ATP Finals: Five sub-plots to keep your eye on in Turin
The Nitto ATP Finals in Turin is fast approaching and it promises to be a tasty affair. Will Djokovic retain his title? Will Alcaraz succeed on his debut? Or will Sinner thrive on home soil?
One thing is always certain when it comes to the ATP Finals: it always comes with the kind of quality you would expect when only the very top players in the world come together.
So, what should fans be looking out for this year and which sub-plots can capture the imagination alongside the tennis?
Novak Djokovic chasing history
Novak Djokovic is the gift that keeps on giving. At 36 years of age, he has recorded one of his best seasons on tour.
Carlos Alcaraz ended the Serbs four year reign at Wimbledon in the summer, and it was looking as if the tide could be turning – is he passing his peak?
The answer is no – since that loss, Djokovic has won all 18 singles matches contested and has picked up the Cincinnati and Paris Masters as well as the US Open, his third Slam of the year.
As we look to the ATP Finals in Turin, the 24-time major winner is now chasing more history. Currently tied with Roger Federer for the most titles at this event, a win next week could see him rise to new heights, if that wasn’t possible already?
Djokovic is in red hot form going into the tournament and is in great shape to not only defend his title, but create more history.
Carlos Alcaraz debut
Despite being a two-time Grand Slam winner, Carlos Alcaraz is yet to make an appearance at the year end finals tournament.
The Spaniard etched his name into history books after defeating Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, but his performances since haven’t been the most convincing.
After suffering a tough loss to Djokovic in the Cincinnati final, Alcaraz has failed to make it to that stage of a tournament in the run up to the off-season. His most recent result was a second round loss to qualifier Roman Safiullin at the Paris Masters, which is starting to become a bit of a bogey tournament for the 20 year old.
Having said this, we mustn’t forget that Alcaraz, at such a young age, is a freak of nature. He possesses all of the skills required to take down the field in Turin, and if there is someone who is going to upset Djokovic’s quest for more success, it is him.
Biggest ever prize money
The ATP Tour has announced that there will be a record $15 million prize money on offer at this year’s Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.
Djokovic made history at the Pala Alpitour in 2022 when he earned a whopping $4.7m for lifting the trophy with a perfect record. An undefeated champion at this year’s event will take home an increased $4.8m.
The prize money has expanded across the board, and the doubles teams now have a shot at the larger sums, meaning there is a lot on the line.
More at stake, more drama? There is no doubt that this new expansion makes for a tasty week of tennis in Turin.
Potential surprise winners
Although Djokovic and Alcaraz have performed on the biggest stages throughout the year, we have seen a resurgence in form from the likes of Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev.
Zverev – the 2018 and 2021 champion – suffered a devastating injury at the French Open in 2022 which forced him to have surgery and miss out on 6 months on tour. It has since been a steady recovery and the German has now found himself back inside the world’s top 10 and in with a shot at a third ATP Finals trophy.
Rublev has been enjoying some new found success on tour this season and was able to win his first Masters title in Monte Carlo. The Russian also made it to the final in Shanghai in which he suffered an agonising defeat to Hubert Hurkacz in the third set tiebreak, failing to convert his championship points. Nevertheless, this resurgence in form comes at the right time – will we see Rublev cause some problems in Turin?
Possible homegrown winner?
At the 2021 ATP Finals, the Turin crowd were heartbroken when their home hope Matteo Berrettini was forced to retire in his opening match against the eventual champion, Zverev.
This year, they have new hope, and it comes in the explosive form of world no.4, Jannik Sinner.
The young Italian is loving life on tour this year. With four more titles to his name and a first at Masters level, Sinner could well be the inspiration that the Italian crowd is after in Turin.
He too is coming into the competition in some red hot form having won two titles in October, including victories against Daniil Medvedev (2) and Alcaraz.
After scheduling issues in Paris last week, Sinner withdrew prior to his round of 16 match in order to rest. Despite how difficult it must have been to come to terms with, this is a good indicator as to how he feels about his chances in Turin – can he go all the way?
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