ATP World Tour Finals 2015 draw and schedule: Djokovic with Federer, Murray has Nadal
Novak Djokovic is in the same group as Roger Federer as the ATP World Tour Finals 2015 draw and schedule is confirmed
It is 45 years since the first season finale began what has become the unofficial ‘fifth Grand Slam’ of the tennis season.
And that very first round-robin contest between the best that tennis had to offer was as packed with names that reverberate through this sport’s history as the elite of today will surely do.
Rod Laver, Arthur Ashe, Ken Rosewall—multiple Grand Slam champions all—and how fitting that the ATP has launched an initiative that will keep these names alive during this golden era of men’s tennis.
For the first time, the two pools of players in both the singles and doubles competition at the World Tour Finals will bear the name of a former champion.
In singles, Group A takes the name of the first “Finals Champion” in Tokyo in 1970, Stan Smith, who that year edged Laver with four wins out of five. Group B is named in honour of Ilie Nastase, a four-time Finals champion from 1971 to 1973 and in 1975.
By the time the draw for the 2015 edition of the World Tour Finals was made at City Hall, the names that would be associated with these former champions were already determined. World No1 and four-time and defending champion Novak Djokovic would top the Stan Smith Group, and world No2 and three-time semi-finalist Andy Murray would top the Ilie Nastase Group.
The biggest question was, who would follow them?
In truth, every one of the remaining six would have preferred to avoid Djokovic: He has dominated the season in ruthless fashion, losing just five matches, winning 10 titles—among them three Grand Slams and six Masters—and has reached the final of every tournament since winning the Australian Open.
Murray had lost the nine of his last 10 matches to the Serb, but knew he avoided his most daunting rival at least until the semis. However, No3 Roger Federer had also beaten Murray in their last five matches dating over two years. Federer or fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka, would split their favours between the two pools, with No4 Wawrinka the other Grand Slam champion among the eight.
Perhaps the most anticipation was reserved for Rafael Nadal, who had worked his way up the rankings from an uncharacteristic low of No10 this July after ending 2014 with injury and illness. Now he was No5, but on paper could still be drawn in the same pool as both Djokovic and Federer, or Murray and Federer.
As it turned out, the chips fell quite evenly between the eight. Federer was pitched into Djokovic’s group for what will be a certain seventh meeting this year. That may not be as insurmountable problem for the Swiss as for some others, however, since Federer has been the only man to beat Djokovic twice this year in arguably the rivalry of the season. Twice they faced off in Grand Slam finals, three times in Masters finals, and to cap the intrigue, they were due to contest the title at the O2 last year until Federer withdrew with a back injury.
Murray was not unhappy with his draw, either. As he pointed out: “They’re all pretty good! But I haven’t played against Stan for a long time [a loss at the US Open in 2013 was the last], and not played Rafa much this year.”
And the only match he did play against Nadal he won, in the Madrid Masters final.
In the doubles draw, No1 duo Bob and Mike Bryan, four-time champions, head the Ashe/Smith Group, with No2 Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau atop the Fleming/McEnroe Group.
Drawn against the Bryans are two-time Grand Slam finalists Jamie Murray and John Peers, playing in their last tournament together, and joined by Australian Open champions Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini plus Indian/Romanian duo Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea.
Drawn with Wimbledon champions Rojer and Tecau are Roland Garros champions Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo, US Open champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut and Polish/Serbian duo Marcin Matkowski and Nenad Zimonjic.
Stan Smith Group
No1 Novak Djokovic: champion four times, ninth appearance
No3 Roger Federer: champion six times, 14th appearance
No6 Tomas Berdych: one-time semi-finalist; sixth appearance
No8 Kei Nishikori: one-time semi-finalist; second appearance
Ilie Nastase Group
No2 Andy Murray: three-time semi-finalist, seventh appearance, eighth qualification
No4 Stan Wawrinka: two-time semi-finalist, third appearance
No5 Rafael Nadal: two-time finalist, seventh appearance, 11th qualification
No7 David Ferrer: 2007 finalist, seventh appearance
Sunday 15 November
Afternoon: Murray/Peers vs Bolelli/Fognini, f/b Djokovic vs Nishikori
Evening: Bryan/Bryan vs Bopanna/Merger, f/b Federer vs Berdych
Monday 16 November
Afternoon: Rojer/Tecau vs Matkowski/Zimonjic, f/b Murray vs Ferrer
Evening: Dodig/Melo vs Herbert/Mahut, f/b Nadal vs Wawrinka