ATP FinalsRoger Federer

World Tour Finals 2018 Groups Announced

Federer Finds Himself in Group Lleyton Hewitt

The season-ending Nitto ATP World Tour Finals gets underway this coming Sunday at the O2 Arena and the groups for the Round Robin stages have just been drawn.

The big, but not entirely unexpected news, was that Nadal has been forced to withdrew with an abdominal injury that kept him out of last week's Rolex Paris Masters. He's replaced by John Isner.

Juan Martin Del Potro also withdrew over the weekend due to the knee injury he sustained in Shanghai which gives Kei Nishikori his spot. You can see the groups below:

Guga Kuerten Group

  • Novak Djokovic (1)
  • Alexander Zverev (3)
  • Marin Cilic (5)
  • John Isner (8)

Lleyton Hewitt Group

  • Roger Federer (2)
  • Kevin Anderson (4)
  • Dominic Thiem (6)
  • Kei Nishikori (7)

Thoughts on the Groups

World Tour Finals 2018

With Nadal withdrawing it meant that's Roger and Novak were always going to be in separate groups and I think on paper they're fairly balanced as you'd expect when it's the Top 8-ish in there.

For group Guga Kuerten, Zverev is dangerous, Cilic is usually crap in London and then Isner is always capable of pulling off a win with this serve.

Djokovic dominates the H2H against the latter two though, with a 16-2 and 8-2 record against Cilic and Isner respectively. He's played Zverev twice and it's one apiece. So you can't see him having too many issues getting out of that group.

As for Group Lleyton Hewitt, Roger is in there with Kei Nishikori who he beat in Paris last week. Kei said in an interview he's very tired after a long season so who knows how much motivation he has considering he only got in off the back of a withdrawal but he at least as a week off.

Thiem is also in there and he has done well to qualify with stronger second half to the season than usual. I think his chances hinge on how the court plays, he needs it to be fairly slow and high ish bouncing.

Otherwise with an ineffective slice and no real variety he comes unstuck. No doubt he's improving slightly on surfaces that aren't red and dusty but I still don't see him as too much of a contender. I hope he proves me wrong as his backhand is fun to watch can produce some sick winners.

The remaining member of the group is Kevin Anderson who's had a stellar year. Isner is being touted as the guy nobody wants to play but I think K Bomb is the danger man at this year's tournament.

I had a feeling he wouldn't stick around in Paris too long and he'd have one eye on London with it being his maiden appearance. He's already in the capital practising on the Queen's Club indoor courts so I expect him to be well prepared and keen to put in a good showing.

Roger, on the other hand, is back in Switzerland doing more sponsor work with Credit Suisse, you know just for something different a bit different to usual 😆 . I'm assuming he will be heading over to London at some point this week to get his prep underway.

The Swiss will be playing his first match on Sunday evening against Kei Nishikori.

Anyway, what are your expectations for London? Can Federer win it for the first time since 2011? Let me know in the comments.


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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    1. I am hoping for title 100!!!

      Roger needs to serve at high percentage and be more aggressive on second serve returns.

  1. 2nd title in a week! Thank goodness Rafa did the decent thing and withdrew in time to leave them in separate halves. Both have good chance of making final

      1. I have tried to post with different mobile and wifi operators, but my comments always need to be approved, idk ??‍♂️



    1. Jonathan I haven’t found the order of play within the groups, which would be very much of interest.
      The good thing about Roger’s group is they are the first to start on Sunday and finish their group on Thursday.
      The Djoko group starts on Monday and finishes on Friday.
      Thus Roger might have one day of extra rest compared to his semi-opponent (hopefully he makes it there).

      1. Now that is good news.I would bet on Roger making the semis so that extra day of rest
        could be very important.

  2. For some reason this morning, I was already thinking about the Australian Open. Roger will likely have to beat both Rafa and Novak to win there since they are now 1 and 2. It will be important for him to amass as many points at London and I think in the clay season to make up for the chance that he does not repeat at the AO. Sorry for getting ahead of the sked, but you know how Fed fans are.

    1. Well if Roger can’t defend his title – and the chances aren’t great although hopefully he can pull out his top drawer tennis – please not Novak or Rafa. I’d rather Zverev or Tsitsipas.

  3. Anderson is danger if he can bomb serve like wimby this year. I hope roger serve will improve more than paris it help him a lot

  4. I guess it depends on who is suffering burn out too. Seems the new guy is like a deer in the headlights thinking back past years. Is too overwhelmed to play a decent game. Hard to say who will step up to the plate. Fed hasn’t won since 2011…yikes. That long?
    Wonder who is going to win the fan favourite, lol.

  5. Had it been Zverev instead of Anderson it would be perfect, but now it’s reasonable.
    Am I the only one who finds Roger being on Lleyton Hewitt hilarious?

  6. Such a reflex post immediately after the draw made, thanks Jonathan! Hope he will be carrying over the good form from Paris. A match at a time but can’t help dreaming of No. 100 🙂
    Another Uniqlo vs Uniqlo to start with… Speaking of the outfit, ah no Nike at WTF (singles) this year?? Hah!

      1. No you got it wrong here ?
        If winner of first match plays loser of the other match, it implies that winner of second match plays loser of first match. Now if both winners from matches win their second matches too, then the winners will qualify and there is no real meaning to third day of RR matches apart from deciding group winner.
        To avoid these things, ATP makes the winners from first RR matches of the group play second RR match. Losers of first RR matches play the second RR match. This way until day of final RR , atleast one semifinal spot is not decided and keeps the match interesting.
        Winners from first RR matches usually play evening session on second RR day.
        This is my observation from last few years☺️☺️

  7. Kei was tired in Paris already. He might pull off, but please don’t?!
    In WTF you always have SF vs one from the other group, right?
    I don’t know whom I hope for in SF vs Fed – Roger might win all if he’s fit. Is he motivated? The no. 1 year end is taken…Will prospect of no.2 be enough to energize him? Jon is prob right he has to do what he can, having to defend a maximum in AO. But is this a positive motivation?

    1. Well, you can’t have two people from the same group playing each other in the semi-final 😆 how crap would that be, another round robin replay.

      I don’t think Kei will withdraw. Not seen or heard any rumours of that.

  8. I am not completely convinced that Fed is motivated so much by ranking.He said going into Paris that his focus was on London,not getting to number one.He gritted it out in Basel,improved with each match in Paris and now stands a very good
    chance in London.I think he is playing one match at a time basically while trying to solve the conundrum of Djokovic.

  9. Nadal is 1460 points ahead of Fed,so if Fed wins the whole thing can he overtake him?Dont know how many points the
    winner in London gets.

      1. He’s back competing in the Top 5 and was number 1 this year. Just titles as a focus now please. Any extra title is a bonus 🙂

  10. Personally I don’t think Fed is interested that much in the points side of it at the moment – winning the title to make it 6, and 100 total titles, would be more motivating I should think.

  11. Both groups look evenly balanced. Looking forward to Roger avenging his Wimbledon loss and coming through undefeated from his group. Hope the courts are faster than Paris and Roger gets an edge over Djoker this time around. Winning the world tour finals should give Roger the confidence he needs going in to 2019. Allez Roger!!!!

    1. Oh good. If I *have* to keep travelling to Baron’s Court, at least I can keep an eye out for tennis players while I’m doing so 🙁

  12. I think they’re all practicing at Queens at the moment? Or maybe just some of the time?

    I think we don’t know until the first match if Fed has really got to the end of his – issue. Will hope the improvements in Paris are able to stick.

    Provided they do, I think you have to figure on both Roger & Novak to come through. For the others – I would have said Thiem was in a bit better form than Zverev, but as you say Jonathan the court is liable to suit Zverev better. Marin has got the skills but hasn’t seemed to be able figure out the O2 venue. Anderson & Kei have been locked in a recurring duel for several weeks so I almost think it will come down to them. As always, one match at a time, and we shall see!

  13. Had a quick look at the Next Gen matches last night.My goodness it was boring.Apart from Titsy and Tiafoe they all seem

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