The ATP Finals are the end-of-season icing on the cake with massive prize money for the top eight male players of the year. Since 2006 it’s been won every year by either Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer apart from in 2009 when Nikolay Davydenko got the prize. Novak Djokovic has a lot to prove this year but will 2016 be the year that British hope Andy Murray finally makes his mark in this tournament and really gives the O2 crowd something to cheer about? Let’s look at the likely contenders in a field that is missing both Federer and Nadal.
“Andy Murray” (CC BY 2.0) by Ian D
Murray Chasing More Glory
It’s been another hugely successful year for Andy Murray and he may well be rewarded with finally making it to number one in the world rankings. Even if that doesn’t happen this year he believes it could in 2017. Recent months have seen the Scot find a high level of consistency including winning his second Wimbledon title. At the time of writing he’s 15/8 at Bet365 tennis betting to win Wimbledon in 2017. Before that, becoming world number one is really important to him but he’d also love to end 2016 with a win at the O2.
Murray may be the home favourite but his track record in this tournament is rather poor. The Finals have been held at the O2 for the past seven years but Andy hasn’t even made the final let alone win it. Can he change that this year?
He may well be the form player at present but all those matches must surely take their toll sometime soon. At least in this tournament you can lose a match in the round-robin stages and still qualify for the semi-finals. That may well work to his advantage if tiredness does set in.
“Novak Djokovic” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Christian Mesiano
Beware the Djokovic Fightback
It’s been a rather up-and-down year for Novak Djokovic and by the time he arrives in London, he might not even be the world number one. His year started well enough as he won the Australian and French titles. All those wins took a toll on him though and he suffered an early exit at Wimbledon and failed to win the US Open too, losing to Stan Wawrinka in the final. You dare write him off at your peril though: nothing stirs a great champion more than seeing his position at the top of the tree being threatened and Djokovic is determined to maintain his top ranking. Novak has won this title for the past four years and a handful of straight titles is certainly within his grasp.
Watch Out for Wawrinka
Tennis isn’t all about Djokovic and Murray, Stan Wawrinka has also had an impressive year culminating in his win at the US Open. On his day he’s a match for anyone and might not be as tired as either Murray or Djokovic. He’s a consistent player and will be Switzeland’s sole representative here with Roger Federer not taking part. A lot might depend on his draw but he beat Djokovic to win the US Open and that must have done his confidence a lot of good.
Surprises can happen but it really is hard to look past these three players when it comes to choosing who will be going into Christmas with another massive pay check in their pocket.