Technically, there are no playoffs in tennis. But this week is as close as it gets. There is reason to be excited with the best 8 players in the world competing against one another in a round robin format.
Who looks poised to win?
Thus far, everyone has played 1 match. And they have been quite underwhelming. Milos Raonic has yet to show up to his first career World Tour Finals, falling hard in his opening match. And Marin Cilic didn’t perform terribly against Novak Djokovic but Djoko is too hot to handle in London. Maybe the biggest surprise has been Kei Nishikori’s straight sets win over local favorite Andy Murray. The young Japanese man made it looked pretty easy winning 6-4 6-4.
Meanwhile, Stan Wawrinka demolished Tomas Berdych like he was a high schooler, 6-1 6-1. This is the most surprising result at this early stage of the tournament for multiple reasons:
– Matches are usually much closer in London being that the top 8 players are competing.
– Berdych has been here many times before. He shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the moment.
– Wawrinka has played very poorly since the US Open, winning only 1 match this fall.
But crazy things happen in London. It’s a special tournament. At times, it feels more like a rave than a tennis event. Yes, a rave.
Electronic music, spotlights, and smoke machines illuminate the court when players enter to play. For fans, it’s a very contemporary European feel. You walk into the arena, usually through freezing rain outside, and you take your seat in this dimly lit show. It’s sports theater personified.
After just watching Djokovic look unbeatable, I assume he will make the final. His opponent? Likely, Fed man. The winner? Likely, Djokovic.
Novak has just 2 more match wins needed to guarantee ending 2014 with the #1 ranking.
At this point, there is nothing standing in Nole’s way to a 3 peat at the World Tour Finals.
I will be attending this tournament in person later in the week and will provide a full recap of proceedings.