Nitto ATP Finals 2021
The Nitto ATP Finals is the most prestigious tournament of the year as only the highest-ranked players can participate. Every tennis player's dream is to get in, they are working all year long to qualify but not many can make it.
Eight players compete at the tournament, with two named alternates. Players receive places in the following order of precedence:
- First, the top 7 players in the ATP Race to Turin on the Monday after the final tournament of the ATP Tour, that is, after the Stockholm Open.
- Second, up to two 2021 Grand Slam tournament winners ranked anywhere 8th–20th, in ranking order
- Third, the eighth ranked player in the ATP rankings
In the event of this totaling more than 8 players, those lower down in the selection order become the alternates. If further alternates are needed, these players are selected by the ATP. source
Novak Djokovic was able to secure his place in July, next were Medvedev and Tsitsipas in September, the next 3 needed an extra month and the last two, Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz got in the last minute.
Big names like Nadal and Federer are missing from the board. They have already finished this season, both dealing with injuries. Nadal could have made a difference if healthy, Federer not so much as he's spent so much out of court that can't keep up with these young players.
The tournament started with a huge shock on the 14th November. Alexander Zverev met the Italian Matteo Berettini. These are two players representing the younger generation but between the two there is a 5 ATP place difference and it was kind of obvious who is going to win. The outcome was what we expected but not the way it was expected.
Berettini lost the first set in a tie-break, which is always painful for the loser, but in the same time it is admirable as he put up a good fight. Then he had to withdraw after the first game in the second set due to a leg injury. Put yourself in his shoes, what can be more painful? You get to the final act and can't play it till the end.
The next day it was the Greek's turn to do the same in a different way. Stefanos Tzitsipas met Andrei Rublev, they played two sets, both won by the Russian to 4 - 6, 4 - 6. Tsitsipas is suffering from an elbow injury and decided to give his place to others as he knew he could not play at the required level. This is now the Italian Jannik Sinner and the Brit Cameron Norrie got a chance to participate.
Unfortunately this is the 11th month and top players who have played most of the tournaments from the beginning to the end have been put to test and this is when injuries appear. I truly hope no other player gets injured as we need them healthy.
So far things have been working out the way it has been expected. Ranking rules. Daniil Medvedev was able to win against Hubert Hurkacz, in three sets though as Hurkacz won the fist one to a tie-break.
Novak Djokovic had to face Casper Ruud on the 15th of November and had a difficult first set which ended in a tie break, but the Serb had no problem winning it, as well as the next set.
Tuesday brought us Jannik Sinner and Hubert Hurkacz, another interesting match, which showed who's superior of the two as the Italian won the first two sets to 6 - 2, 6 - 2. Poor Hurkacz, he must have felt terrible as he is usually capable of more but that was not his day.
As the tournament advances, it is inevitable for the top players to meet and this is what happened next on Tuesday. Daniil Medvedev had the chance to shine his talent against one of his rivals, the German Alexander Zverev. We all know they will be No. 1, and No. 2 very soon, but we don't know yet who's going to lead the ranking list. So far it looks like Medvedev is the better player as he manages to win most of the times. Medvedev lost the first set and had to play two tie-breaks in the next two sets. It wasn't an easy win as he needed three sets and the extra energy wasted for the third set may cost him later.
Novak Djokovic's next victim yesterday was the Russian Andrey Rublev. Poor guy is not ready for world No. 1 yet. He lost to 6 - 3, 6 - 2 which must have been frustrating. He needs to get better.
Today was Alexander Zverev's turn to beat Hubert Hurkacz. Again, poor guy lost to 6 - 2, 6 - 4. Just as Rublev, Hurkacz needs more experience.
Later today we're going to have the chance to enjoy the match between Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner. No doubt that Medvedev is in a better position, but as we know, this doesn't mean much as anything is possible.
It's too early to speculate about the winner of the tournament, although i guess Djokovic has the most chance. If not, then Medvedev. Let's see.