The Nitto ATP Finals starts on Sunday with Roger Federer opening up the proceedings. Rafael Nadal, who was in doubt for the final tournament of the calendar year, citing a knee injury, will start his campaign on Monday. Interestingly, Rafael Nadal was supposed to kick off the tournament on Sunday. However, scheduling changes meant that Federer’s match was moved up. Spectators were frustrated as many had booked tickets to watch Nadal play on the weekend.
The reasons for the changes in the schedule are still unclear. However, many are suggesting that it was due to Rafa’s request to the tournament directors. Rafael Nadal apparently wanted another extra day to feel comfortable with his knee issues. Rafael Nadal has never won the year-end championships. The Spaniard has however been in spectacular form over the year. He has won six titles this year including two majors (Roland Garros and US open).
With the absence of big names such as Djokovic, Wawrinka, Murray and Nishikori, Nadal thinks he has a chance to win the title this year. Roger Federer has been in prime form this year. He has won equal number of titles this year. He is also on a 4-match win-streak against his nemesis. The two rivals are in separate groups, with three other players.
Group Pete Sampras
Rafael Nadal heads the group, with a group record of 17-3. The group also includes Domic Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov, and David Goffin. Goffin and Thiem are competing in just their second Nitto ATP Finals. Whereas Dimitrov, is playing in his first Nitto ATP Finals, having made himself unavailable as an alternate in 2014.
Group Boris Becker
Roger Federer is the top seed for the group, as he looks to win the Nitto ATP Finals for a record seventh time. The American Jack Sock, who is playing in his very first ATP finals tournament, has his first match against the Swiss. Alexander Zverev, is also playing in his first ATP finals. The Croatian Marin Cilic, rounds up the group of Boris Becker.
In short, the tournament is all about Federer, Nadal and the rest of them. It will be interesting to see if any of the newcomers have it in them to stop the juggernauts- Federer and Nadal, in claiming another title for the year.