The race is on for the year-end Nitto ATP finals, which gets underway tomorrow in Turin, Italy.
Always a compelling watch, it is a tournament reserved for the elite of the elite, with only the top 8 players in the world competing.
With the Paris Masters event just wrapped up, we now have the final 8 locked in for Turin next week:
Green Group: Novak Djokovic, Jannik Sinner, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Holger Rune.
Red Group: Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev.
With four previous champions at this year’s event, the 2023 edition of the Nitto ATP finals is a mouthwatering prospect, filled with potentially compelling match-ups.
Here is a rundown of each player’s year and their chances to win the coveted year-end event.
Chasing a record-breaking 7th title
Winning his 24th grand slam at the U.S. Open, the 36-year-old Serbian is still breaking records and is chasing another one in Turin: his 7th title at the year-end event, which no man has ever achieved.
But the records don’t stop there.
Djokovic has had another stellar year, winning 3 out of 4 calendar grand slams for an astonishing 4th time, breaking the previous record he held with Roger Federer (who achieved that feat in 2004, 2006 and 2007).
In total, the age-defying Serbian claimed six titles this season, including two more Masters 1000 trophies at Cincinnati and Paris, taking his tally to a record-extending 40 Masters titles in total.
Another record Djokovic is on the verge of extending is finishing the year with his eighth ATP Year-End No. 1. Djokovic simply needs to win one match in the group stage of the Nitto ATP finals to secure the number 1 ranking.
The dominant Serb always brings his best to the year-end event, with a 46-17 record at the prestigious tournament.
Only losing 5 matches for the year, it would take something pretty special to beat Novak right now and the man is clearly hungry to keep breaking records.
Breakout year for the Italian
The talented Italian is also set to compete at the Nitto Finals for the first time (although he did compete as an alternate in 2021 when countryman Matteo Berrettini withdrew due to injury.)
The 22-year-old has had a breakout year, making his first grand slam semi-final at Wimbledon and winning his first Masters 1000 title in Toronto against Aussie workhorse, Alex De Minaur.
Also a champion this year in Beijing (defeating Alcaraz and Medvedev back-to-back) and Montpellier, Sinner made several deep runs throughout the season. He reached the final at the Masters 1000 event in Miami, where he upset Carlos Alcaraz in a semi-final that was arguably one of the best matches of the year. Sinner also made the final in Rotterdam and reached the semi-finals at Indian Wells and Monte-Carlo.
Pulling out of the recent Paris Masters due to scheduling conflicts, Jannik Sinner is playing the best tennis of his career and his belief is clearly growing with every match.
Playing in front of a home crowd won’t hurt his chances, either.
50 wins for 3rd straight year
Qualifying for his fifth straight Nitto ATP Final, Stefanos Tsitsipas has had a patchy season, although shown some decent form in his past couple of tournaments.
After making the Australian Open final at the start of the year, the 25-year-old never really recaptured this form, with several early exits from key ATP events.
The Greek number 1 described it as a “great relief” to qualify for the event, an apt description when you consider his inconsistent season.
The Athens native did, however, enjoy a solid clay court swing, advancing to at least the quarter-finals at all three clay-court ATP Masters 1000 events, including a semi-final showing in Rome. He capped his campaign on clay by making the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.
He did win over 50 matches for the third straight year, although he also lost 22 matches, potentially over-competing.
Winning the title in 2019 as the second-youngest winner since Lleyton Hewitt won in 2001, Tsitsipas is certainly capable of having another deep run, although he is probably just making up the numbers.
Competing for the 1st time
Achieving a career-high ranking of number 4 in the world in August this year, the 20-year-old has had a quick rise up the rankings since turning pro in 2020.
Winning his debut Masters 1000 title in Paris last year at age 19, Holger Rune reached a further two Masters finals in 2023, at Monte Carlo and Rome.
While the Dane has arguably had his best results in 2023, with a 43-22 win-loss record, he has also had stretches of patchy form, suffering early exits in a number of tournaments after his highly successful clay court swing.
Still, the precocious talent is capable of beating anyone on his day, as is evident with his 2-2 head-to-head record against Novak.
Competing for the first time in Turin, the 20-year-old Dane is clearly not overawed by the big occasion and will have nothing to lose at next week’s Nitto Finals.
Seeking 7th title of Season
Wimbledon champion, Carlos Alcaraz, has backed up his breakthrough 2022 season with another excellent year. Missing the 2022 ATP Finals due to injury, the fiery Spaniard will make his first appearance at this year’s Nitto Finals.
Alcaraz led the tour with six tour-level trophies this season. The 20-year-old triumphed at a major (Wimbledon), two ATP Masters 1000s (Indian Wells and Madrid), two ATP 500s (Barcelona and Queen’s Club) and an ATP 250 (Buenos Aires).
With victory in an all-time classic Wimbledon final, Alcaraz became the first player to beat Novak in a Wimbledon final since Andy Murray in 2013. The Spaniard is also in elite company as only the 4th active player (after Murray, Wawrinka and Medvedev) to beat Novak in a grand slam final.
While Alcaraz is not in raging hot form going into the Nitto Finals, with a couple of uncharacteristic recent losses to Roman Safiulin and an admittedly in-form Grigor Dimitrov, he still goes in as one of the best chances to upset a record-seeking Djokovic.
With the pressure all on Novak to win a record-breaking 7th title, the freakishly talented Spaniard can hit freely knowing he has nothing to lose.
Best Hard Court Player in 2023
After another solid year, Daniil Medvedev has had the best hard-court
results on tour this season.
The mercurial Russian was also one of the most consistent players on the ATP tour in general.
Winning five ATP Tour trophies, including two ATP Masters 1000 triumphs in Rome and Miami, the 27-year-old won 53 matches this year, equal with Zverev and second only to Carlos Alcaraz. It is the third time he has earned at least 50 tour-level victories in a season (along with 2019 and 2021).
This run included winning 26 of 27 matches from the start of Rotterdam in February, where Medvedev earned crowns in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai. After losing to Carlos Alcaraz in the Indian Wells final, he emerged victorious in Miami against Jannik Sinner.
Perhaps most impressive was Medvedev’s clay court results, enjoying a breakthrough on his least favourite surface; a fact he openly (and candidly) admits. Medvedev went 10-3 on clay and claimed his first title in Rome, where he lost just one set en route to the trophy.
Competing for the fifth consecutive year, Medvedev will be looking to win his second year-end title, after victory in 2020 and a final in 2021.
The polarising Russian is in as good a form as any player on tour right now and has a decent 9-7 win-loss record at the Nitto Finals.
Qualifies for 4th straight year
Qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals for the fourth consecutive year, Andrey Rublev has had another solid season. The fiery Russian broke new ground in 2023, claiming his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo, as well as backing up his 2022 Bastad title in July.
He was also a finalist in Dubai, Banja Luka, Halle and Shanghai, coming agonisingly close to winning his second Masters 1000 title in Shanghai against a resurgent Hubert Hurkacz.
Reaching the 50-win mark for the third straight season, the 26-year-old has been the epitome of consistency, equalling his career-high ATP Ranking of World No. 5.
Advancing to the semi-finals for the first time in 2022, with victories against Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, Rublev will be hoping to go one better this year.
Proving he can stay with Novak in a best-of-3 set format at Paris, Rublev’s best is just about good enough to beat anyone on his day.
Chasing third season finale title
Making his sixth appearance at this year’s event, Alexander Zverev is a two-time Nitto ATP finals champion, triumphing in 2018 and 2021.
While not his most successful year by any stretch, the German still managed to win two titles in Chengdu and Hamburg.
The 26-year-old has notched up 53 wins in 2023, equal with Medvedev and second behind Alcaraz who has won 63 matches for the year, so far.
Outside of Djokovic (and the injured Nadal), Zverev is the most successful active player on tour, with 21 titles to his name.
After suffering a horror ankle injury at the 2022 French Open, in which he was highly competitive against eventual champion Rafael Nadal, the talented German has slowly recovered over the past year and a half, regaining some form ahead of the Nitto ATP Finals.
Chasing his third season finale title, Zverev is a genuine threat, especially on indoor hard courts.