ATP Finals 2023 Preview: Novak Djokovic faces stiff challenge from Gen Z in chase for record seventh title
Carlos Alcaraz is among the players making their ATP Finals debut.
The race is on to see who will be victorious at the year-ending Nitto ATP Finals 2023, which gets underway later today in Turin, Italy. The elite tournament, reserved for only the top eight singles players, is always a compelling watch. The season finale, having a prize pool of $15 million, will feature familiar names and young tennis stars in the singles draw.
The final eight were locked in with the wrapping up of the Paris Masters event. They have been split into two groups. There are four previous Nitto ATP Finals champions in the fray.
Green Group: Jannik Sinner, Holger Rune, Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas
Red Group: Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev
The top seed is defending champion Novak Djokovic, who is tied with Roger Federer for most title wins at the ATP finals at six and is chasing a record seventh trophy. The Serbian also needs to win just one match to end a record eighth year as the World No.1, extending a record that is already his. Pete Sampras achieved the feat six times. Djokovic has won three of four Grand Slams this year, along with two ATP Masters titles.
He can expect stiff competition for the next generation of players keen to make their mark on the tour.
“Thanks for the reminder about my age,” Djokovic told reporters, referring to the younger generation. “Not sure which generation I fit in. Having to compete with the younger guys is always extra motivation for me; I know that they are hungry.”
In the green group, Djokovic takes on Holger Rune in the evening session to begin his campaign. Holger Rune is among the few players with a respectable head-to-head record against the 24-time Grand Slam winner. Their head-to-head stands at 2-2. The World No. 1 defeated Rune in the quarterfinals of the recently concluded Paris Masters.
Before the Djokovic-Rune encounter, local hero Jannik Sinner will face off against 2019 winner Stefanos Tsitsipas. Sinner overcame Tsitsipas in the recent encounter in Rotterdam in straight sets. So, the Italian will have the mental edge going into Sunday’s face-off.
“I do believe that the experience of playing the Nitto ATP Finals is close to a Grand Slam experience,” Tsitsipas said, speaking to ATP Media on Friday.
Carlos Alcaraz is making his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals 2023 and leads the red group. Alcaraz made an injury-related withdrawal from the 2022 ATP Finals. He takes to the courts on Monday afternoon against Alexander Zverev, who won the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals. The Spaniard suffered a setback when he lost to Roman Safiullin in straight sets in his opening match at the Paris Masters.
“I’m expecting the Carlos from to come early, despite the results of recent tournaments,” said Alcaraz, whose Wimbledon title was the last of the six titles he claimed in 2023.
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The Spaniard had a stunning breakout season in 2022, lifting five trophies en route to becoming the youngest No. 1 in Pepperstone ATP Rankings history,
The evening session on day two pits Daniil Medvedev, winner here in 2020, against Andrey Rublev. Daniil Medvedev is making his fifth consecutive appearance in the Nitto ATP Finals. Medvedev made it to the finals of the marquee event in 2021.