What a difference a year makes
By Roger Childs
The Barclay’s Indoor Tournament is the year’s finale for men’s tennis.
It’s also the toughest event of the year, as only the top eight seeds take part.
They play round-robin in two groups and the best two in each, contest the semi-finals.
This year there are players from eight different nations, and six of them were not in the 2016 draw.
Gone from last year’s group are injured players Andy Murray (winner in 2016), Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic, as well as Kei Nishikori, Gael Monfils and Milos Raonic.
The team of 2017
Last November Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were on the injured list, but they have been back with a vengeance in 2017. Between them they have won over half the major tournaments and have shared the grand slam two apiece.
The two survivors from the 2016 Barclay’s are Austrian Dominic Thiem and Croatian, Marin Cilic. Germany’s Alexander Zverev is the third seed, Grigor Dimitrov from Bulgaria is 6th and Belgium’s David Goffin 7th.
The eighth spot in the race to London, was hotly contested with Americans John Isner and Jack Sock in the mix, along with Pablo Carreno Busta from Spain and Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro.
Delpo had some impressive results in the second half of the year:
- Semi finalist in the US Open
- Semi finalist in the Shanghai Open
- Winner in the Stockholm Open
- Finalist in Basel.
However, he needed to win last week’s Paris Masters to get to London. Unfortunately, he was beaten in the quarter finals by John Isner. As it turned out, it was Jack Sock (seeded 16th), who leap frogged over the other contenders to win the Paris tournament and take the number eight spot in the Barclay’s.
The big guns are the favourites
Back in January, Nadal and Federer were seeded 12th and 17th for 2017’s first grand slam. They met in the Melbourne final, and Federer won in a the thriller 6-3 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3.
This outcome set the pattern for the year. Nadal would win the French and US grand slams while the Swiss won at Wimbledon. Furthermore, they won another nine major tournaments between them.
Going into the Barclay’s next week, the Spaniard had 10,645 ranking points and Federer 9005. The next best is Zverev on 4400!
So Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer head the two round-robin groups and could meet in the final.
However, tennis is never predictable, and the line up for the tournament is the best available. There are no easy games!