The greatest trio ever bestowed on men’s tennis steadfastly refuse to step aside but this year’s ATP Finals boasts a fresh new look that offers a glimpse of the rivalries that should sustain the sport when they go.
Top seed Rafael Nadal, who can clinch the year-end top ranking for the fifth time, was asked if he felt a little old as he sat alongside debutants Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, and 2018 champion Alexander Zverev, for Friday’s pre-tournament news conference.
And for good reason.
Nadal, 33, will be very much the elder statesman in the Andre Agassi group which starts on Monday. Russian Medvedev is 23, Zverev is 22 and Tsitsipas is 21.
Italian Matteo Berrettini, 23, is the third player making his debut and will have the chance to make an immediate impact when he takes on five-time tournament champion Novak Djokovic when play begins in Bjorn Borg group on Sunday.
While 19-time Grand Slam champion Nadal has injury worries, few would bet against either him, 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer or Djokovic, winner of 16 majors, lifting the trophy next Sunday. But times clearly are changing and the fearless new pretenders are knocking loudly on the door.
A year ago Greek Tsitsipas won the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan -- a tournament to showcase the rising talents.
He has enjoyed a stunning year, beginning at the Australian Open where he beat Federer on the way to the semi-finals.
Tsitsipas has also beaten Nadal and Djokovic this season and arrives in London ranked sixth. His opening match will be against US Open runner-up Medvedev, who has four titles and a Tour-leading 59 match wins this year.
Asked about the prospect of their future battles, Tsitsipas said: “I guess you could say we are just getting started,” he told reporters at the 02 Arena. “We are the future of the ATP.
“Competition is very important and it’s quite interesting to see so many varieties. All different shapes and sizes.”
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر