The elite players of Men’s Tennis take a welcome 6 days off this week to reenergise for the ATP Finals, which start in London on Sunday.
Only the the top-8 players of the season’s ATP rankings have qualified for the prestigious event, and the players split into two groups for the early stages, with the winner of Group A playing the runner-up in Group B in the semi-finals and vice-versa.
Group A: Djokovic, Wawrinka, Berdych and Cilic
Group B: Federer, Murray, Raonic and Nishikori
Group A Winner
Djokovic is a best-priced 8/15 to win Group A, which is hardly surprising when you consider he has an overall record of 41 wins from 46 matches against his three opponents.
5 points Djokovic to win Group A @ 8/15
Group B Winner
If, as expected, Djokovic does win Group A, winning Group B will be paramount to avoiding him in the semi-finals – which should prove motivation enough for Roger Federer (11/8) to make sure he tries to win all three games, as should the outside chance that he can still finish the season as world no.1 if he wins here and Djokovic makes an earlier than expected exit.
Andy Murray may also be fancying his chances after claiming three titles in six-weeks. However, he’s overlooked as he’s yet to reach the final here, has not beater Federer here, or beat any of his group opponents this year.
Raonic will also be feeling confident after knocking Federer out of the ATP Paris Masters in straight sets, though he’ll do well to serve as prolifically as he did there, and Federer may have been a little jaded after winning his two previous tournaments.
3 points Roger Federer to win Group B @ 11/8
Group Winners Double
Djokovic and Federer have won the last four ATP finals between them and, as both are in good form, and will want to avoid each other in the semis, the double for them both to win their groups looks well worth an investment.
2 points Double: Djokovic Group A @ 8/15 & Federer Group B @ 11/8
Having narrowed it down to Djokovic (evens) and Federer (7/2) – it’s a difficult choice to choose between them.
At 33, Federer is very much the older statesman, whilst Djokovic knows he needs to win just three matches at the O2 to retain his number one world ranking. The question is will Djokovic take his foot off the gas once he’s secured those three wins?
My gut feeling, after watching Djokovic in Paris, is he won’t. Despite becoming a dad for the first time the week before, he looked fresh and focused, is likely to have by far the easier time getting to the final, and is taken to notch a hat-trick of O2 victories. He’s also not been defeated indoors for two years. Get on!
5 points Djokovic @ evens