Former Olympic champion Marc Rosset has criticized the strength of the field at the 2021 ATP Finals, saying fans do not want to see players who qualified by "winning ATP 250 events." The Swiss highlighted four Major champions who will not feature -- Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka -- as players people would rather watch play.
The 2021 ATP Finals, which begins at its new home in Turin on Sunday, will feature two debutants in Hubert Hurkacz and Casper Ruud. Ruud has won five ATP 250 titles this year, while Hurkacz has won two, as well as the Masters 1000 event in Miami.
The year-end showpiece also features five-time ATP Finals winner Novak Djokovic, defending champion Daniil Medvedev, and former winners Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas. Andrey Rublev and Matteo Berrettini will both compete at the event for the second time.
In an interview with RTS Sport, Rosset highlighted the record of the two new qualifiers at Grand Slams to criticize the field's quality. Ruud and Hurkacz both posted a 6-4 record across the four Majors this year.
"There are new faces, and it is true that it could be nice," Rosset said. "But if we exclude the [semi-final] of Hurkacz at Wimbledon, these two players did not shine in Grand Slams. Have you seen Ruud, in the Majors?"
The 1992 Olympic champion asserted that the 2021 ATP Finals roster falls short of the standard seen during the event's tenure in London. The four absent Major champions Rosset singled out -- Nadal, Federer, Murray and Wawrinka -- last featured together in the 2015 edition.
"The general public wants to see Nadal, Federer, Murray, Stan [Wawrinka]," Rosset added. "Not guys who have won their places by winning ATP 250 tournaments. We are far from the great and exciting competition that has been played in London in recent years."
Rosset further claimed that the field was the weakest he could remember, and contrasted it with the legend-filled lineups of the 1980s and '90s.
“To be frank, I don't remember a Masters (ATP Finals) with such a weak plateau!," Rosset continued. "Remember the time there could be [Ivan] Lendl, [Stefan] Edberg, [Pat] Cash, [Boris] Becker, [Jimmy] Connors. Then [Pete] Sampras, [Andre] Agassi, [Jim] Courier."
Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas placed in same group at ATP Finals, Daniil Medvedev drawn with Alexander Zverev
Novak Djokovic will begin his quest for a record-equalling sixth ATP Finals crown against Casper Ruud on Monday. Also present in the Green Group are Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev.
Defending champion Daniil Medvedev, meanwhile, has been drawn in the same group as Olympic gold medallist Alexander Zverev, Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini and Miami Open champion Hubert Hurkacz.
ALSO READArticle Continues below
The Russian will launch his title defense against Hurkacz on Sunday.