Draws, schedule done, but no ATP Finals until Sunday

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The pool groups were drawn on Wednesday.

The schedule for the first two days of play was announced Wednesday. *

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The ATP Tour’s annual awards were announced Thursday, at a private event for the players, guests and corporate sponsors.

It all seems very ahead of time, as fans will have to wait until Sunday before the first of action at the ATP Tour Finals in London. 

Even the stadium court wasn’t ready to practice on until Thursday.

In the meantime, fans of men’s tennis at least have the Next-Gen event in Milan to watch. That tournament wraps on Saturday night. So there’s no conflict with the start of the Tour Finals.

(It should be noted that there were no London model types present at the draw ceremony, to our knowledge).

Here are the singles round-robin groups. 

Pete Sampras Group

[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP)
[4] Dominic Thiem (AUT)
[6] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)
[7] David Goffin (BEL)

Boris Becker Group

[2] Roger Federer (SUI)
[3] Alexander Zverev (GER)
[5] Marin Cilic (CRO)
[8] Jack Sock (USA)

At first glance, Federer appears to be in the harder-hitting, more dangerous group, even if it contains Tour Finals rookies in Zverev and Sock.

He is 2-2 against Zverev, 7-1 against Cilic, and 3-0 against Sock although they’ve met only once in the last two years.

Nadal is 10-1 against Dimitrov (3-0 on hard courts in 2017), 2-0 against Goffin (both on clay this year) and 7-0 against Thiem (with all the meetings on the red clay, four of them in 2017)

Early schedules

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Day session (Noon start)

1. [1] Henri Kontinen (FIN) / John Peers (AUS) vs [8] Ryan Harrison (USA) / Michael Venus (NZL)
2. [2] Roger Federer (SUI) vs. [8] Jack Sock (USA) H2H (not before 2 p.m.)

Night session (not before 6 p.m.)

1. [3] Jean-Julien Rojer (NED) / Horia Tecau (ROU) vs. [6] Pierre-Hugues Herbert / Nicolas Mahut (FRA) 
2. [3] Alexander Zverev (GER) vs. [5] Marin Cilic (CRO) H2H (not before 8 p.m.)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Day session (Noon start)

1. [4] Jamie Murray (GBR) / Bruno Soares (BRA) vs. [5] Bob Bryan / Mike Bryan (USA) 
2. [4] Dominic Thiem (AUT) vs. [6] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) H2H (not before 2 p.m.)

Night session (not before 6 p.m.)

1. [1] Lukasz Kubot (POL) / Marcelo Melo (BRA) vs. [7] Ivan Dodig (CRO) / Marcel Granollers (ESP) 
2. [1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. [7] David Goffin (BEL) H2H (not before 8 p.m.)

Tempest in a teapot

schedule
Photo credit: www.wonderhatch.co.uk

*A glitch an ATP Tour official put down to “human error” meant that there was some confusion early on about when Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal would play their first matches.

Their original statement was that the Sampras group (including Nadal) would play Sunday, while the Becker Group (including Federer) would play Monday.

No doubt plenty of fans of both players rushed out to buy tickets once they knew when their favorite would be playing.

Then Federer Tweeted he was to play Sunday.

Nadal is scheduled for Monday night.

Much murmuring ensued. One media outlet, El Español, even originally reported  (the current version of the story on its website does not allude to it) that Nadal had made a special request for a late start, in order to give his ailing knee the maximum amount of time to heal up before the event began. 

Or was it Federer who asked to play earlier? A Sunday start would give him an extra day of rest between the round-robin portion and the semis. 

Hmmm… Whichever theory you believed probably depended on whom you supported.

Federer was correct. But a communications person for the ATP says there were no special favors, that it was merely an error on the website.

The doubles picture

Photo credit: www.wonderhatch.co.uk

Yes, that is Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, the No. 1 seeds at the ATP Tour Finals. And they jumped into the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the individual doubles rankings on Monday.

Woodbridge-Woodforde Group

[1] Lukasz Kubot (POL) / Marcelo Melo (BRA)
[4] Jamie Murray (GBR) / Bruno Soares (BRA)
[5] Bob Bryan (USA) / Mike Bryan (USA)
[7] Ivan Dodig (CRO) / Marcel Granollers (ESP)

Eltingh-Haarhuis Group

[2] Henri Kontinen (FIN) / John Peers (AUS)
[3] Jean-Julien Rojer (NED) / Horia Tecau (ROU)
[6] Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) / Nicolas Mahut (FRA)
[8] Ryan Harrison (USA) / Michael Venus (NZL)

The doubles event might be schedule filler for some, who are focused only on the big singles stars.

But for the players, it’s every bit the same accomplishment to qualify. And the financial rewards are substantial.

And, unlike the WTA Tour Finals equivalent, where a round-robin format was ditched for an eight-team, straight elimination tournament, it’s given equal weight.

An undefeated team winning the doubles title will earn close to half a million dollars – and 1,500 ranking points.

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