This year, at the ATP World Tour Finals, there’s a lot at stake for the top eight, especially at the top for Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. Even though Murray just took the title of No. 1 in the world last week, Djokovic still has a shot to take it back next week in London and finish the year at No. 1. This would also be his fifth win in a row at the Tour Finals, something that has never been done before. Winning would put him at six total titles in London, which would tie him for the most all-time with Roger Federer. No other players competing have won it before, so for them, nothing would be sweeter than to finish the season with a big first-time win.
Now for some predictions. The format for group play is round robin, meaning everyone plays each other once, and the top two from each group move on to the semifinals. Group John McEnroe consists of Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic, and Kei Nishikori. Murray has been on a tear this year, but this is a particularly tough group for him. Stan Wawrinka has shown that when he’s at his best he’s virtually unbeatable, and Kei Nishikori is the only man to beat Murray in a major this year not named Novak Djokovic.
Nonetheless, getting out of group play is imperative for Murray to maintain the No. 1 ranking, and if Andy has shown me anything this year it’s that he’s never been stronger mentally than he is now, so I’ve got him winning this group. Three of the four players in this group have won major tournaments compared to the other group which only has one major winner, so I’m not nearly as confident in my prediction for this group. That being said, I’ve got the 2016 U.S. Open champion, Stan Wawrinka, as my runner up for this group. Stan loves the big stage and this entire tournament is just one big stage for him to let loose. He’s performed adequately in London in the past, falling to Roger Federer the last two years in the semifinals, and this year I see him making it even further.
Group Ivan Lendl consists of Novak Djokovic, Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils, and Dominic Thiem. This group is a bit weaker in my opinion, but it’s still made up of four top eight players in the world so predicting it correctly is far from easy. I’d be shocked if Djokovic doesn’t make it out of group play considering his past results, so he’s my winner of Group Lendl. I’d love it more than anyone if the youngster Dominic Thiem could make his way out of group play, but considering how he’s fared against top guns this year, I don’t see it happening. That leaves it between Raonic and Monfils. Both have had great years and I could see either one making some noise, but I’m going with Monfils.
This makes my final four Murray, Wawrinka, Djokovic, and Monfils. The semifinal format in the World Tour Finals is each group winner vs. the opposite group’s runner-up, so I have Djokovic playing Wawrinka, and Murray playing Monfils. I firmly believe Djokovic is going to be steadily declining over the course of the next few years, and Wawrinka is always a matchup problem for Novak, so I’m going with the Stan on this one. As for Murray vs. Monfils, I’m sticking with Andy, so my finals prediction is Stan Wawrinka vs. Andy Murray.
Wawrinka has been unbelievable in the finals of tournaments, he’s won his last 11 finals appearances. That statistic alone makes it very tempting to pick him to win, not to mention that he won the U.S. open this year and has been a consistent top five player. Even with all of that, I’m still going with Andy Murray for the win. To me, Murray has been the most consistent player on tour this year from a mental and physical standpoint, and he deserves to finish the season with a big win. His play as of late has been the best of his career, and I think it would be fitting for the guy who just took the number one ranking to maintain it and finish the year as the best by beating the best. For the first time, I think it’s finally Andy Murray’s year in London.