Nov 13, 2020
Nov 13, 2020

ATP Tour Finals 2020 preview

ATP Tour Finals 2020 betting preview

Will we see another surprise winner?

ATP Tour Finals 2020: Where is the value?

ATP Tour Finals 2020 preview

Credit: Getty Images

The final ATP event of the Tennis season begins on Sunday, with the ATP Tour Finals taking place at the O2 Arena in London. This preview profiles the eight contenders for the trophy.

Will we see another surprise winner?

With the exception of Roger Federer, the top eight players on the men’s tour take to the courts over the coming week in London, competing for the prestigious ATP Tour Finals. Conditions at the O2 Arena are likely to be pretty quick, with the service hold percentage, service points won percentage, and tiebreaks per set all higher than the ATP indoor hard mean figures over the last three years - despite the frequent presence of some of the best returners in the world.

The last three titles have, somewhat surprisingly, gone to players not in the traditional elite group, with Stefanos Tsitsipas the defending champion and Alexander Zverev (2018) and Grigor Dimitrov (2017) also successful in recent years. Before this, though, the other seven tournaments in the decade were split among Novak Djokovic (four), Roger Federer (two), and Andy Murray. It is difficult to speculate on reasons for the success of outsiders in recent years, but the dynamic this year given the five-month gap when the tour was suspended could well be different in any case - player fatigue, for example, is less likely to be an issue than it typically might be in a normal year.

As always, the battle for London sees this year’s eight players split into two groups, with the top two in each group qualifying for the semi-finals. Group Tokyo 1970 features tournament favourite Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, and Diego Schwartzman, while Group London 2020 comprises of Rafa Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Andrey Rublev.

The Pinnacle outright market (prices given are with the requirement that Djokovic must start the event) has moved a little since earlier in the week, with Djokovic being backed into 2.55* from 3.00*, while there is also some positive movement for Andrey Rublev, into 7.10*. The market is less bullish on the chances of Dominic Thiem, out to 9.70*, and the real outsider, Diego Schwartzman, who has drifted to 70.00*.

This lack of faith in Schwartzman looks logical - he’s almost certainly going to need to beat two of world number one Djokovic, or the two Paris Masters finalists Medvedev and Zverev just to qualify out of the Group. Statistically, Schwartzman couldn’t have got much of a tougher group, with Djokovic, Medvedev, and Zverev three of the top four players on tour on indoor courts, running at between 106-110% combined service/return points won percentage.
Leading the way here is Djokovic, who looks the justified tournament favourite despite skipping Paris due to ‘strategic reasons’.  Medvedev has a slight edge on Zverev based on the above metric and the fact he beat the German in that Paris final last weekend - the market looks to have got their chances the right way around.

Moving on to the Group London 2020, Rafa Nadal features alongside arguably the breakthrough player of the season, Rublev - he has won five titles including two recently indoors - as well as both of last year’s finalists, Tsitsipas and Thiem.

Despite his illustrious career, Nadal still has much to prove indoors. Longer-term data suggests that he’s much weaker on indoor hard compared to on outdoor hard, and of course, based on his stunning career his best numbers come on clay.  The Spaniard also struggled in Paris last week, dropping sets to countrymen Feliciano Lopez and Pablo Carreno-Busta, before being ousted by Zverev in straight sets in the semi-finals.

ATP Tour Finals 2020: Where is the value?

Given this, Group London 2020 looks wide open and without an overwhelming favourite to qualify from it.  Rublev will certainly have his supporters after a superb campaign which has seen him break into the top 10 for the first team, and his superb recent form.  He also has very impressive indoor data across the last two years, running at over 108% combined service/return points won on the surface in main tour matches during this period.

Tsitsipas is another one who has received market support following the draw, moving from 14.00* to 9.00* in recent days, although the defending champion will probably need to win several tight sets and matches to replicate last year’s achievement - the likely consequence of unspectacular return data.
 
Finally, Thiem missed Paris last week after struggling with foot blisters in Vienna the week prior - he lost to Rublev in straight sets in his home country - and has much to prove both from that injury perspective, but also indoors with his data on this surface being uninspiring in recent years.
 
An extremely competitive tournament is expected, and the event should be a superb conclusion to a tricky year for professional tennis.

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