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Tennis News • Djokovic with Tsitsipas, Medvedev with Zverev in Nitto ATP Finals Groups

TURIN, ITALY: (L-R) Andrey Rublev, Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini, Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev are seen ahead of the Nitto ATP Tour Finals on November 12, 2021 in Turin. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images for ATP)

By Ricky Dimon

Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas are familiar foes. Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev are the same. Both rivalries will add at least one more chapter at the upcoming Nitto ATP Finals.

The year-end championship draw ceremony was held earlier this week and the result is a group featuring Djokovic, Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, and Casper Ruud. Joining Medvedev and Zverev in the other round-robin quartet are Matteo Berrettini and Hubert Hurkacz.

Djokovic is 6-2 lifetime against Tsitsipas, 1-0 against Ruud, and he has surprisingly never faced Rublev. The top-seeded Serb, who came within one match (the U.S. Open final) of capturing the calendar-year Grand Slam, is 38-16 for his career at the year-end championship with five titles.

“I do feel fresher because I haven’t played as much as in previous years, in terms of tournaments,” Djokovic noted. “I did have a lot of exhausting events, particularly in the Grand Slams, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally.

“[This year has been] unlike any other that I have had so far, because of the pressure of the achievement and the historical achievement. It did take a lot out of me. I felt like I needed a break in order to rejuvenate and get ready for the end of the season.

“I started well with the Paris win and I hope to do well in Turin…. You have to play at a high intensity and play at your best. Sometimes you don’t have a lot of fuel in the tank, but you have to play five top matches to win this title; it requires a lot of energy.”

TURIN, ITALY: L-R Andrey Rublev of Russia, Alexander Zverev of Germany, Matteo Berrettini of Italy, Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Daniil Medvedev of Russia, Stefanos Tsitipas of Greece, Casper Ruud of Norway and Hubert Hurkacz of Poland ahead of the Nitto ATP Tour Finals at on November 12, 2021 in Turin. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for ATP )

That is exactly what Medvedev did last fall, beating Zverev, Djokovic, Diego Schwartzman, Rafael Nadal, and Dominic Thiem en route to the title inside in the O2 Arena. The 2020 event marked the 12th and final year it was played in London before it moved to its current location in Turin, Italy.

“Tennis is so much about ups and downs, gaining of confidence,” Medvedev said. “Coming into Paris last year I felt completely out of shape, low on confidence, and not sure what I could achieve in the last two tournaments of the year. I found my tennis and confidence to win both of them, and of course I beat Novak, Rafa, and Dominic at the Finals–three really tough matchups.”

The second-ranked Russian will match up with Zverev, Berrettini, and Hurkacz in the group stage this time around. He is 5-5 vs. Zverev, 2-0 vs. Berrettini, and 1-1 vs. Hurkacz.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.