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World Tour Finals 2015

World Tour Finals 2015 Draw Announced

The ATP World Tour Finals 2015 groups have just been announced and you can see them below:

Group Stan Smith Group Ilie Nastase
Novak Djokovic Andy Murray
Roger Federer Stan Wawrinka
Tomas Berdych Rafael Nadal
Kei Nishikori David Ferrer

First thoughts are I'm liking it. Well balanced groups and Fed has a very good shot of making the Semi Finals. Djokovic is the man to beat though but it's likely both he and Federer are the ones to make it out of Group Stan Smith. As for Berdych and Nishikori who knows, they're they underdogs for sure; Nishikori seems to be constantly injured and Berdych is very in and out but he did play well in Paris and over three sets he's probably the most dangerous for Roger.

As for Group Ilie Nastase it's a tough one – Murray in London often disappoints and he has one eye on the Davis Cup so I quite like Stan's chances. Nadal will probably be there or there abouts and Ferrer will be around to feed off the scraps in case any of them have a bad day.

There's no word on schedule yet but I heard Murray wanted to start on Monday according to a tweet from TV & Showbiz correspondent at the Daily Mail Mike Dickson.

Federer's first match is on Sunday evening against Berdych.

Let me know what you think of the groups in the comments.

About Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer - I'll pretty much try and watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Fed and tennis in general.

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116 comments

  1. Watched it Jonathan. Djoker, Fed, Berdych and Kei. Congrats to Fed on his two awards

    • I didn’t watch it, I couldn’t be bothered waiting for all the formalities and pointless shit just to draw 8 names out of a hat πŸ˜† the thing started at 7.30 and the draw was done about 8.30 – what were they doing???

    • Don’t know why fans bother to vote for those things, obvious Fed will bag them until the end of time/career (whichever comes first…)

      • Alysha it’s not ‘obvious’ unless fans actually vote for him! I voted five times but I heard that some Chinese fans voted 50 time, a day that is!!

      • I imagine some fans will automate votes in bulk. I doubt the ATP really cares either way πŸ™‚

        I just voted once, you get the sense for many they were voting because they were hell bent on certain players not winning it, rather than the person they voted for winning it πŸ˜‰

  2. Very Short and direct to the point post…Agree that group looks more balanced…

    About Murray, curious to understand what difference it makes if he start on Monday or Tuesday? Or he already made up mind not to qualify SF?

    • I agree that I may be dreaming, but hey it’s chance to have two wins against No.1…

      • I thought that too. It would be great for Fed although I think the No 1 player is set to prove something. Go Roger!

    • Well he could start Sunday too.

      I am just casting my mind back to 2010 Fed vs Djoker, great match from Fed.

      • Yeah it was a joy to watch! Were you there live?
        Wait, you were at the final that year, weren’t you? You, ‘Fed vs Nadal lucky charmer’ πŸ™‚

      • He’s suffered some beat-downs in the past from the champ; no wonder he wants revenge. πŸ˜‰ Unfortunately (as Federer himself has acknowledged), Djokovic is *much* improved from 2010. Far better volleying; better serve; pin point accuracy; few errors, and he’s analysed Feds’ game to the nth degree. Seems to ‘read’ his serve incredibly well now, so no free points available more often than not. Feds not as quick (obviously) and having to fight for every point. But still, who knows? It all comes down to the day. πŸ™‚

  3. Second? Yh I agree not a bad draw. Perfect draw would’ve been Andy instead of Novak but oh well. Thinking Novak winning 3-0 Roger 2-1 Tomas 1-2 and kei 0-3. Not in 100% form so it’s hard to see where he is. Regarding group nastase quite interesting as there are 3 really good guys going for 2 spots. I’m saying that’s going down to the wire with Murray and Stan coming out in the end. Then a federer Murray djoko Stan semi would be what most would want and hopefully a federer djoko final (scared of Stan because you don’t know when he’s going to blow). Thanks for the quick post Jonathan.

    • What is 100% form? He won Basel 2 weeks ago so is playing well. The only doubt would be if he has shaken off that injury in Paris.

      I think Nadal will qualify out the group.

      • Oh sorry was talking about kei not being in top form. I have a feeling that Stan will perform well and get 2nd place in the group. Murrays been great against the other guys apart from Roger and Novak so it’ll be interesting to see how he does here

      • Ah I get you.

        Murray and the O2 never quite worked out, he should have made final in 2010 but other than that he’s been poor.

  4. I like it, too, Jonathan, and we all know that Fed plays Djoko better in SFs than in Finals these days….

    • Well he can’t meet Djokovic until the final if they both progress…

      But anyway I don’t buy this he plays better against him in Semi Finals either. Weren’t both his wins against Djoker this year in finals?

      It’s just one of those nonsense ideas people cook up as a possible reason for not getting it done in the finals this year.

      I heard he plays better against Djokovic in practice than he does in real matches πŸ˜†

      • “Weren’t both his wins against Djoker this year in finals?”

        And how many of his losses? (And how often this year were they anything but first and second seeds?)

      • Surely he will meet Novak at least twice if he’s on his side Jonathan? So if they both progress in their group it will be SFs. Not that it makes any real difference; he has to get through Djoker whichever way you look at it. Berdy, it depends. He rarely does well here, always seems intimidated by the whole affair, although he’s been here often enough. Kei, if the injury problem has really disappeared could be tricky also. If Stan the Man is out to play, I’m going to say him on Ilie N side, but since he’s not got Feds on his side of the draw, I’m assuming STM will not be in evidence. πŸ˜‰

        Fair draw though I guess, although I’d have preferred Feds to be on the Murray side.

        Allez Federer!

      • If Federer and Djokovic both progress from the group they would meet in the semi finals? What a great format for a tournament that would be πŸ˜†

        The winner of Stan Smith plays the runner up in Ilie Nastase. And vice versa. So should Federer get through, he isn’t going to be facing Djokovic in a semi final, it’s impossible.

        Once they’ve faced off in the groups then final is the only time they’d meet again. Which is why I think it’s a good group.

      • Oh sorry, of course you’re right as always – what am I thinking πŸ˜‰ brain freeze. They meet their opposite number from the other side in SFS – grovelling apology Jonathan – I should know better by now than to question you. πŸ˜†

  5. Don’t like losing to Novak but it’s a good draw. Tbh I doubt anyone can take Djokovic out right now on a surface like this one. No news but no indication it’s gonna be any faster this year.

    Which means fed should qualify 2-1 (berdych and nishikori both sort of bogey but not quite players). I would think ferrer loses all three, but Murray vs nadal will be interesting, I think Rafa might beat Stan, Stan beat Andy, and Andy beat Rafa. So a three way 2-1 with probably Murray and Rafa both qualifying (I can see Stan losing a set to everyone). Fed Murray semi, then a nadal Djokovic semi. Fed Djokovic final, Djokovic comes out on top in two close sets like 2012.

    • That 2012 loss was so damn annoying seeing as Fed was up in both those sets but didn’t win the important points. A story that has haunted him in those slam finals against him this year. Fed still the second best indoor player though and has a great record at this event not to mention been right behind Djoker the whole season so don’t think he’s as big as an underdog as most fans seem to make him out to be.

      • Well said Alysha, I wonder if some people on this site follow the same Roger Federer we do?? Of course Roger has a chance of beating the drugs cheat that is Djokovic. It will be monumentally tough but if anyone can, Roger can! And I know Roger REALLY wants this tournament win. And be positive people, Roger CAN take out the cheat in the Group Stage and hopefully it will mean a Murray v Djokovic semi and maybe ( happy days ) a Roger v Ferrer semi. And did people read yesterday about Roger saying he is rarely drug-tested in finals?? I simply do NOT believe Djokovic is remotely clean!!

  6. Hoping for the best but it seems that the court surface will be the decider here. Fed on a slow court doesn’t have such a good chance to beat bashers.
    Perhaps Roger is feeling inspired from his time in Finland. And fingers crossed he is fit and ready to go.

  7. I’ve just been catching up on everything that’s been going on in the Fall season just in time for the WTF. Other than the Fedal match in Basel, not much time for tennis I’m afraid, that pesky time difference doesn’t help matters either. Loved the read on your trip to Switzerland though, and also congrats on adding the shop to your blog, will definitely need to get one of those SABR shirts in time for the AO.

    I think Fed has done pretty good in the fall so far. Didn’t really have any expectations for him in Paris after Basel and the event in Finland seemed nice so hopefully London can provide the ending to a great season. Novak yet again the man to beat especially if the courts are as slow as they always are in the O2. After the way Fed had to go out last year, it would mean a lot to see him get this one in the bag and deny Djoker the cherry on what has been one hell of a cake. Bring it on!

    • Would love to see it, too, but I doubt it’s going to happen – especially not if the court is the same as Bercy.

      I’m getting a strange sense of deja vu about this draw, but then I suppose to some extent if you get pretty much the same players playing and there are constraints about who can be drawn against whom then it’s not so surprising.

  8. I forgot it wasn’t a totally random draw after placing 1/2, so this is WAY better than some imagined scenarios! Given the 8, I too feared some unbalanced groups but this seems to have turned out very reasonably. As Roger said, your first match is against a top 8 player, so it’s not like there are any gimmes.

    Have to wonder about Nadal. Is he peaking at just the right time? Or not quite back from his winter of discontent?

    Agree can’t see Kei winning a match, particularly as he hasn’t been physically 100% in months.

    • I dunno about peaking but he is playing better. Indoors in London though, surface not ideal for him. I dunno maybe he’s up for it or maybe he’s already on the yacht in Mallorca.

      WTF isn’t like a huge deal to a lot of players so depends how fired up he is to try win.

  9. Fed playing on Sunday at 8pm against one of our favourites…Berdych.

  10. Certainly a better group for Roger to be in. Not just for making the semis, but it is much better to be playing Murray/Nadal in the semis rather than Djoker. I don’t see anyone beating Djokovic who seems to be thriving in the weak era of tennis with the closest competition coming from old man Fed.

  11. I’ve been hold holding my breath as I’ve got tickets for the Monday night session. So sadly not seeing Fed but Stan v Nadal is not a bad consolation prize. I just hope the same Stan turns up as in Paris

  12. Screw these slow courts. I think Roger should dope, then he will be able to play just like these other guys, who turn everything into a clay court. WADA, where are you? To hell with Russian athletics.

  13. Wish the court speed could be as fast as your draw post, wow Jonathan, that was almost live!

    “Possibly the greatest sporting event in the world” said the ATP boss, wtf? πŸ˜†

    As for the draw, Fed looks gorgeous in suit…that was my thoughts. Anybody going there, have a fun!

    • Yeah they don’t have half ham it up.

      WTF isn’t a big event really. I would put it below a Masters 1000.

      • A *good-sized* M1000 – not one of these mini-draw ones.

      • Are you serious Jon? Why would you put WTF below a Masters 1000?

      • Because if you genuinely asked players what they want to win a M1000 is likely more important to them. WTF is more of a season ending showpiece. I mean Davydenko even won it in 2009.

        I’ve watched WTF live and you can see some players don’t play with the same level of enthusiasm as they do throughout the rest of the year. Many of them are visualising themselves on a beach.

        It’s still important but I put it between a 500 and a 1000. It’s an ATP 750 πŸ™‚

      • I think that’s because the format lends itself to affording a loss. And after you’ve lost one, the fire isn’t as strong because you know 99% of other guys are resting already. But come semis and final time, I think everyone tries extra hard, Jon.

        I would say most players would prefer to win that over the vast majority of M1000s. Maybe excepting Indian wells. For sure it’s as difficult to win, and while it’s a showpiece, just being in it is a source of pride. Most players understand that getting into it would entail a hell of a year, so winning is less important because it’s conditioned on the best year of their careers. But if you offered someone free entry, I’d say they rather win it than a 1000.

      • I can say with absolute certainty that the vast majority of players would take a M1000 over the WTF.

        Based on what the media present or what players say when they have a microphone in front of their face and they are forced to make the right noises you are bound to think WTF is mega.

        Just think how many ‘favourite tournaments’ these guys have throughout the year? πŸ˜†

        Slam > M1000 > WTF > ATP500 > ATP 250 > Davis Cup > Olympic Games

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Maybe, going by what players “think” you “think”, it may be placed below M1000, Think about is rationally though.

        The best 8, from the year, play. You have to win at least four matches for the title, and you are going to have to play against top 8 players, and potentially at least one, and two against the top 4. Can you say the same, consistently, about M1000?

        I put the WTF above the M1000. There’s a reason it has 1500 points. πŸ™‚

        Davydenko won it in 2009, sure. But Davy was playing insane. He beat Fed at the O2, and he nearly beat him at AO2010 (I think), when Federer took that infamous bathroom break (thankfully), to solve him. So, don’t diminish the WTF just because Davy won it. He fully deserved it.

      • “I’ve watched WTF live and you can see some players don’t play with the same level of enthusiasm as they do throughout the rest of the year. Many of them are visualising themselves on a beach.”

        Absurd argument, you’re confusing it with fatigue by players at the end of a grueling season which is understandable.

      • I agree with Sid on this.

      • Thanks, Sid. Agree completely. The difficulty of winning it is great, and the timing of the tournament shouldn’t influence its importance. If Wimbledon was end of season, I’d treat it as just as important.

      • To the players present and yesteryear – the World Tour Finals in general is not as big or an important event as you are making out.

        Hopefully a journalist can ask one time and we get an honest answer from some players but I doubt it πŸ™‚

        And maybe I’m being a little ott in saying a Masters 1000 are more important. They’re probbaly more on a par. It’s really only ever about the Grand Slams.

      • Nice start in the first match 6-1 6-1 to go with last years Round Robin blowout of this hugely important event πŸ™‚

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Sheesh, Jonathan! Get a grip man. Nishikori has sucked recently, so no surprise. Novak is having a 2011 like year, and he is what, a three time champion (in a row) here, now, and some manner of indoor beast too? What did you expect?

        Nice cherry picking. πŸ™‚

  14. Let me put the turbant on and rub my crystal ball… hum… hum (you are really enjoing this, aren’t you? Nasty ball.).
    OK, I foresee this: Berdych, Ferrer and Nishikori the punchbags; the latter to retire after one match. Federer loses to Joker in the RR and humiliates him in the final after rolling over Murray in the SF.
    Now it’s about time I write my postcard to Santa Claus, do a rain dance, bite the head off from a chicken and bathe in its blood.

  15. Interesting to see if conditions are still turtle slow and anyone can step up their game to try to take out Djoker. Its a balance group since Roger is ranked 3rd – get ready to rumble guys.

  16. Difficult remember which group is which…What’s wrong with the name Group A and B?
    Stan should be in Group Stan πŸ˜†

    • Yeah just more gimmicky stuff from the ATP πŸ™‚

      I am a bit disappointed that at least 1 group isn’t named after a black player. And then I learned that BNP sponsor many tennis tournaments. Not a good look.

  17. Can someone please tell me why are the groups called Stan Smith and Ilie Nastase? I know who they are but why those names? No one, not one, has mentioned this. I’m painfully curious.

  18. Nazirul, I believe it’s because they are past winners of this event. Same with the doubles.

  19. Why there should be a draw beats me.

    It should be 1,4,5 & 8 in one group and 2,3,6 & 7 in the other.

    Which means Djoker, Stan, Rafa & Kei in Stan Group and Murray, Fed, Berdych & Ferrer in Ilie group.

    It evens tallies mathematically. 18 on either side.

    Nevertheless, Feddych should be a good beginning for Fed. Fed has had problems against Kei, but Kei has more problems against himself these days. I would rather Fed lose to Djoker in the RR and win the finals and not vice versa, though would love if he whips his ass both times making it 23 – 21. ( the walkover last year not considered ).

  20. Hi jonathan
    Are you going to watch Federer live?
    The draw is quite good and Sunday’s match will be very interesting.Fed will surely have to win it,I also think Fed can defeat Djoker, he was not that invincible guy in Paris ,broken 3 times continuously to Simon, Berdych having set points in both sets but he faltered.
    Fed has been doing really well against berdych and I am juSt hoping Fed starts in goderer mode.
    Nadal again complaining about WTF being on hard and not clay.I really don’t hate Nadal much,but he sometimes acts childish and how can he think of having WTF clay after indoor hard season.It’s like all about his winning and not about players adjusting.

    • I’m not watching live no. I’ve been to WTF a few times and got a bit bored of it now. I think it should move to a new venue then I’d go again.

      Nothing new with Nadal moaning about it not being on clay. Broken record πŸ˜†

  21. Meant to say, I wish they’d do away with televising the draw. Don’t usually watch but caught this one – really cringing and embarrassing, particularly Boris the Buffoon. Scroll a little on this https://twitter.com/TennisInsideOut/status/664978941346623488 and just take a look at Federer’s face as he takes a sidelong glance at Boris: ‘Why am I standing next to this tosser!’ πŸ˜†

  22. FYI @Wanda, @Sue et al Color13 replied to some of your comments on the Shop blog post.

  23. My hope is that Roger bags a win against Novak, although if the surface is anything like as slow as Paris the courts won’t be doing Roger any favours. My next preferred option is that anyone beats Novak, especially if it’s in the final – although that, too, is difficult to see in this “weak era” of the Djokovic reign. (BTW, anyone else see the physical resemblance between Djoko and a Russian 800m runner? Uncanny. I would swear Djoko has trained there.) C’mon, Rog – remember Cincinnati!

    • Agreed Richard. Or even better if Djokovic breaks his leg and then all the doping in the world won’t make his leg recover quicker than the standard six months it takes to do so….perhaps he might then acquire a conscience whilst he recuperates?

    • What a daft thing to say to Paul. 2.48am – you been drinking?

      It’s pointless throwing out wild accusations at players with zero evidence other than not being happy with the fact they are currently dominating the sport. Could Djoker dope? Yes. Could everyone else in the top 10? Yes.

      It’s no different to porting ourselves back to 2006, becoming Roddick fans and accusing Federer of doping. There is just no way he could react so well to those big serves whilst stood on the baseline. It must have been coke.

      To me it just looks daft to accuse a player of doping, but exclude Fed from it because you are his fan πŸ˜†

      We been through this a million times – will doping happen in tennis? Yes. Do we know who does it? No.

      • Jonathan, it is you who is sounding naive, to suggest there is no evidence pointing at any top individual player. There is – and plenty of it – and it is not simply that a player is dominating the sport. If that were so we might accuse all no. 1 players from Laver, Borg, Lendl and Sampras onwards. But we don’t – because excellence or “domination” isn’t of itself the evidence. Rather, it is based on how players physically perform, their career history, what might be considered natural, and how that perception has dramatically changed in recent times – coupled of course with more and more information about the sheer pervasiveness of doping. (Er – you are aware currently of a Russian problem?) The only rational position today is one of scepticism – about all top players. No one can automatically get a pass. But some are more likely than others, though to see that you have to take the time to become informed on how doping works. And – regrettably – it does. And there is no sign that we are getting on top of the problem.

      • That ‘evidence’ is weaker than Murray’s second serve. You have to come up with more than just oh he improved so quickly it must be doping.

        I’m fully aware doping in tennis is bound to be a problem. I just don’t know who does it – and neither do you.

        All this becoming informed on the subject and knowing some are more likely than others is all well and good but every time I see someone throw out doping accusations it’s to players they don’t like for a number of reasons. It’s like if they tick a few boxes in your mind – they must be doping.

        Let’s pick the main supposed culprits – Djokovic – he had a history of poor stamina and struggling in heat + tough matches. Then he became one of the best in those moments with unrivalled fitness. Could that be from doping? Of course. But it’s hardly concrete is it. He did win the AO in 2008, so it wasn’t like he came out of nowhere – the margins are very small to go from there or there abouts to the top of the game.

        Nadal – took 2004 off and came back with a ton of muscle. I agree, suspicious.
        History of injuries only to make quick recoveries and dominate again – again suspicious. Various other bits and bats that look suspicious. But nothing concrete and there are counter arguments for all of the above that are just as plausible.

        Serena – went to a panic room when a drug tester arrived. Probably the strongest piece of evidence in this list.

        So really all the specific accusations are just here say. Unless you’re on the inside of the game or very very close to it you aren’t going to have any clue of who is and who isn’t doping.

      • Jonathan, I wouldn’t conclude that an individual player is doping solely on the kind of evidence that you refer to above. But that isn’t the full case that could be brought against any one of those players. However this forum is not the place to enter into detailed discussion of that; it would simply take up too much time and space. Nevertheless, I will say this, that I have heard from coaches and pro’s I have talked to that they consider doping is now “everywhere” on the tour and that many of the big names are the key suspects. Again, that doesn’t prove the case or end speculation but is part of a very disturbing picture; that we cannot trust the bona fides of what we are seeing on court. It is hard to conceive of widespread doping that doesn’t include many of the most successful players, otherwise there would be no advantage to be gained from doping. But increasingly superhuman physical feats of strength, speed and stamina – often gained late in a player’s career – should be raising red flags to us all. And these are now becoming a commonplace. I will quote you Richard Pound, who headed the WADA investigation into Russian athletics, who said a few years back that “tennis has a steroid problem”, based essentially on the observation of unreal performances that I refer to above. It is simply not good enough to say that because we don’t have the evidence of failed drug tests that we must assume any player is clean – virtually none of the doping scandals in recent times provided that kind of proof – but rather that suspicion must lie over virtually all now. We have arrived in that kind of world. But some are clearly more suspicious than others.

      • BTW, you are right to say that it isn’t enough to tick a few boxes of a player you don’t like and say they are a doper. I don’t do that. But if the information you have is that tennis is now little different from where cycling was in the Armstrong era (and pretty much still is today) you might take a rather different view of the game and its top players. That, incidentally, is the view of Paul Kimmage, the former ST journo who went after Armstrong in the early 2000’s, as well as the site THASP which details the inadequacy of anti-doping policies by the ITF, and of course the comments of Richard Pound above.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        [but exclude Fed from it because you are his fan] – Jonathan

        Uh…Fed has given plenty of reason that he does not dope. He simply does not come out on top in 5 setters. I’m thinking, remind of a five set final Roger won outside of Wimbledon? He hasn’t even pushed Nadal to five at the French open, let alone beat him.

        Look, you don’t convict someone of a crime only if you have smoking gun evidence. There is almost always enough circumstantial evidence to support that tennis players are heavily doped. I cannot for the life of me believe that some can win two five set matches in a row for the title, with barely any recovery time.

        Jonathan, you think Richards evidence is weaker than Murray second serve? I’ll give you your own medicine now. Your rebuttal is an even bigger joke than the Gulbis forehand. πŸ˜‰ I understand you run a blog, so you have to be politically correct.

        Let’s leave it at that.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Here’s Federer’s record vs his three main rivals, in five set matches, at slams.

        1-6.

        Yes, one win (at Wimbledon 2007 when it was fast, thankfully, or the record would’ve been 0-7). That’s pathetic!

        At the French open here’s Roger’s record vs Nadal.

        4 sets won in 5 matches, including a match where he won just 4 games. Roger never made the fifth set in any of the matches.

        Now, ignoring four set wins by Federer would be like cherry picking. I understand. But the point I’m trying to make is that in five set matches, it becomes an endurance problem for Federer. Not the sign of someone who dopes.

      • Gulbis forehand! Sid – that is really cruel!

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Haha! Well, that was Jonathan’s own medicine. I remember he used the “Gulbis forehand” joke when commenting on a recent post. πŸ™‚

      • There’s nothing about being politically correct in there – it’s just logic. Like I keep saying, it is obvious tennis will have a steroid problem but it’s also a fact that neither I or anybody else here has a clue who dopes and who doesn’t dope.

        And what makes the claims look ridiculous is when Fed wins, we rarely see a mention of it. Cincinnati thread, not one mention of the word doping or drugs. US Open final – doping galore πŸ˜† that looks pretty daft to me as it proves the discussion on it is more emotional than anything sensible.

      • Jonathan, how can you say that tennis will have a steroid problem but that we won’t have a clue who is doping? That is an absurdity. How can you know of the existence of a problem without signs of the problem? More specifically, what is the evidence of doping if not the players themselves? If not dubious performance indicators, amongst others, how are we to suspect the presence of doping? The elephant has done a turd in the room but it seems you are doing your very best not to try and smell it.

      • Because any sport that is paying out millions and where being a step faster can add some 0’s onto your pay cheque it is inevitable. So it’s going to exist. But as for clear cut signs of the problem with specific players? All I tend to see is conjecture and cobbled together pieces of information passed of as proof he or she dopes.

        The biggest evidence for me is the Serena panic room incident. That one just doesn’t add up at all and she faced zero punishment for it. The rest of them are all pretty loose theories.

      • Jonathan, yet again the finding that athletics is as immersed in doping as cycling has been shows that as far as controlling doping in sport is concerned the horse has bolted. If we accept – as I think we must – that tennis can be little different then the question becomes not one of who may be doping (amongst the top players) but who won’t be. Logically, we cannot acknowledge the existence of widespread doping while saying there is “no evidence” or “proof” against individual players. Sadly, all become suspect – and some clearly more than others.

    • My next preferred option is that anyone beats Novak, especially if it’s in the final

      Are you sure about that, richard? Would you really prefer the Beast to defeat Djokovic in the final and cap off Miraculous Comeback from Career-Threatening Injury #10,971 by winning the WTF for only his second-ever indoor title? If he could pull that off, he’d probably be in shape to win the Calendar Slam next year and break Federer’s Grand Slam record.

      • If Nadal were to begin a late career renaissance by defeating Djokovic in the final of the WTF, and resume a career run like he did in 2013 – then coming off injury – it would merely confirm the farce that the professional game has become. Hence my pleasure now is based mainly on seeing the more egregious suspects being beaten. For me, tennis as a clean sport ended some years ago, and probably with Roger as it’s last such champion.

  24. Well it’s that time of year again where Conal makes his utterly brilliant and accurate predictions for each of the WTF matches!

    Stan Smith Group
    Djokovic v Federer : Federer wins 6-4 6-4 X (Federer 7-5 6-2)
    Djokovic v Nishikori : Djokovic wins 7-5 6-3 X (Djokovic 6-1 6-1)
    Djokovic v Berdych : Djokovic wins 7-6 7-6
    Federer v Nishikori : Federer wins 6-4 6-3
    Federer v Berdych : Federer wins 6-2 7-6 X (Federer 6-4 6-2)
    Nishikori v Berdych : Berdych wins 3-6 6-3 6-2 X (Nishikori 7-3 3-6 6-3)

    Ille Nastase Group
    Nadal v Wawrinka : Wawrinka wins 6-3 7-5 X (Nadal 6-3 6-2)
    Nadal v Ferrer : Nadal wins 5-7 7-6 6-2
    Nadal v Murray : Murray wins 7-6 6-1
    Wawrinka v Murray : Wawrinka wins 6-2 7-6
    Wawrinka v Ferrer : Wawrinka wins 7-6 7-6
    Murray v Ferrer : Ferrer wins 6-2 3-6 6-4 X (Murray 6-4 6-4)

    Semi
    Federer v Murray : Federer wins 6-3 6-2
    Wawrinka v Djokovic : Wawrinka wins 6-3 1-6 7-6

    Final
    Federer v Wawrinka : Federer wins 7-5 7-6

    • Utterly brilliant indeed!
      I think you should become the ATP boss and make it happen πŸ˜†

      Any more videos coming soon, Conal?

      • Wanda, I’m trying to get a couple of videos out before Christmas but it seems impossible because my internet has been constantly down in the last weeks. Top 20 of 2014 has been postponed and I’m working on another video – *spoiler alert* A compilation of the best slow motion clips of the Swiss Maestro! Hopefully no copyright issues!

    • Ok same deal as last year Conal: Every 2 correct scores = 1 free tshirt from Color13.

      See if you can beat last years effort of ZERO πŸ˜† I’m thinking right now you might do actually. Bad news for me.

  25. Looks like Federer will have to beat Djokovic twice, in the RR and final, and most likely Nadal in the semis, to win this title. A very tall order but doable if he plays well, even if the courts are the consistency of Bubble Yum.

    In 2012 Federer was burned out after a banner year, I don’t think he was able to play his absolute best in the WTF final. In 2013 his form was at an absolute nadir and it was amazing he managed to make it three sets against Djokovic. Last year was shit luck combined with the need to save himself for Davis Cup. This year he can empty the tank and pour all his energy into winning this title. Both his wins over Djokovic this year have been on fast surfaces; hopefully he can get one on a not-so-fast surface.

    Good thing he gets Berdych first so he can at least get used to court conditions before taking on the world #1–although there’s always the chance that Berdych could get hot and blow him away.

    • I think your points Steve are either right on the money or if not very close to it. The only thing I could add is that if Roger plays the Joker twice, it is almost unimaginable that Roger will win both.

    • Nishikori prob the best first opponent, he is going to be the whipping boy based on form so far.

  26. At least Djokovic is wearing a decent looking shirt. He will be hard to beat.

  27. Wow, people are wound up tight today. Relax, guys. We’ve been through way worse this year! As for Fed v Djoko here–I predict Fed will take ONE of those matches. Not knowing which, just a gut feeling.

  28. A pleasant evening. Good match, some pretty nasty drop shots, nice award ceremony. For a split second we could brush aside the turmoil of dark thoughts from the last days.

  29. Our boy played better than I had anticipated. Be happy!

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