Image source: REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Tim Henman, the former British No. 1 believes Novak Djokovic might win a fifth title of the ATP Finals in London. There will be no raucous atmosphere generated by an 18,000-strong crowd inside the O2 Arena in 2020. No fans are allowed on-site as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s not really going out on a limb is it to choose Djokovic,” he told Metro. “He’s the No. 1 player in the world again and he’s won this tournament on I think five different occasions.
“He’s got such a good record indoors and for all these players it’s almost the last push as it were. I think if I had to be backing anyone it’d be Djokovic.”
Djokovic, who has been present in every year apart from the 2017 edition, won the event in four straight seasons from 2012 to 2015.
“I think sometimes fatigue can come into it,” Henman adds when asked about Djokovic’s failure to add a title here since 2015. “They do normally have very long seasons with a lot of matches. That is, obviously, not the case this year. It’s a tournament he’ll desperately want to win and I do think he starts as the favourite.
“Having said that, in Vienna, he did look a bit flat when he lost [to lucky loser Lorenzo Sonego in straight sets] so I’m sure he’ll want to bounce back and finish strongly at the O2.”
It’s no secret indoor hard courts are not Rafael Nadal’s preferred surface. He has only won one title on an indoor hard court, which came at the Madrid Masters in 2005.
“When you set the bar so high, when you look at his record indoors and sort of say, “Oh, it’s not too good”,’ says Henman. “But he’s won a Masters series indoors, he’s been in the final of the ATP Finals on two occasions I think. He’s still got a very good chance. I don’t think he’s the favourite this coming tournament but he’ll still fancy his chances if he’s fit and healthy.”