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Ricky’s Preseason Predictions For The Eight-Man Field • 2020 Nitto ATP Tennis Finals

By Ricky Dimon

The 2019 installment was arguably the best year-end championship since it moved to London back in 2009. What will the Nitto ATP Finals do for an encore in 2020–the last time it is held inside the O2 before moving to Turn?

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and second-ranked Novak Djokovic should be locks barring injuries. Will Roger Federer play enough–and win enough–to join the party? Could another veteran such as Andy Murray, Juan Martin Del Potro, or Stan Wawrinka make a triumphant return? And who will the representatives be from the younger generation?

Those questions will soon be answered. For now, it’s time to predict the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals eight-man fied–in order.

1. Rafael Nadal – If Nadal can go through another year in reasonably good health, there is no reason why he can’t add two more Grand Slams to his haul. That would likely be enough to finish No. 1–again–given that he also has three clay-court Masters 1000s and at least one clay-court 500 available to his schedule. Nadal finally wrapped up a season with his body intact and his confidence sky-high, so he heads into 2020 with a boatload of momentum.

2. Novak Djokovic – Injury issues have popped up in recent years, some worse than others. They were never terrible in 2019, but Djokovic retired from a U.S. Open fourth-round showdown against Wawrinka and he was eliminated in round-round robin action at the ATP Finals after temporarily recovering from a shoulder problem to win in Tokyo and Paris. The second-ranked Serb is the most consistent player on tour, but can he capture two slams again?

3. Dominic Thiem – Like Nadal, Thiem benefits from a looooooong clay-court swing. That will once again allow him to pick up a ton of points in April and May, plus he should be a heavy favorite to win the Rio de Janeiro 500 in February. Perhaps most important, however, is the fact that Thiem is now a real force on hard courts. The Austrian is the defending champion in Indian Wells and finished runner-up inside the O2 Arena.

4. Stefanos Tsitsipas – From a head-to-head standpoint, Tsitsipas is the best of the outsiders against the Big 3. He thrives on the big stage (as we saw in wins over Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer plus his Nitto ATP Finals triumph), and where do the majority of ranking points come from? The big stages, of course. The Greek’s game can work very well on all surfaces, so there is no part of the schedule on which he should struggle.

5. Roger Federer – How many more years does Federer have left, and how much does have left in the tank for those years? At 37 and 38, he had plenty left in 2019–when he came within one point of winning Wimbledon and finished third in the rankings. The Swiss Maestro may get passed by one or two younger competitors due to a relatively short schedule and understandable inconsistency at 38 and 39 years old, but he remains one of the best there is.

6. Alexander Zverev – Zverev was wrongly accused of enduring a bad year in 2019, but he still qualified for the year-end championship without much trouble. The 22-year-old German also ended the season playing his best tennis and the recent South American tour with Federer should serve as an inspiration heading into 2020. The only knock on Zverev–which is fair–is his ongoing struggles at slams. He will likely get the monkey off his back soon.

7. Denis Shapovalov – It wouldn’t be that big of a surprise to see at least seven of the 2019 participants remain the same. But it also wouldn’t be shocking to see at least two newcomers make a breakthrough. At just 20 years old, Shapovalov has already delivered two outstanding seasons. The Canadian was especially impressive toward the end of 2019 under new coach Mikhail Youzhny, leading his country to the Davis Cup final.

8. Andrey Rublev – Will there be another Matteo Berrettini in 2020? The odds, of course, are against it. But Rublev has a chance to make that kind of leap–one that would be far less surprising than Berrettini’s in 2019. He is up to 23rd in the rankings at 22 years old despite a fair amount of injuries. The Russian’s second half of this past season featured a blowout of Federer in Cincinnati, a fourth-round showing at the U.S. Open, and a Davis Cup semifinal run.


9. Daniil Medvedev – Medvedev is a trendy pick to win a Grand Slam in 2020 and finish No. 3. But he is overworked and may endure a bit of a “sophomore slump” following his breakout 2019.

10. Alex de Minaur – De Minaur is coming, already up to 18th at 20 years old. But he will have to do better at slams and 1000s in order to qualify for London and he may not have the weapons to topple the world’s best at those big events.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.


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