The ATP Finals is the last tournament on the calendar, which draws the men's season to a close. Pitting the top 8 singles and doubles teams in a round-robin format, the 2019 edition in London will be the 50th of the season-ending event.
Originally an International Tennis Federation event from 1970 to 1989, known as the Masters Grand Prix, the event was renamed the ATP Tour World Championships in 1990. It has since been known by a few other names - the Tennis Masters Cup (2000 - 2008), the ATP World Tour Finals (2009 - 2016) and the ATP Finals (2017 onwards).
Hosted in cities like Tokyo, Paris, Barcelona, Boston, Melbourne, Stockholm, Houston, New York, Frankfurt, Hanover, Lisbon, Sydney and Shanghai over the years, the ATP Finals has been held at the O2 Arena in London since 2009.
Ahead of the last regular tournament on the ATP calendar - the Paris Masters, six of the top eight singles players have booked their places in the 2019 ATP Finals in London.
Following the opening round departures of David Goffin, Fabio Fognini and defending champion Karen Khachanov, seven players remain in contention for the final two places at the season-ending event.
Here are the various scenarios for the players in contention for the ATP Finals in London, as on 30 October 2019:
#1 Alexander Zverev (7th in the ATP Race to London)
The defending ATP Finals champion has had an underwhelming season by his lofty standards; he stands seventh in the ATP Race to London heading into the 2019 Paris Masters. However, the 22-year-old German is still in pole position to qualify for the season-ending event.
Zverev, who leads 8th-placed Matteo Berrettini by 205 points, will seal his place in London by reaching the Paris final. Considering he has already reached the third round in Paris, Zverev would also qualify for London under the following scenarios:
- Each of the 6 other contenders lose their Paris second round matches.
- Zverev reaches the quarters, and at least 5 of the 6 contenders lose in the third round.
- Zverev reaches the semis, while Roberto Bautista Agut and Diego Schwartzman do not reach the last four.
#2 Matteo Berrettini (8th in the ATP Race to London)
Matteo Berrettini holds the 8th and final spot in the Race to London. Berrettini has had a career-best season, reaching his maiden Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open where he lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal, and becoming only the 4th Italian player to reach the top 10 of the world rankings.
Placed in the same half of the draw as Zverev, Berrettini is slated to meet the defending ATP Finals champion in the Paris semifinals. The 23-year-old enjoys a slender 130-point lead over ninth-placed Roberto Bautista Agut.
Like seventh-placed Zverev, Berrettini also needs a run to the Paris final to seal his debut appearance at the ATP Finals in London. Berrettini would also confirm his place in London under the following scenarios:
- Berrettini reaches the third round, and 5 of the 6 other contenders do not.
- Berrettini and Zverev reach the quarterfinals, and the 5 other contenders do not.
- Berrettini reaches the semis, and Bautista Agut/Schwartzman do not.
#3 Roberto Bautista Agut (9th in the ATP Race to London)
Roberto Bautista Agut has had a stellar 2019 season, capturing the title in Doha, reaching a maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open (lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas), and a maiden Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon (lost to Novak Djokovic).
Back-to-back Masters 1000 quarterfinals in Montreal and Cincinnati propelled Bautista Agut to a debut in the top 10 of the world rankings.
Entering the Paris Masters, the counter-punching Spaniard is 130 points behind Matteo Berrettini, who holds the 8th and final position in the Race to London. Bautista Agut needs a title run in Paris to guarantee his debut at the ATP Finals in London irrespective of other results.
Bautista Agut is in top-seed Djokovic's half of the draw in Paris. Anything less than the quarterfinals in the French capital would put the Spaniard out of contention for London.
The following other scenarios would also aid Bautista Agut's quest to seal a berth in London:
- Bautista Agut reaches the quarterfinals, Berretini loses in the second round, and the trio of Gael Monfils, Diego Schwartzman and Stan Wawrinka lose in the third round.
- Bautista Agut reaches the semifinals, Berretini loses in the quarterfinals; Schwartzman, Monfils and Wawrinka do not progress beyond the quarterfinals.
- Bautista Agut reaches the final, Berrettini loses in the semis, and Zverev loses in the quarterfinals.
#4 Gael Monfils (10th in the ATP Race to London)
French veteran Gael Monfils sits at the 10th position in the ATP Race to London, and has reached the third round at the Paris Masters.
The Frenchman was 310 points adrift of 8th-placed Matteo Berrettini heading into Paris, and needs a semifinal appearance at the very least to stay in contention in the ATP Race to London.
The 8-time tour-level titlist has reached 2 of his 3 Masters 1000 finals in Paris, doing so in 2009-10. Monfils hasn't reached a Masters 1000 title match since 2016 Monte Carlo.
#5 Diego Schwartzman (14th in the ATP Race to London)
Diego Schwartzman, the top-ranked Argentinian player in the ATP singles rankings, is in 13th place in the ATP Race to London.
Schwartzman, who lies 545 points behind 8th-placed Matteo Berrettini, must reach the title match in Paris at the very least, to stay in contention for London. A maiden Masters 1000 title in the French capital would confirm a debut appearance in the ATP Finals for the diminutive Argentinian.
Schwartzman is slated to meet top seed Djokovic in the third round in Paris.
#6 Stan Wawrinka (15th in the ATP Race to London)
The three-time Grand Slam champion, also known as the 'other Swiss', is in 15th place in the ATP Race to London, a whopping 750 points behind 8th-placed Italian Matteo Berrettini.
Wawrinka needs to win the Paris title to qualify for London.
Wawrinka is slated to meet Marin Cilic in the second round, second seed Rafael Nadal in the third round, and London-chasing Matteo Berrettini in the last-eight in Paris.
#8 Alex De Minaur (17th in the ATP Race to London)
The three-time titlist is a long shot for a place in the 8-man field in London.
Lying 17th in the ATP Race to London, De Minaur is 920 points behind 8th-placed Matteo Berrettini. The diminutive Australian needs to win the title in Paris and hope that Berrettini loses in the second round.Published 30 Oct 2019, 21:51 IST