The 2016 ATP World Tour Finals will again be hosted by the O2 Arena, the venue used since 2009, and played as usual on indoor hardcourts. It’s an event that has mainly been dominated by two players, with Roger Federer winning the 2010 and 2011 renewals, before finishing runner-up three times in the following four years – a period that has belonged to Novak Djokovic.
The tournament welcomes the best 8 players in the ATP world rankings that are available, and they then split into the Ivan Lendl Group and the John McEnroe Group. The two groups of four then play a round-robin format with first and second in each group progressing to the semi-finals, where the winner of each group plays the runner-up from the opposite group.
John McEnroe Group
Betting: Murray 8/11, Wawrinka 11/2, Kei Nishikori 6/1, Marin Cilic 13/2
New world number one Andy Murray, who has yet to make it to the final here, finds himself in the John McEnroe Group alongside Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic – which, on paper, looks by far the hardest of the two groups.
Murray’s head-to-head performances over his opponents is 9-7 Wawrinka, 7-2 Nishikori and 11-3 Cilic, however closer inspection suggests that winning this group is no foregone conclusion for him. Wawrinka has won their last 2 hard-court matches, Nishikori beat him in their last match in the US Open and here when they clashed in 2014, whilst Cilic beat him in the final in Cincinnati this year. Meanwhile, Wawrinka holds a 4-2 lead over Nishikori, and a 10-2 lead over Cilic, whilst Nishikori leads Cilic 7-5 – but Cilic has won the last 2 encounters. Any 2 from 4 is a possibility, but Wawrinka looks the value to win the group at 11/2.
Wawrinka To Win John McEnroe Group @ 11/2
Ivan Lendl Group
Betting: Djokovic 8/15, Raonic 6/1, Monfils 13/2, Thiem 8/1
There’s no doubt Djokovic hasn’t been the same player since completing his careers Grand Slam, and recent defeats against Del Potro (Olympics), Wawrinka (US Open), Bautista-Agut (Shanghai Masters) and Cilic (Paris) show he’s as vulnerable as he’s ever been in the last few seasons. However, this is one of his favourite events, a chance to show the world he’s still the best around, and he should stroll through a group against three opponents who hold no fears for him if head-to-heads are anything to go by. He leads Raonic 7-0, Monfils 13-1 and Thiem 3-0. Some will point to the fact that Cilic beat him in Paris after losing their previous 14 encounters but, whilst Cilic is in the form of his life, Raonic, Monfils and Thiem have all been struggling of late. 8/15 to top the group may not be the biggest price ever – but he’s been shorter to win actual tournaments – and big-hitters are likely to be shovelling it on by the wheelbarrow.
Djokovic To Win Ivan Lendl Group @ 8/15
2016 ATP World Tour Finals Outright
6/4 Djokovic isn’t a bad price to win the event, but he is likely to have a tougher semi-final match than whoever tops the John McEnroe Group. Therefore, an each-way bet on Wawrinka is recommended in the hope that he’ll top his group and avoid Djokovic in the semis. Even if they clash there, Wawrinka has won 3 of their last 7 matches so could still progress.
Wawrinka Each-Way @ 12/1 (1/3 odds 2 places)