With the four Grand Slams now over, the focus in tennis turns to the year-ending tournament. For the men, this will be the ATP Finals 2021, which will see eight players duke it out to win the prestigious tournament. As things stand, the Finals will be without two of the ‘Big Three’ this year. Both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will be missing, as both are taking time off to heal from injuries. And while that might work in favour of Novak Djokovic, it would be wise to discount the other players. Especially since this will be a moment for many a youngster to step up.
But who all have qualified for the tournament so far and how will it work? Here’s a lowdown of how things will work in the tournament.
The tournament will see eight players take part, with two players named as alternates. Players are given preference in the following order:
If the number of players in this case totals more than 8, the players lower in the selection order are named as alternates.
So far, only three players have qualfied for the single’s tournament, with the same number of teams having qualified for the doubles event.
Here, we shall look at both the players as well as the teams to have made it.
Djokovic made it to the ATP Finals 2021 purely on the back of his superb year in Grand Slams. The Serbian star came closer than anyone in modern history to actually doing the calendar Grand Slam. However, he was defeated in the finals of the recently concluded US Open. Yet the fact that he won the first three Grand Slams of the year saw him automatically qualify for the ATP Finals.
Djokovic has prior experience of winning this tournament too. He was victorious in 2008 and then went on a four-year winning streak from 2012-15, beating Nadal once and Federer thrice in the final encounter. He will hope that his prior experience will hold him in good stead coming into this year’s tournament.
Medvedev also confirmed his entry on the back of his Grand Slam win at the US Open. Not only did this end Djokovic’s quest for a calendar Slam, it also ensured Medvedev would return to defend the title he won in 2020. The reason this sealed his qualification is because he is the only player besides Djokovic to win a Slam this year and is also currently second in the rankings, meaning he will not drop lower than seventh by the year end.
Medvedev, as mentioned before, is the defending champion in this tournament. He beat Dominic Thiem to win the title last year. He is also the only man to beat the players ranked 1, 2 and 3 in the ATP Finals en route to winning the tournament.
Unlike Djokovic and Mevedev, Tsitsipas did not qualify for the tournament by winning a Grand Slam. However, he did make the French Open final as well as the semis of the Australian Open. He didn’t fare too well at Wimbledon or the US Open, but he did well enough in ATP events held around the year.
He won the Monte Carlo Masters, which holds some weight given it’s an ATP 1000 event. Besides that, he won the Lyon Open and also made the finals of the Barcelona Open and the Mexican Open. A semi-final appearance in the Rotterdam Open as well as quarterfinal appearances in the Hamburg Open and the Open 13 certainly helped. Given his stron run this year, expect him to go hard to win a title he won for the first time in 2019.
So far, three teams have qualified for the doubles tournament. The Croatian top-ranked duo of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic are certain to be at Turin, as are the American-British pair of Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury.
The all-French duo of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicholas Mahut are also set to be in the tournament. The rest of the field will be decided in due course.