Novak Djokovic handed favourable ATP Finals draw by avoiding his two biggest rivals
Novak Djokovic speaks following his US Open defeat against Daniil Medvedev.
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Novak Djokovic has learned his fate for the upcoming ATP Finals as the groups have been drawn for the season-ending event. The tournament sees the best eight players of the year face off in two groups of four during the round-robin stages, looking to progress to the semi-final and final.
Djokovic has enjoyed a glittering 2021 season, winning three Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and making it to the US Open final.
He also recently clinched the year-end No 1 ranking for a record seventh time and became the first man to win a 37th Masters 1000 title in Paris-Bercy.
He is now gearing up for his final tour-level event of the year before competing as part of Team Serbia in the Davis Cup Finals to cap off his season.
The Serb is the top seed at the season-ending ATP Finals, being held in Turin for the first time after moving from London’s o2 arena.
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Djokovic is a five-time champion at the 1500-point event, but has not lifted the ATP Finals trophy since 2015.
The 34-year-old has now learned his fate for the round-robin stages and looks to have a good chance at fighting for a sixth title at the prestigious top-eight event, avoiding his two biggest rivals.
Medvedev, who has been the 20-time Major winner’s biggest rival this year and defeated him in the US Open final, was already set to avoid Djokovic in the round-robin matches as the top two seeds must be drawn in opposing groups.
Alexander Zverev, the current world No 3 who defeated Djokovic in the Olympics semi-final en route to the gold medal – ending the Serb’s Calendar Golden Slam hopes and leaving him without a medal in Tokyo – is also in Group B, away from the world No 1.
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Djokovic will instead face Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Casper Ruud in his three group-stage matches as he looks to get out of the groups and make it to the semi-final to face someone from Group B.
The world No 1 benefits from a winning head-to-head record against most of his fellow Group A players and has never faced Andrey Rublev.
He has faced Tsitsipas twice this year and beaten him, including a comeback from two-sets-to-love down in the Roland Garros final, and holds a 6-2 all-time win-loss record over the Greek.
The world No 4 is also currently facing injury troubles, having retired his opening match at last week’s Paris Masters while 2-4 down to world No 71 Alexei Popyrin, having an issue with his arm he did not wish to go into detail on.
Meanwhile, the 34-year-old’s only match against Casper Ruud – a five-time title winner in 2021 – came during last year’s Rome Masters semi-final, which was won by the Serb 7-5 6-3.
Matteo Berrettini and Hubert Hurkacz also round out Group B and will compete with Medvedev and Zverev for a spot in the semi-finals.
The top seed has won three of the three matches he has played against world No 9 Hurkacz, but the Pole came within points of beating Djokovic during last week’s Paris Masters semi-final, which the Serb narrowly won 3-6 6-0 7-6(5)
Although Berrettini has never beaten Djokovic, the pair met at three of the four Grand Slams this year, where the 25-year-old was able to push the world No 1 and take a set off him in all three matches, and the Italian will also benefit from playing in front of a home crowd this year.
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