The Nitto ATP finals mark the closing of a regular tennis calendar. It is the last event played in a tennis season in the last week of November. The tournament is the second most important in tennis after the Grand Slams. The year-end finale has a different format than every other tournament in the game of tennis. Unlike the Majors and the Masters 1000s, it does not follow a knockout stage but is rather based on a round-robin format where players are put in 2 groups. Only 8 players take part in the tournament every year.
The Qualifications And The Format
In the Nitto ATP finals held in the 02 arenas in London, the 8 top-ranked Men’s tennis players participate. They are put in two groups of 4 players each and thus play the 3 round-robin matches each. The top 2 players from each group qualify to the semis stage. Thus the tournament follows a total scheme of participation than the others in the game. The 8 players are selected on basis of the points they have secured in matches throughout the season.
They are ranked as the 2nd most important tournament in the game. The 2019 edition of the tournament had the singles prize money of 9 million US $. The singles champion Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece received 1.35 million US $. This makes the Nitto ATP finals as the 2nd richest tournament after Grand Slams. The year-end finale also offers move ranking points than the Masters 1000s.
The champion can also secure a maximum of 1500 rankings points and the finalist can secure 1000 points. Each round-robin match offers 200 ranking points for the winner whereas the semis and finals offer 400 and 900 points respectively. The year-end finale was held in Shanghai till 2008 when it was known as the Tennis Masters Cup. From 2009, it remained as the one held in London. The ATP recently announced to move the tournament to Turin in Italy from 2021.
The Notable Champions: Nitto ATP Finals
The Nitto ATP finals have only 8 participating players who are the top-ranked ones in the singles category. Every match in the tournament is thus fiercely competitive. Many great champions have won this highly prestigious tournament multiple times in the past. Roger Federer has been the most successful single champion in the event with 6 title wins. The Swiss genius won it in 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2010-11. He has also been a runner up 4 times there.
Federer is closely followed by 3 other great tennis players. Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl, and Novak Djokovic have won the Nitto ATP finals 5 times each in their careers. Djokovic also was the runner up in the tournament in the 2016 and 2018 editions. Most of the former world number 1 men’s tennis players have won the year-end finals event at least once accept Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard has been twice a runner-up there in 2010 and 2013. He has however never tasted victory in the Nitto ATP Finals so far. The fact that it is held on indoor fast hard courts doesn’t go well Nadal’s game. It is the Spaniards weakest surface among all courts in tennis.