ATP Finals: Elite eight out for Turin silverware

The season finale on the men’s side is ready to roll with plenty of storylines to pour over in Italy.

Turin / ATP Finals 2021©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

11 months on the road have culminated in one last shot, the prestigious ATP Finals.

The 2022 season finale on the men’s tour is hosted at the Pala Alpitour in Turin, Italy, and the draw has been made ahead of a blockbuster week.

The news has swirled around social media, Big Three rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are separated in the group stages.

However, the world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz was absent from the drawsheet, having been forced to withdraw with an abdominal muscle tear.

Nadal to give his all

Considering the persistent injury battles, Nadal has managed to compile another milestone campaign. The 36-year-old, this year’s Australian Open and Roland-Garros champion, is reflecting a positive persona.

Qualifying for the 17th time, the Spaniard is targeting his maiden ATP Finals crown in the ‘Green Group’ alongside Casper Ruud (1-0 Nadal), Felix Auger-Aliassime (2-0 Nadal) and his opening opponent on Sunday night, Taylor Fritz (2-1 Nadal).

Will Nadal’s lack of matches be detrimental? All that is guaranteed is the world No.2 will leave it all out there on the court.

"It's always great news to be playing the last event of the year. That says that you had a great season, so I'm excited," said 22-time Grand Slam winner, who fell to Tommy Paul in three sets at the Rolex Paris Masters.

"Italy is a very close country for me. Being in Turin for the first time in my life, it's a new experience, so I'm very happy for that and I'm looking forward to seeing the stadium and the fans. I'll try my best as always."

As well as facing debutant Fritz, Nadal will have his work cut out against his Roland-Garros final opponent Ruud, who also reached the US Open finale.

Canada’s Auger-Aliassime will be dangerous for anyone. The 22-year-old lifted three tiles in three weeks en route to the Rolex Paris Masters, where he reached the semi-finals, before eventual champion Holger Rune halted his 16-match hot streak.

Rafael Nadal, Roland-Garros 2022, Simple Messieurs, Finale, Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Djokovic seeking history once again

The relentless drive for all-time success still spurs on Djokovic.

The world No.8 spearheads the ‘Red Group’ in Turin, intent on tying Roger Federer’s record of six ATP Finals trophies. Djokovic will have to navigate past 2020 champion Daniil Medvedev (7-4 Djokovic), 2019 champion Stefanos Tsitsipas (9-2 Djokovic) and Andrey Rublev (1-1).

It’s fair to say it’s been a turbulent year for the Serbian. Just like Nadal, Djokovic dealt with adversity by making a major move, claiming his 21st Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.

The 35-year-old, a semi-finalist in the last two ATP Finals, recently reached the silverware showdown at the Rolex Paris Masters, only to lose a high-quality clash with the soaring teen Rune.

Djokovic is talking up his chances in Turin.

“The level of tennis that I'm playing is high, and I like my chances. Of course, every match is like a final there. There are no easy matches,” stated the world No.8.

“Every tournament is important at this stage of my career. Anywhere I play, I try to win. That's not a secret. That's kind of my mentality and approach coming into Turin.”

Novak Djokovic / ATP Finals 2021©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Top spot up for grabs for Stefanos

The Monday night clash between Djokovic and Tsitsipas will set out a marker for the Greek’s title credentials.

The world No.3 has more than the trophy within his grasp as he could finish 2022 with the year-end No.1 ranking.

Tsitsipas will need to be in supreme form, by taking the title without losing a match, the 24-year-old would jump to world No.1 for the very first time.

With Alcaraz recovering on the sidelines, if Tsitsipas doesn’t chalk up 5-0 in Turin, Nadal could return to the summit within several permutations.

Stefanos Tsitsipas & Novak Djokovic / Rolex Paris Masters 2022©Julien Crosnier / FFT

Doubles delight

Top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski are the in-form side of the 2022 campaign and they’ll shoot for an eighth title of a trophy-laden season in the Green Group.

Watch out for Australian Open champions Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios who will attract a legion of younger fans into the stands.

Green Group
Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski (1)
Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (4)
Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek (5)
Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios (8)

Red Group
Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (2)
Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer (3)
Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara (6)
Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos (7)

The ATP Finals official schedule in Turin