Former World No. 4 Tim Henman recently assessed the chances of both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals. The Brit believes that World No. 1 Djokovic is the outright favorite to lift the title, given his superlative record in indoor conditions.
At the same time, Tim Henman opined that Rafael Nadal does stand a chance if he remains physically fit during the course of the event.
While speaking to George Bellshaw, Henman made it clear that picking Novak Djokovic to win the Nitto ATP Finals was not a bold prediction.
“It’s not really going out on a limb is it to choose Djokovic,” Henman said.
The reasons he cited included Novak Djokovic’s phenomenal record at the season-ending event, where he has emerged victorious on five previous occasions. Indoor conditions are generally known to be favorable to Djokovic, and the Brit believes the World No. 1 would be extra motivated given that it is his last chance for silverware this year.
“He’s the No. 1 player in the world again and he’s won this tournament on I think five different occasions,” Henman noted. “He’s got such a good record indoors and for all these players it’s almost the last push as it were. I think if I had to be backing anyone it’d be Djokovic.”
When it comes to Rafael Nadal, Henman pointed out that the Spaniard is a victim of his success on other surfaces. Nadal’s record in indoor conditions is a far cry from his achievements on outdoor hardcourts let alone on clay, but that doesn't mean he is a terrible indoor player.
Rafael Nadal's indoor record is not all that shabby. He has won a Masters 1000 event in the past at Madrid (in 2005), while also being the runner-up at the ATP Finals twice (2010, 2013).
Tim Henman pointed out these achievements to lay claim that Nadal does have a ‘very good chance’ should his body not succumb to the demands of indoor conditions.
“When you set the bar so high, when you look at his record indoors and sort of say, 'Oh, it’s not too good,'” Henman said. “But he’s won a Masters series indoors, he’s been in the final of the ATP Finals on two occasions I think. He’s still got a very good chance. I don’t think he’s the favorite this coming tournament but he’ll still fancy his chances if he’s fit and healthy.”
Tim Henman believes Dominic Thiem is the best player in the world behind Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal
In the same interview, Tim Henman was asked if he believed that Dominic Thiem was the world’s best player outside of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, to which the Brit answered:
"Yes, I do."
Henman further added that he was ‘pleased’ when the World No. 3 won the US Open by defeating Alexander Zverev in the final. He also remarked that it would have been odd if Zverev had managed to win a Slam despite having such an ‘unreliable’ second serve.
"I think Zverev – given the challenges in his tennis game, he’s had a very unreliable second serve,” Henman added. “I was very pleased that Thiem won that [US Open final], and that’s nothing against Zverev. I sort of felt it would have been amazing to win a Grand Slam with a second serve that has proved to be so unreliable.”Published 12 Nov 2020, 15:50 IST