The Nitto ATP Finals draw for 2019 has just taken place in London and Roger Federer has landed in Group Bjorn Borg along with Novak Djokovic.
The first bit of interesting news came earlier in the day when Rafael Nadal confirmed his intention to participate having withdrawn from his Paris Masters semi-final last week with an abdominal injury.
Nadal's appearance in London is still subject to how he feels when he resumes serving practice but his name is in the draw and the lure of winning his first-ever ATP Finals trophy plus the hefty $9,000,000 prize money pool should be enough to get him out of bed come Monday.
You can see the groups below.
Nitto ATP Finals Groups 2020
|Group Andre Agassi||Group Bjorn Borg|
|Rafael Nadal (1)||Novak Djokovic (2)|
|Daniil Medvedev (4)||Roger Federer (3)|
|Stefanos Tsitsipas (6)||Dominic Thiem (5)|
|Alexander Zverev (7)||Matteo Berrettini (8)|
Thoughts on Federer's Group
There's obviously no such thing as an easy draw when all players are the top eight in the world but I think Federer will be happy with the group he's landed in.
He, of course, has Djokovic to contend with which is a very tough ask but will fancy his chances against Thiem and Berrettini. I think on balance they are easier propositions than Medvedev and Zverev based on current form and indoor pedigree.
Federer will face Thiem in his first match on Sunday evening and he beat the Austrian 6-2, 6-3 at last years event. Roger is the favourite indoors despite his losing 2-4 head to head record and if he can replicate his Basel form (assuming a similar court speed) then Thiem will struggle for time on the ball.
Berrettini is making his debut in London after squeaking into the final eight when Monfils lost to Shapovalov in Bercy and he's had a solid run in recent months. The Italian made the semi-finals at the US Open, Shanghai and Erste Bank Open in Vienna to help book his spot at the O2.
Berrettini a heavy first serve but given how Roger took him apart at Wimbledon then you'd have to say he's got the edge.
As for Djokovic, he looked bang in form in Paris last week but he's slightly more vulnerable in the group stages as Federer proved in 2015. Obviously Novak showed him who's boss when it counts in the final that same year but it'd be great for confidence if Roger were able to go unbeaten to make the semi-finals.
In terms of Group Andre Agassi, I think that's the tougher group as nobody will want to face Medvedev indoors as he's had such a strong second half of the season. There are always questions about who has what left in the tank when London rolls around but the Russian is fairly well rested having skipped Moscow and Vienna.
Zverev is the defending champion and can play brilliantly when he finds that groove. Tsitsipas is no pushover either so even a fully fit Nadal would have his work cut out to come through that unscathed and it will be interesting to see what version of Nadal turns up if any.
What do you guys make of the groups? Predictions for Federer? Let me know in the comments.