaks.
- Kei Nishikori (JPN) – May struggle to make it past the round-robin stage, he is definitely in the tougher group and will need to beat the likes of Murray, Wawrinka and Čilić. A comparative lack of firepower to that of his opponents may hurt him.
- Gaël Monfils (FRA) – The flamboyant Frenchman is having the best season of his career and he has been rewarded with a spot in the Finals for the first time. I think he’s got a great chance of progressing through the group stage to the semis, although consistency will be key for him.
- Marin Čilić (CRO) – An opponent that nobody would want to run into. Has a big game that is suited to indoors. Is hitting the ball well at the moment and defeated Djokovic for the first time ever in the Paris Masters just over a week ago.
- Dominic Thiem (AUT) – Thiem’s back half of the season has not been as strong as his first half but his is the beneficiary of a Rafael Nadal injury as he claims the final spot at this year’s finals. I think he is in the easier group but he will have his work cut out against Djokovic, Raonic and Monfils. Still has a great game and could ruffle a few feathers.
Winner: Novak Djokovic – He knows how to win this tournament and I think he has Murray’s measure. Will be hungry after losing the number 1 ranking.
Runner-Up: Andy Murray – Huge chance but I think Novak may be too strong for him. I expect him to top his group though.
Dark Horse: Marin Čilić – Tough opponent and in good form at the moment. Has a big game and can take it up to anybody. Indoor hard court should suit him.