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Nitto ATP Finals 2019 draw preview, predictions and tips - Nadal and Djokovic battling for No. 1 ranking; Federer targeting first year-end title since 2011

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 7 Nov 2019
  • Draw preview and predictions for the Nitto ATP Finals
  • Federer and Djokovic in same group
  • The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals is live from London between November 10-17
Novak Djokovic (PA Images)

The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion and World No. 1 will be decided next week in London as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and more battle it out at the season-ending championships.

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Djokovic and Federer have been drawn into Group Bjorn Borg, while Nadal leads Group Andre Agassi alongside debutants Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, along with defending champion Alexander Zverev.

French Open runner-up Dominic Thiem and World No. 8 Matteo Berrettini join Federer and Djokovic and Group Andre Agassi as the season’s best eight players square off for one last time in 2019 for the right to be called the year-end champion.

Read on below as we break down the groups and predict the winner!

Group Andre Agassi

Rafael Nadal (1)
Daniil Medvedev (4)
Stefanos Tsitsipas (6)
Alexander Zverev (7)

Head-to-Head records

Nadal leads Medvedev 2-0
Nadal leads Tsitsipas 4-1
Nadal leads Zverev 5-0
Zverev leads Medvedev 4-1
Tsitsipas leads Zverev 3-1
Medvedev leads Tsitsipas 5-0

This is an extremely open group in my eyes, especially with Nadal coming into the tournament under an injury cloud after hurting his abdominal region during a practice session ahead of the Paris Masters semi-finals last week, causing him to withdraw and head back to Mallorca for emergency rehab.

Rafael Nadal (PA Images)
Nadal has arrived in London and taken his spot in the elite eight - but if the No. 1 ranking wasn’t on the line, I’m not sure he would be risking it. The Spaniard can secure the year-end top spot by winning all three of his round robin matches and making the final, but should he lose one match in Group Andre Agassi, Djokovic can reclaim the No. 1 ranking by being an undefeated champion in London.

Medvedev must be fancying his chances if Nadal isn’t at 100 per cent fitness after pushing him to five sets in a classic U.S. Open final, while the Russian brings a dominant 5-0 record into his clash with Tsitsipas and crushed Zverev in their most recent meeting in the Shanghai Masters final.

After making an extraordinary six straight finals from Washington in July to Shanghai in October, Medvedev suffered a loss in his first match in Paris to Jeremy Chardy, but that could be a blessing in disguise as he arrives in London with recharged batteries and determined to end what has been an incredible year by reaching the knockout stages.

Zverev is under a lot of pressure to defend the title he won in brilliant fashion last year, where he beat Federer and Djokovic back-to-back. The German has been well below his best all season and hasn’t been able to conjure up any sustained momentum on tour - and just when it looked like he was onto something by making the Beijing semis and Shanghai final, he was knocked out in the opening round of Basel and second round of Paris.

Meanwhile, Tsitsipas has reached the semi-finals in three of his last four tournaments after four straight defeats during the U.S. Open Series, but I get the impression the Greek is still a way off his best tennis and could be running on empty coming into London - and with his poor record against Medvedev, it’s shaping as an uphill battle for him to make the semi-finals on debut.

If Nadal was healthy, I’d be very confident in picking him and Medvedev as the semi-finalists here, but there’s real question marks about the Spaniard’s fitness. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he pulled out at some stage during the round robin phase - which would give Zverev and Tsitsipas a fantastic chance to advance.

Predicted semi-finalists:

Medvedev
Zverev

Group Bjorn Borg

Novak Djokovic (2)
Roger Federer (3)
Dominic Thiem (5)
Matteo Berrettini (8)

Head-to-Head records

Djokovic leads Federer 26-22
Djokovic leads Thiem 6-3
Djokovic vs Berrettini - Never played
Federer leads Berrettini 1-0
Thiem leads Federer 4-2
Thiem leads Berrettini 2-1

This group seems much more straightforward to me. Djokovic will be determined to go undefeated in Group Bjorn Borg in order to give himself the best possible chance of reclaiming the No. 1 ranking, with the Serbian winning his last four matches against Federer and all three of his hardcourt meetings with Thiem. Djokovic arrives in London with the best possible preparation after winning his fifth Paris Masters title without dropping a set - which would have also been a confidence-boost for him after a quarter-final defeat to Tsitsipas in Shanghai.

Novak Djokovic with the Paris Masters trophy (PA Images)
Normally, Thiem would be a threat, but he doesn’t have a good record at the season-ending championships, winning just three matches in his three previous appearances and failing to make it out the group. The Austrian has put together a much stronger finish to 2019 than other seasons, but the fact remains that indoor conditions aren’t suited to his game and against the very best, he’s exposed more than say the ATP 500 tournament he won in Vienna.

Federer beat Thiem easily last year in the group stage and he would be favoured to do so again, despite the Austrian holding a 4-2 head-to-head record against him and beating him in the Indian Wells Masters final back in March. Federer is fresh after winning Basel for a record 10th time and skipping the Paris Masters, and if he can defeat Thiem and debutant Berrettini, he should be making the semi-finals regardless of his result against Djokovic.

Berrettini is the wildcard of the group and the last man to have secured qualification to London, and while he has the weapons to do damage in these conditions, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to sustain the level of play required to beat the likes of Federer and Djokovic. The Italian will fancy his chances against Thiem having defeated him in Shanghai (Thiem returned the favour later in Vienna), but making it out of the group is a huge ask.

Predicted semi-finalists:

Djokovic
Federer

Semi-finals

Medvedev vs Federer
Djokovic vs Zverev

Final

Djokovic vs Federer

Champion

Djokovic

*****

The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals is live from London's O2 Arena between November 10-17.

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Nitto ATP Finals 2019 draw preview, predictions and tips - Nadal and Djokovic battling for No. 1 ranking; Federer targeting first year-end title since 2011

The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion and World No. 1 will be decided next week in London as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and more battle it out at the season-ending championships.

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