The ATP final draw has been made and world No.1, Rafael Nadal, 31, would have to battle past the fiery claims of 24-year-old Dominic Thiem, 26-year-old Grigor Dimitrov and 26-year-old Belgian, David Goffin, in the group designated as the Pete Sampras group.
World No.2, 36-year-old Roger Federer, who has conquered Nadal in three finals in 2017, has the test of 20-year-old Alexander Zverev, 29-year-old Marin Cilic and the last qualifier for this final ATP tournament, 25-year-old Jack Sock in the Boris Becker group.
Between Nadal and Federer are the four Grand Slam titles in 2017. Nadal won the French Open and the US Open while Federer beat Nadal to win the Australian Open and won his 19th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon by defeating Marin Cilic in three straight sets.
Both have had to pull out of the Paris Open with injuries or time to recuperate which has cast doubts over their overall wellbeing for the tournament that serves off on Sunday.
Nadal is, however, guaranteed to end the year in top spot – the fourth time in his career.
After withdrawing from Paris in the third round, Nadal told reporters he was not thinking of the London showpiece.
“I cannot talk about London now. I am very disappointed about withdrawing from Bercy.
“It’s not a good day to talk about London. All I can say is that I will take my treatment and I will do my maximum to play in London.”
Angel Cotorro, Nadal’s doctor, told Spanish outlet, El Larguero, that there was no serious tendon or ligament damage “though the right knee needed treatment.”
“We are going to do a treatment to continue with all the muscular work, empowerment, rehabilitation so that he can get to London, which is what he wants and he really is very excited.”
For Federer, making a record 15th appearance at the season-ending tournament, 2017 has been a bonus year, after he took almost six months to recuperate properly in 2016.
Federer has won the event six times and said he is excited in trying to win for the seventh time.
“I look forward to returning to London in November. I was sad not to be able to compete last year as I love playing there and had not missed the event since 2002,” he told ATP after winning his 95th tour title in Basel in October.
The question though is – if the two make it to London, can they maintain their stranglehold over the younger players? The tournament serves off on Sunday at the O2 Arena in London.
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