The year end finals in London featured most of the top ATP players, and it was Alexander Zverev, the world #5, who came out the victor, upsetting #1 Novak Djokovic and handing him a second straight final defeat 6-4 6-3 as Zverev was dominant on serve and broke Djokovic when needed.
Zverev, who had previously complained of fatigue due to the length of the season, fell to Djokovic in his first match of the round robin portion of play, but came back to beat Marin Cilic, John Isner, and Roger Federer to reach the final without dropping a set in three nip and tuck matches. Djokovic beat Cilic, Isner, and Kevin Anderson largely thanks to a superior return game to reach the final. He’ll enter the 2019 season as the favorite for the Australian Open given his strong form to finish the year. Zverev will be hoping that the season ending tournament win will boost him in 2019.
Bryan/Sock defeated Herbert/Mahut in the doubles final
In the final full field ATP event of the season, Russia’s Karen Khachanov stunned Novak Djokovic for the biggest title of his young career.The 22 year old Khachanov defeated Djokovic 7-5 6-4 capping off a dominant week where he sailed past Filip Krajinovic, and Matt Ebden, edged John Isner in 3 sets, and then upset both Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem to reach the final. Khachanov had a career year in 2018 and will look ahead to 2019 to post even better results in the Grand Slams.
Djokovic beat Joao Sousa, Damir Dzumhur, Marin Cilic, and Roger Federer (in 3 sets) to reach the final, he’ll finish the season with 7 finals appearances.
Granollers/Ram defeated Rojer/Tecau in the doubles final
The second year of the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan saw Greek #1 Stefanos Tsitipas go undefeated in round robin play defeating Frances Tiafoe, Hubert Hurkacz, and Jaume Munar. Tsitipas then defeated Andrey Rublev and finalist Alex De Minaur in competitive contests to win the title of this exhibition style event. De Minaur was the other player to go 3-0 in round robin play, defeating Taylor Fritz, Liam Caruana, and Andrey Rublev to cap off a breakthrough 2018. His matches will be highly anticipated once the Australian swing fires up in January.
A sudden rise at the end of the season propelled Andy Murray to his first ever year end #1 ranking, and he capped it all off in a showdown with Novak Djokovic, the long time world #1 in the finals of the 2016 ATP World Tour Finals. In a 6-3 6-4 upset, Murray won just his second match of the season against Djokovic as the Serbian continued his late season slide, compared to his usually lofty standards.
Murray finished the year by winning 25 straight matches, a remarkable blitz that included two Masters titles, and six top 10 wins. He’s a fitting world #1 after claiming the Wimbledon title, and the Olympic gold medal this year, along with nine titles overall, and three Masters titles overall, across all of the ATP surfaces. It was quite special to him to be able to clinch the #1 ranking in front of a home crowd in London.
Djokovic finished the year with seven titles, including two Grand Slams and four Masters titles. He found form to defeat David Goffin, Milos Raonic, Dominic Thiem, and Kei Nishikori in the World Tour Finals. Murray beat Stan Wawrinka, Nishikori, Marin Cilic, and Raonic in a third set tiebreak.
Henri Kontinen and John Peers beat Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram in the doubles final. Bruno Soares and Jamie Murray finish the year as the top ranked doubles team, marking the first time brothers have been #1 in doubles and singles, with Andy and Jamie Murray achieving that feat. Nicolas Mahut is the world’s #1 doubles player in his own right.
The ATP top 10 in singles is Murray, Djokovic, Raonic, Wawrinka, Nishikori, Cilic, Gael Monfils, Thiem, Rafael Nadal, and Tomas Berdych, marking the first time players from different countries have made up the entire top 10.
Four players, Alexander Zverev, Borna Coric, Karen Khachanov and Taylor Fritz will finish the year inside the top 100 under the age of 21. Meanwhile the ATP continues to be a veteran’s sport, as sixteen players 33 years of age or older are inside the top 100.
2016 ATP World Tour Finals Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The final ATP tournament of the season, the year end celebration that is the World Tour Finals, takes place with a field of eight doubles teams, and eight singles players. Here is a look at the field in London with predictions for the final result of the year.
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
London, Great Britain
November 13-20, 2016
Surface: Indoor Hard
Prize Money: $7,500,000
Group 1: Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, Marin Cilic
Group 2: Novak Djokovic, Gael Monfils, Milos Raonic, Dominic Thiem
The new world #1 Andy Murray gets the far tougher group as Wawrinka, Nishikori, and Cilic are some of the most dangerous players in the field. World #2 Djokovic is in a group without any Grand Slam winners, and Raonic is probably the second toughest player in the group if he’s healthy.
Group 1 Predictions Murray d. Cilic in 3, Nishikori in 2, Wawrinka in 3 (3-0 in matches, 6-2 in sets) Cilic d. Nishikori in 3, Wawrinka in 3 (2-1 in matches, 5-4 in sets)
Nishikori d. Wawrinka in 3 (1-2 in matches, 3-4 in sets)
Wawrinka 0-3 in matches 3-6 in sets
Murray is on a red hot winning streak, and despite Cilic and Wawrinka likely being able to challenge him, I see him toughing out his matches. Cilic’s strong recent form should propel him to advance from the group, while Wawrinka struggled at the end of the season, and Nishikori looks to be the man in the middle.
Group 2 Predictions Djokovic d. Thiem in 2, Monfils in 2, Raonic in 3 (3-0 in matches, 6-1 in sets) Raonic d. Monfils in 3, Thiem in 2 (Raonic 2-1 in matches, 5-2 in sets)
Thiem d. Monfils in 3 (Thiem 1-2 in matches, 2-5 in sets)
Monfils 0-3 in matches, 2-6 in sets
Djokovic is in a weak group, so despite his recent struggles he should ease past Thiem and Monfils, and also beat Raonic. Presuming Raonic is healthy, he’ll be the favorite against Monfils and Thiem, both of whom struggled at the end of the season, despite being worthy contenders in the WTFs this year. Thiem should finish third in the group with a win over Monfils.
Murray d. Raonic in 2
Djokovic d. Cilic in 3
Murray and Djokovic should be the clear favorites to matchup in the final ATP match of the season.
Murray d. Djokovic in 3
Given Murray is playing better right now, I’m going to pick him to win the World Tour finals at home in London.
Novak Djokovic saw his winning streak since the US Open snapped just before he won 25 straight, in round robin play by Roger Federer, but he rebounded to win two straight matches over Rafael Nadal and Federer to capture his fifth overall and fourth straight World Tour Finals trophy. Djokovic has had a career best season with three Grand Slam titles, six Masters 1000 titles, and now another WTF’s trophy, finishing the season with an 81-6 record, and five of those six losses coming against top 5 players.
Novak rolled over Kei Nishikori and Tomas Berdych in his first two group matches, as they showed little belief they could overcome the world #1, Federer then shocked him 7-5 6-2, but Djokovic then beat Nadal and Federer without giving up more than four games in any one set, maximizing his game to finish strong.
Federer finishes the year as world #3, behind Andy Murray at #2, though at times he’s shown himself to be the clear #2 player even at 34. The Swiss maestro needed three sets against Nishikori but scored straight set wins over Berdych, and rival Stan Wawrinka along with the 1-1 record against Djokovic. A 63-11 record for the Swiss #1.
Wawrinka beat Andy Murray, and David Ferrer without dropping a set, but was beaten handily by Rafael Nadal along with Federer. He finishes 55-18 with a Grand Slam title and three additional ATP titles to his name, as he continues to perform near his best level at world #4.
Nadal finished the year strong with a 60-20 record overall (16-5 post US Open), and performed well on indoor hard, which is normally a weaker surface for him. It was a tough year at times for Rafa but the Spanish lefty took three titles and beat David Ferrer in three sets, along with Wawrinka, and Murray in the World Tour Finals, three quality wins. Next season Nadal should have every chance to get himself back into the top four after seeing his ranking slip to #5 now.
Rojer/Tecau takes doubles title without dropping a set
In the doubles season finale, Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau finish as the world #1 team after they ran a murders row of doubles competitors without dropping a set to win the title. Rojer/Tecau beat Ivan Dodig/Marcelo Melo, Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut, and Marcin Matkowski/Nenad Zimonjic before rolling past the Bryan Brothers and Florin Mergea/Rohan Bopanna in the final. Rojer and Tecau illustrate a changing in the guard with world class doubles as the Bryans are beginning to slip with age. Rojer/Tecau finish with three titles on the season.
2015 ATP World Tour Finals Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The final ATP tournament of the season is the Final Showdown in London where the top 8 players this season will battle on indoor hard courts, in matches that could set the tone for the 2016 ATP season that will begin in just over a month’s time.
ATP World Tour Finals
November 15-November 22, 2015
Prize Money: $7,000,000
Stan Smith Group
1: Novak Djokovic
3: Roger Federer
6: Tomas Berdych
8: Kei Nishikori
World #1 Novak Djokovic won three Grand Slams this season, and six Masters, enters the World Tour Finals as a clear favorite to take his fifth title in tournament. Djokovic has won four straight World Tour Finals events, and after a dominant fall season that saw him drop just one set in fifteen matches, he should be able to extend his winning streak in London.
Roger Federer looks to be Djokovic’s only challenge in this group, as he enters the Final Showdown with a 59-10 record on the season and six ATP titles, including a Masters title. Federer is 8-2 this Fall and an early exit in Paris may be just what he needed to recharge his batteries and prep himself for this tournament as a six-time Champion (including twice in London).
I would expect Federer and Djokovic to both win their matches over Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori. Berdych is 57-19 this year with two titles, his best season ever in terms of win total, but he’s been an inconsistent 12-4 this fall and doesn’t match-up well recently with the Serbian or the Swiss. Nishikori is 53-14 on the season with three titles but he’s struggled this Fall and hasn’t been healthy, thus I’d be surprised if he won a match in the group.
Smith Group Predictions Djokovic d. Federer, Berdych, and Nishikori in 2 sets
Federer d. Berdych in 2 sets, and Nishikori in 3 sets
Berdych d. Nishikori in 2 sets
Djokovic and Federer advance to the semifinals.
Ilie Năstase Group 2: Andy Murray
4: Stan Wawrinka
5: Rafael Nadal
7: David Ferrer
Home favorite Andy Murray has posted a fantastic 68-12 campaign this season and he’s far from finished as he has this tournament, and then the Davis Cup final against Belgium looming after that. The Brit took home four titles this season (including one Masters) and has only lost to Djokovic (x2) post US Open for a 9-2 record. Thus he should be prepared to do well here with fan support behind him, but the question is, will he want to rest up for the more important DC final.
Stan Wawrinka went 53-16 with three ATP titles and a Grand Slam this season as the veteran Swiss has cemented himself as a threat to the top players on tour, and part of the new “Big Four” (or “Big Five” if you still include Nadal). Wawrinka isn’t always consistent but with his lethal backhand and a 12-3 record post US Open he’s certainly a contender in London. His match with Murray will prove critical (Wawrinka has won the last two meetings), as to who gets out of this group.
The Murray vs. Wawrinka match is key because Rafael Nadal has caught fire this Fall and looks to be the other qualifier, whichever spot he claims in the standings. Rafa went 57-19 with three ATP titles this season and secured his Tour Finals participation with a 13-4 record post US Open. Nadal struggled at times this season but his game is markedly improved in recent weeks, and he appears to be putting together the form needed to get him off to a hot start in 2016. Nadal split meetings with Wawrinka this Fall, is 2-1 on indoor hard vs. Murray, and leads the final group participant David Ferrer 23-6 in their all-time h2h, as Nadal is generally superior to his fellow Spaniard.
Ferrer went 53-13 this season with five ATP titles as he continues to function as an under the radar battler at 33 years old, and a player who maximizes his natural talent and skill to excel. Ferrer is 15-3 this Fall and is also playing well, making this the toughest group to be in. He could well qualify and has a chance at an upset in any of his three matches, but given his peak level he’s still the underdog in this group by far.
Năstase Group Predictions Nadal d. Ferrer in 2, and Wawrinka in 3
Murray d. Ferrer in 2, and Nadal in 3
Wawrinka d. Murray in 3, Ferrer in 3
Nadal and Murray advance to the semifinals via the number of sets won tiebreaker.
Semis Djokovic d. Murray in 2
Federer d. Nadal in 3
Djokovic has won two straight against Murray, and dominates the h2h overall, I don’t see anyone being able tos top him in London, unless Wawrinka is able to face him. Federer won his only meeting with Nadal this Fall in Basel, it was a nip and tuck three setter, and I see Fed having an advantage on this surface in their rivalry.
Final Djokovic d. Federer in 2
Djokovic is 4-2 against Federer this season, and look for him to make that 5-2 as he should be able to continue to buzzsaw the competition. Federer is at times his most dangerous opponent but Djokovic has been at a level above recently.
World Tour Finals Doubles
The World Tour Finals doubles teams in the Ashe/Smith Group are Bob and Mike Bryan, Jamie Murray/John Peers, Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini, and Rohan Bopanna/Florin Mergea. In the Fleming/McEnroe group is Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau, Ivan Dodig/Marcelo Melo, Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut, and Marcin Matkowski/Nenad Zimonjic.
The defending champion Bryans, the greatest doubles specialist tandem of all-time, have six ATP titles this season (three of them are Masters titles), and they have four career World Tour finals crowns. It’s been a relatively down year for them at 42-14 but the 37 year old brothers have yet to show signs of a serious decline. Peers/Murray have two titles together this season as it’s been a breakthrough year for them as doubles specialists.
Fognini/Bolelli are the only singles focused pairing to make the Finals as a doubles team, they won the Australian Open at the start of the season together and have combined their fiery games and personalities to have success. The 35 year old Bopanna continues to represent Indian tennis with tremendous class and has two ATP titles this year (including one Masters) with his partner Mergea of Romania.
Rojer/Tecau are bidding to be the new #1 team in the world, as they won two titles together this season, including Wimbledon. Tecau is the other half of Romania’s doubles success, while Rojer is by far the most successful Dutch tennis player in recent years. Marcelo Melo is the current #1 ranked doubles player, and his veteran partner Ivan Dodig joins him in their own bid for world #1. Dodig used to have more success in singles but he’s trending towards becoming a doubles specialist. Melo/Dodig have three titles together this season including the French Open.
The 24 year old Herbert is the youngest tour finals qualifier, and he’s won two titles this season with his veteran compatriot Mahut, including the US Open. Herbert continues to improve in singles, and his big serving game is a good fit with Mahut’s throwback serve and volley, as the veteran Frenchman’s singles career is winding down. Lastly 39 year old Nenad Zimonjic is the oldest Tour Finals qualifier, and though he and his partner Marcin Matkowski have no titles to their name this season, Zimonjic has over 650 wins, and 53 titles in his career, as the Serbian knows how to win. Be sure to watch his doubles prowess before he calls it a career.
Tennis Atlantic hopes everyone enjoys the World Tour Finals action, and it’s been a pleasure providing you with coverage of the ATP World Tour for yet another exciting season of world-class tennis. Our full ATP coverage will continue next year.
The big Czech has been a top 10 mainstay for many years now, with 2009 being the last time Berdych finished outside of it. After making five consecutive Tour Finals appearances I think the 29 year olds consistent top 8 level will drop off a little In 2015. However I still believe his results will be good enough for him to sneak in the top 10 for another year.
9. Juan Martin Del Potro
This prediction may startle a few readers considering the wrist surgery that made him miss the majority of the 2014 season. However, I believe that Del Po may be back with a bang. It may take The Tower of Tandil a few months to re-find his level, but I believe he has the mental strength to get him through this period. Del Potro will rally towards the end of the season and squeak a top 10 finish.
8. Milos Raonic
The big serving Canadian was one of the most consistent performers of 2014, and I believe he will compete at a similar level in 2015. Despite the huge serve, I can’t see Raonic threating to win the big titles, and by default I have put him at number 8 in my predictions. He will have a solid year which sees him making the tour finals for a second straight year
‘Baby Fed’ finished 2014 on the cusp of the top ten, and looks set to make that breakthrough in 2015. Dimitrov has some big points to defend during grass season, but you’d expect the Bulgarian to make them up at other points in the season. Grigor will have a 2015 that will see some real high points and some real low points, which sees him finish 7th in the rankings and make his debut at the World Tour Finals.
6. Stan Wawrinka
Stan had his best season yet in 2014, winning the Australian Open, and Monte Carlo masters. Those performances led him to a 4th place finish in the rankings; His best year end ranking in his career. Lots of tennis fans believe The Swiss will have a huge fall from grace in 2015, and a few months ago I would have agreed. But Stan showed some good form at the end of the season, and I now believe he can have a decent 2015. I see a mix between his 2013 and 2014 season, which sees him finish in between the rankings he obtained in those two years.
5. Andy Murray
Murray’s ranking took a hit in the middle of 2014 as he failed to recapture his 2012-2013 form after a back injury. However, The Brit rallied some good results towards the end of the year to finish in a respectable 6th position. I don’t believe Murray will find his old form again, but he will be solid enough to finish the year just outside the top 4. His best results will likely come on grass and hard courts as he tends to struggle on clay.
4. Roger Federer
Federer had somewhat of a resurgence in 2014, which saw him make another Grand Slam final and finish the year as world number two. There is a lot of talk about Federer’s inevitable decline as he turns 34 in 2015. However I don’t see him declining too much just yet. His effortless game has seen him avoid major injuries throughout his career and I see the Swiss having one final solid year. In 2015 he will finish fourth with some good consistency throughout the year.
3. Kei Nishikori
The Japanese star finally broke into the top 8 in 2014 with a very good year. He was unlucky not to win a major title after losing in the finals of Madrid and The US Open. There has always been question marks over Kei’s health, but his talent has never been in doubt. I think 2015 is the time for Nishikori to establish himself amongst the elite. I believe a first Grand Slam and Masters 1000 title will be in order for the current world number 5, and that will see him into third in the rankings. Just not quite having the consistency of the two ahead of him.
2. Rafael Nadal
After appendix surgery saw him miss he end of 2014, Rafa will be back in 2015. You can almost guarantee that Nadal will pick up a lot of points on clay, where has dominated since he first started on tour. I expect the Spaniard to claim a record 10th Roland Garros title and fight Djokovic for other major titles during the year. However, I believe Djokovic will get the better of their battles, so Nadal will have to settle for number two at the end of the year
1. Novak Djokovic
The world’s best of 2014 will continue to be the best in 2015. Djokovic is the most consistent top performer in the game at the moment and I don’t see that changing in 2015. He will challenge for every tournament he competes in and will be victor more often than not. I expect Novak to regain the Australian Open and win the majority of Masters 1000 titles during the year. The Serb will finish the year as world number 1 again, and further add to his list of accolades.
Australian Open: Novak Djokovic
Runner up: Roger Federer
Novak Djokovic will regain the Australian Open crown. The Serb has dominated the event since the surface changed in 2008, and will win yet another title down under. Federer being the number 2 seed will make the final but will fall short in a potentially classic encounter against Djokovic. As for the defending champion, Wawrinka; he will fall in the semifinals.
French Open: Rafael Nadal
Runner up: Novak Djokovic
Rafa will win his tenth French Open crown in 2015 defeating Djokovic in the final (again). These two are clearly the two best clay courters in the world at the moment, but Rafa has had the edge every time they have met at Roland Garros.
Wimbledon: Shock winner
Runner up: Andy Murray
Wimbledon is the hardest slam to predict. I believe that upsets are more likely to happen at SW19, so I am going to say we get a shock winner here. Maybe someone like Dimitrov, or Tsonga will step up and win the Wimbledon title? Murray to make the final but loose to the shock winner with Djokovic and Federer both falling in the semi-finals.
US Open: Kei Nishikori
Runner up: Novak Djokovic
Last year’s finalist will finally be ready to step up and become a Grand Slam champion. Nishikori showed physical and mental fatigue in last year’s final after playing 3 tough matches in a row, and that’s without even mentioning the inspired form of Marin Cilic. Nishikori will defeat Djokovic in a classic final, which results in the Japanese winning his first grand slam title.
Predictions for Masters 1000 winners
Indian Wells: Novak Djokovic
Miami: Kei Nishikori
Monte Carlo: Rafael Nadal
Madrid: Rafael Nadal
Rome: Novak Djokovic
Canada: Roger Federer
Cincinnati: Novak Djokovic
Shanghai: Novak Djokovic
Paris: Kei Nishikori
World Tour Finals: Novak Djokovic
Other ATP Predictions
Here are some other predictions for the 2015 season.
The ATP World Tour Finals will stay in London long term
Former World Number One Lleyton Hewitt will retire
Slovak Martin Klizan will break into the top 20
Nick Kyrigos, and Benoit Paire will win their first ATP titles
David Ferrer will decline
The International Premier Tennis League Exo will be a success in 2015