The season-ending ATP Finals features the top 8 players of the world in a round-robin competition followed by a semifinal and a final. Except for the first two editions of the tournament (1970 and 1971), each of the subsequent editions has featured a semifinal and a final.
Players accrue ranking points through the course of a season, in order to qualify for the prestigious season-ending finale.
Over the years, the season-ending tournament has been known by various names - Masters Grand Prix from 1970 to 1989, ATP Tour World Championships from 1990 to 1999, Tennis Masters Cup from 2000 to 2008, ATP Tour Finals from 2009 to 2016, and ATP Finals from 2017 onwards.
The ATP Finals has always featured 8 players in a round-robin format, except in 1970 (6 players), 1971 (7 players), 1982-84 (12 player knockout), and 1985 (16 player knockout). Held once each in Tokyo, Paris, Barcelona, Boston, Melbourne, Stockholm, Lisbon, and Sydney, the ATP Finals had been held twice in Houston, 4 times in Hanover, 5 times in Shanghai, 6 times in Frankfurt and 13 times in New York from 1970 to 2008.
The tournament has been held in London since 2009. The 50th edition of the ATP Finals will see the return of defending champion Sascha Zverev to the British capital.
Out of 23 different men to have won the season-ending tournament, Roger Federer with 6 titles leads a group of 8 players to have triumphed multiple times. John McEnroe (1978) and Boris Becker (1988) are the only teenagers to have won the tournament.
With the exception of the inaugural winner in 1970 (Stan Smith), Grigor Dimitrov (2017) is the last of 5 debutants to have won the ATP Finals - the others being Ilie Năstase (1971), Guillermo Vilas (1974), John McEnroe (1978), Michael Stich (1993) and Àlex Corretja (1998). In fact, Dimitrov is the only player in ATP Finals history not to have lost a match; all other players who have played at the tournament have lost at least once.
Gael Monfils' quarterfinal defeat to Denis Shapovalov in the last regular tournament of the season in Paris, ousted the Frenchman from contention, and Matteo Berrettini completed the eight-man field for London. For the second time in 3 years, the ATP Finals will see 3 (or more) tournament debutants.
Let us meet all the 8 players who will grace the season-ending 2019 ATP Finals in the British capital.
#1 Rafael Nadal (9th appearance)
Rafael Nadal was the first player to qualify for the 2019 ATP Finals following his quarterfinal victory over Sam Querrey at Wimbledon. The Spaniard will be making his ninth appearance at the season-ending tournament.
Nadal started the season with a runner-up finish to Djokovic at the Australian Open and reached the semifinal at Indian Wells against Federer before withdrawing with an injury. Following a trio of semifinal exits at Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, Nadal won a record 34th Masters 1000 title, 9th in Rome, by beating Djokovic in the title match.
In a rematch of the 2017 Roland Garros final, Nadal beat Dominic Thiem to record a staggering 12th title at the claycourt Major. The Spaniard reached consecutive Wimbledon semifinals for the first time in eight years but went down to Roger Federer in four sets.
In Montreal, Nadal defended a hardcourt title for the first time in his career, by beating first time Masters 1000 finalist Daniil Medvedev for his 5th Rogers Cup triumph. Four weeks later, Nadal met the same opponent in the US Open final, where the Spaniard relinquished a two-set and a break lead and survived multiple break points in the fifth set to land a 19th Grand Slam title.
Nadal has a rather pedestrian record at the season-ending ATP Finals, failing to win the tournament in 8 previous attempts. The Spaniard is one of only three players to lose two title matches at the ATP Finals (Vitas Gerulaitis in 1979, 1981 and Jim Courier in 1991-92 being the others) without winning one.
#2 Novak Djokovic (12th appearance)
One of only seven players to have qualified for the ATP Finals on 10 or more occasions, the top-ranked Serb sealed a 12th trip to the season-ending event following his 5th Wimbledon title.
2019 has been another stellar season for Djokovic, who is locked in a duel with Rafael Nadal for the year-end ATP No. 1 ranking. The Serb has held down the top spot for all the weeks of the calendar year leading to the Paris Masters.
Following a record 7th Australian Open title to open the season, Djokovic survived two championship points on Federer's serve en route to landing a 5th Wimbledon title. The 32-year-old, who won his 33rd Masters 1000 title at the Madrid Masters, became one of four players in 2019 to win 50 matches after his third-round victory in Paris.
Djokovic holds the ATP Finals record of most consecutive triumphs (4) accomplished between 2012 and 2015, and the record for most consecutive match wins (15), going unbeaten in 15 matches from 2012 to 2015 before losing to Federer in the second robin match in 2015.
After going 0-3 on his ATP Finals debut in 2007, Djokovic has reached the title match in each of his last 6 appearances in the tournament.
The Serb's 35 match wins at the ATP Finals is only bettered by Federer (57), Ivan Lendl (39), and Boris Becker (36).
#3 Roger Federer (17th appearance)
Record-six time ATP Finals champion Roger Federer booked a record-extending 17th trip to the season-ending event after winning his US Open first round match against Sumit Nagal.
The Swiss maestro started his 22nd season on tour with a fourth round exit against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round of the Australian Open. Federer then became the second player in the Open Era to win 100 singles titles, when he beat his Australian Open conqueror in the title match in Dubai.
Federer fell in the Indian Wells final for the second consecutive year, losing to Dominic Thiem, but landed his first Masters 1000 title since 2017 Shanghai with a win over defending champion John Isner in Miami.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion entered the clay swing of the tour for the first time in four years, reaching quarterfinals at the Madrid and Rome Masters. He then made his first Roland Garros semifinal in 7 years, where he fell to familiar nemesis Rafael Nadal.
The Swiss legend won his first double-digit title haul of his career on the grasscourts of Halle before squandering two championship points on serve in the fifth set of a historic Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic, which featured the first fifth set tiebreaker in tournament history.
Federer endured early exits at Cincinnati (third round), US Open (quarterfinals), and Shanghai (quarterfinals) before winning a 10th title in his hometown tournament in Basel.
Apart from most appearances (17) and most titles (6) at the ATP Finals, Federer holds a few other records at the season-ending tournament. The Swiss star's 57 match wins is miles ahead of the next best mark of Ivan Lendl's 39. His 10 finals, 15 semifinals, 72 matches at the ATP Finals are also unmatched by any other player.
#4 Daniil Medvedev (debut appearance)
Daniil Medvedev became the fourth player to qualify for the 2019 ATP Finals, after beating Stan Wawrinka in the US Open quarterfinals.
Earlier in the season, following a run to the Wimbledon third round, the young Russian followed compatriot Karen Khachanov in debuting in the top 10 of the ATP rankings. Weeks later, on the north American hardcourts, Medvedev went on a tear.
The 23-year-old reached finals at Washington DC (lost to Nick Kyrgios), Montreal Masters (lost to Rafael Nadal), and Cincinnati Masters (beat David Goffin) in the space of three weeks.
Medvedev then reached his first Grand Slam final at the US Open, where he recovered from a two-set and a break deficit and squandered multiple break points in the fifth set of a titanic title match at Flushing Meadows before going down to Rafael Nadal.
Two more tournament finals followed, where Medvedev won in St. Petersburg followed by a second Masters 1000 title in Shanghai, before he lost in the opening round in Paris.
Medvedev will be the fourth Russian player to play at the ATP Finals, and the first since Nikolay Davydenko in 2009.
#5 Dominic Thiem (4th appearance)
Dominic Thiem became the fifth player to qualify for the 2019 ATP Finals, following a run to the final in Beijing.
Thiem has had a career-best season in 2019, winning his first Masters 1000 title on the hardcourts of Indian Wells (beat Roger Federer) before defeating Rafael Nadal in the Barcelona semifinals en route to his first clay title of the season.
Thiem beat Novak Djokovic in a five-set semifinal to return to the Roland Garros final, where he took a set off Nadal. The 26-year-old won his maiden title on home soil in Kitzbühel, either side of first-round exits at Wimbledon (Sam Querrey) and the US Open (Thomas Fabbiano).
The Austrian won his fourth title of the year in Beijing before triumphing for the first time in Vienna, for his second title in his native country. That marked the first time Thiem won five titles in a season, also becoming the first player in 2019 to do so.
In each of his 3 previous campaigns at the ATP Finals Thiem won once and lost twice, failing to progress beyond the group stage.
#6 Stefanos Tsitsipas (debut appearance)
Stefanos Tsitsipas became the sixth player to qualify for the 2019 ATP Finals after the young Greek reached the Shanghai quarterfinals (beat Novak Djokovic).
Tsitsipas opened the season by dethroning two-time defending champion Roger Federer in the fourth round of the Australian Open en route to a maiden Grand Slam semifinal (lost to Rafael Nadal). The young Greek won his second career title in Marseille (beat Mikhail Kukushkin) before being the losing finalist in Dubai where Roger Federer won his 100th career title.
After becoming the first Greek player to debut in the top 10 of the world rankings, a win over Pablo Cuevas in the Estoril final gave Tsitsipas the third title of his career, second of the season, and first on clay. The 20-year-old then upset Rafael Nadal in the Madrid Masters semifinal to reach his second Masters 1000 final (lost to Novak Djokovic).
Following a spate of first-round exits (Wimbledon, Montreal, Cincinnati, US Open), Tsitsipas reached his 5th final of the year in Beijing (lost to Dominic Thiem). That was before he upset top seed Novak Djokovic in the Shanghai Masters quarterfinals.
The young Greek recorded the 100th singles win of his career following a third-round victory over Alex De Minaur in the Paris Masters.
At the 2019 ATP Finals in London, Tsitsipas will be the first Greek player ever and the second debutant in the tournament, Daniil Medvedev being the other.
#7 Alexander Zverev (3rd appearance)
The defending ATP Finals champion left it late to qualify for his third appearance at the ATP Finals. He sealed his spot in London following a third-round in Paris coupled with a spate of other contenders falling in the second round.
Alexander Zverev did not reach a tour final in the season till Geneva, where three successive three-set wins and two saved championship points against Nicolas Jarry in the final enabled him to clinch the 11th singles title of his young career.
Two five-set wins in the first three rounds propelled Zverev to a second consecutive Roland Garros quarterfinal, where he went down to Novak Djokovic. Following an opening-round exit at Wimbledon, Zverev lost in the US Open fourth round to Diego Schwartzman before scoring Team Europe's title-clinching win at the Laver Cup.
The 22-year-old squandered five match points in the second set of the Shanghai quarterfinal before downing two-time champion Roger Federer in three sets. Zverev lost to Daniil Medvedev in the former's first Masters 1000 final of the season.
After an opening-round exit in Basel and a third-round showing in Paris, Zverev returns to the venue of his greatest triumph.
Zverev beat Federer and Djokovic in successive matches in 2018 to become the youngest ATP Finals champion in 10 years, after going 1-2 in round-robin play on his debut in 2017.
#8 Matteo Berrettini (debut appearance)
A career-best season saw Matteo Berrettini reach a maiden Grand Slam semifinal (lost to Rafael Nadal at the US Open) and become only the fourth Italian player in history to ascend to the top 10 of the world rankings. Adriano Panatta (1976), Corrado Barazzutti (1978) and Fabio Fognini (2019) were the others.
Berrettini won titles in Budapest and Stuttgart, lost in the Munich final, and reached a maiden Masters 1000 semifinal in Shanghai (lost to Alexander Zverev).
Going into the last regular tournament on the calendar, the Paris Masters, 9 players were in contention to seal the two remaining spots for London. A spate of second-round exits saw defending champion Zverev book his ticket to the British capital.
Despite losing in the second round himself, Berrettini led a group of 3 other players - Gael Monfils, Stan Wawrinka, and Alex de Minaur - for the final spot in London. Wawrinka and De Minaur's ousters meant that the final spot in London became a direct tussle between Berrettini and Monfils.
Needing a win over Denis Shapovalov in the quarterfinal to usurp Berrettini and book his second trip to the ATP Finals, Monfils fell to a straight-set defeat against the young Canadian.
In the process, Berrettini followed his illustrious compatriots Panatta and Berazzutti to become the third Italian player to qualify for the ATP Finals.