Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic: Year-end No 1 scenarios explained ahead of ATP Finals

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Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are going head to head to finish the year as No 1.

YEAR-END NO 1 SCENARIOS

After 64 tournaments in 31 countries, on three different surfaces, eight players will battle to win season-ending ATP Finals.

But there is one other trophy at stake, however, only two players are able to win it.

Throughout the year, players have been accumulating points to qualify for the ATP Finals in the ‘Race to London’.

As it stands Rafael Nadal is the frontrunner after a strong season which has seen him win two Grand Slams and two Masters 1000 events.

Since losing to Nick Kyrgios at the Mexican Open in February, Nadal has reached the semi-final or final of his last 10 events.

Second in the race is Novak Djokovic, who started the season with victory at the Australian Open.

He then won the Madrid Open, finished runner-up to Nadal at the Italian Open and won Wimbledon in July.

After a shock fourth-round exit at the US Open, Djokovic bounced back with wins at the Japan Open and Paris Masters.

It all means Nadal will start the ATP Finals on 9585 points while Djokovic is on 8945, a lead of 640.

The breakdown of points available at the ATP Finals are as follows –

  1. 200 points available to players for a round-robin win.
  2. 400 points available to players for a semi-final win.
  3. 500 points available to the player who wins the final.
  4. Any player that goes through the tournament unbeaten will win 1500 points.

YEAR-END NO 1 SCENARIOS

  1. If Nadal pulls out of the tournament, Djokovic has to reach the final to be the year-end No 1.
  2. If Nadal does play and wins two round-robin matches, Djokovic must win the tournament to surpass Nadal.
  3. If Nadal reaches the final, he is guaranteed to be the year-end No 1.
  4. If Novak Djokovic fails to win a round-robin match, Nadal will be the year-end No 1.

Given his history at the ATP Finals and the abdominal injury he has coming into the tournament, Nadal faces an uphill task to reach the final and win his first ATP Finals title but he’s ready to give himself a chance.

“[I’m feeling] good, happy to be here,” Nadal said.

“But I don’t know. I need to go day-by-day after what happened in Paris. The first thing is I’m happy to be here because I haven’t been able to play, so I’m excited to play after a couple of years. I need to work every single day and I have a good hope to be 100 per cent ready for Monday.

“I started [serving]yesterday. I was playing well in Paris and my plan is to be [in]perfect [condition]. I was serving well over the last two matches so I am confident I can be competitive.

“There are many good players in the competition so I need to be 100 per cent ready. I hope I can serve every single day even better.”

YEAR-END NO 1 SCENARIOS

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