World Tour Finals Groups Drawn

Hey folks. I hope you are all doing very well. The World Tour Finals groups draw were made yesterday and they are as follow:

Group A : Djokovic, Wawrinka, Berdych, Cilic.

Group B : Federer, Nishikori, Murray, Raonic.

Not that the groups draw matter much. It is just like any other draw. But it is interesting all the same. A member of my Facebook page made me aware that Roger is a combined 19-14 against his group while Djokovic is a combined 41-5 against his group. Again, it doesn’t matter much and can either be interpreted as Roger having a tougher group or that Djokovic have better head-to-head records than Roger. Either way I’m sure Roger wouldn’t mind to avoid Berdych and maybe Cilic too, given what happened at the US Open. I like Roger’s group. He will get a chance for revenge against Raonic after a nine day break. That was the one good thing about losing early in Bercy. He would have gotten all the rest he needs to focus on the two things he said from the start is his main focus, namely the Masters Cup and Davis Cup. As we know the #1 ranking is now out of his hands and will depend on Djokovic’s result.

Djokovic needs to win three matches to be year end #1, and given his recent form you would expect him to do that. It is likely that he will win all his group stage matches unless one of the three players in his group gets in the zone. Probably the only guy who has an outside chance of beating him is Cilic if he plays like he did in New York, but I think the #1 ranking will be decided in the group stages. I don’t care about it anyway. It became a possibility when Roger defeated Djokovic and won Shanghai but Djokovic all but shut the door on that when he ripped through the draw in Paris, not losing a set on his way to the title. As I have said a million times I am already happy with what Roger achieved in 2014 and the rest is gravy. The match against Djokovic in Shanghai was the key because it showed me that Roger is still at the level to win slams and I am already excited about 2015.

Roger has enough weeks at #1 as it is. He has the record amount of 302 weeks and the most consecutive weeks at 237. Those are the two most important. The year end #1 just means you were the best player during a calender year and is ultimately meaningless. If Roger gets the #1 at any other time there would be no difference because he would still have been the best player over the last 12 months, and he can still get it. But winning a slam would be just as good. At this point Djokovic deserves to be #1 anyway because he won a slam and four Masters. He has been better than Roger at the top two levels. The only thing that can still change that is if he doesn’t win three matches in London and Roger is the unbeaten champion. But like I said that will probably not happen. Roger will have a tough enough time winning his group without losing a match.

The hair looks like he just woke up and he is eating an ice cream.

Now that is what I call recharging the batteries.

I think he will get his revenge over Raonic. He wasn’t quite in top gear against him in Paris and Raonic on the other hand probably couldn’t play any better. Murray will probably be more dangerous with his recent form. He lost 7-5, 6-2 to Djokovic but was surely tired as well after an energy sapping campaign to qualify for London. The way he destroyed Dimitrov in the previous round was impressive however, and after some rest he certainly can’t be underestimated. Then Nishikori is probably the most dangerous. He got owned by Djokovic in Paris too but was just rolling in first serves due to an injury I think. And lets face it, Djokovic was in devastating form in Paris. But Nishikori has become a very good player indeed. He has already beaten Roger twice in their four meetings, once in Madrid last year and once this year in Miami. At least Roger did win the last meeting in Halle this year.

Given Roger’s recent form and the extra two days of rest I feel very good about his chances in L0ndon as it is. The only concern is the speed of the surface which was a joke last year. If it is that slow again it will clearly favor Djokovic. Group B will be in action first on Sunday and Roger will play the night match against Raonic after which should be an interesting first match between Murray and Nishikori. It is important that Roger starts off with a win and gets revenge for Paris. I think he is playing the right opponent first up because it is probably the guy he is most likely to beat and the first match is always a bit tricky getting used to the conditions. If he gets the win he will basically be half way to qualifying for the semis already and a lot of pressure will come off. It will boost his confidence and he can possibly win his other matches comfortably, thereby saving energy for the semis and finals if he gets there.

The semis and finals are on consecutive days and having extra fuel in the tank can be useful. Personally I am not thinking about #1. It makes things a bit more interesting but it is more important to win the title. That would be the best way to finish the year, especially if he can get another win over Djokovic in the process, which would give him a 4-2 head-to-head against the best player in the world for the year, and besides that it would really spoil Djokovic’s #1 party. So that would be great but I am not attached to it. The surface will probably be slow which would make Djokovic the favorite if they square off. It is more likely that Djokovic will defeat Roger if they meet in the final, and thereby squaring the head-to-head at 3-3 for the year and leaving no doubt whatsoever as to who was the best player of the year. Obviously I would love for Roger to spoil Djokovic’s party but I am prepared if he does not.

The ball is in your court.

Posted in World Tour Finals.

46 Comments

  1. Hey Ru-an, great post. Not as great as the Niemenin one, but oke :-)
    Roger and Seve told even before Basel that they would aim for world nr 1, but that it was always more on Novak’s racquet. I know some thought that because Novak became a dad he might not play that good. Obviously they don’t know Nole that well. But to be honest, I do think people are giving Novak too much credit for winning Paris. His first match against Kohli was great. He wasn’t at his best, still found a way to win. His match against Monfils is the reason he IS world nr 1. I thought Monfils would get a 3rd set, but Novak closed that door. However…. his matches against Andy and Nishi were not like “wow”. Not taking a lot away from Novak, but both Andy and Nishi were tired. If you saw Nishi vs Ferrer (which I did), you already knew Nishi was going to lose in straights. I thought a couple of times that he would faint of tiredness. The only reason Nishi beat Ferrer is because Nishi went up a gear in the 3rd set. Novak’s match against Raonic was good, but it was not like Novak was unbeatable. If Roger had made the final, Roger would have won or would atleast lose in 3 sets.
    Atleast this all is my take on it.

    By the way, just a sarcastic but true comment: I guess Novak has gone back to his early days as an “actor”. He requested a MTO in the Final and sat on his chair, drinking his juice, while the trainer massaged his legs. (Sounds familiar??). And still Boris applaudes him for beeing the winner….. which he was I know.
    I read some comments where some of you were saying that Vily was a bit negative about Novak and that that was not right. But to be honest I agree with Vily.
    I know Novak “deserves” to be nr 1 because of all he won this year, but this year…. some of his wins (NOT ALL) are a bit tainted in my opinion. Roger is not perfect, not perfect at all, neither are the rest of the players, but neither is Novak. No matter how much he wants you to believe it with his perfect pressconf.

    I know Novak is going to make the Final of the WTF. So will Roger. And this time Roger WILL win. If he won’t, then he is atleast nr 2 and will have a good draw for AO. Just hope Novak won’t take a “mto” against Roger in the final :-)
    Got to go home now. Talk to you all later :-) Go Roger :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Niemenin post?

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Sorry Ru-an, I meant your “Federer Overcomes Istomin After Struggle to Reach Basel Quarter Finals” of 24 October :-) One of your best imo. And you had a post last year which was so great that I replied to you that it was so beautiful and true that it made me cry :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Ha sorry I didn’t mean to make you cry, but I have been known to pour a lot of emotion into posts ;-)

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  2. Oh and forgot to mention the draw. All the 7 other players have all beaten Roger once or more. But this is what he needs. kind of a tough draw. I think Roger does better when his draw is tough (and ofcourse when it opens up later).
    The easier the draw is…. he ends up losing before the final.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    Yeah there is kind of a spot in the middle for draws that is just right. Too easy and you are not prepared for the matches against the top players, too hard and you risk getting tired from long gruelling matches.

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    Vily Reply:

    I agree with Katyani. “Easy” draws never work out as they should for Roger but Roger always seems to do well even with a tough draw.

    In fact, the Raonic match is the perfect start – a chance to correct the wrong and punish Milos for ruining his Paris run! ;-)

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  3. Hi everyone, it’s good to have a group of Fedfans to gather ard as WTF approaches. Have to admit that it was a damper that Fed’s win streak ended in Paris, but was also easier to accept Fed’s loss after reading ru-an’s “gravy” take on it. The other comfort of course is having a fun group like this to share the emotions with. I was totally wrong with Paris predictions (hoping for Fed in final and nole to falter to Murray) so don’t want to jinx our champ this time. Wrt the draws, I think a tough draw actually helps Fed. He seems to play better under these circumstances. Knowing his pride, he would relish finishing top of the tougher group. Here’s hoping for a fednole final. #2 ain’t bad, esp.if you have a 3-2 (maybe even 4-2) record against the #1 when dust settles. Go Roger!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey Ben Chia nice to hear from you. I don’t think many Fedfans got the prediction about Paris right so don’t worry about that. A lot of Fedfans were expecting Fed to make the final and Djoker to lose early, but we forgot to take into account that Roger have played a lot of late and that Djoker is a great player. Like I said I wasn’t too upset because Roger had to try and the fact that he lost in the quarters meant that he had a couple of days extra rest which could come in very handy. I also said that he may have had to relinquish the #1 ranking to be able to win the WTF and DC. Ideally we wanted Roger to win Paris, WTF, DC, and end the year #1, but given the quality of Djokovic that was always going to be a tall order. I’d be very happy if Roger can only get half of those, as in win the WTF and DC. He doesn’t have to end the year as #1 but I definitely would like him to make a statement by winning the WTF. Just to let Djokovic know he can’t have it all his own way and that he is hot on his heels. I can accept not getting the #1 ranking but then I’d really like Roger to win the WTF and end with a winning record against Djokovic. That would really make things interesting going into 2015. Ideally I want to see a Djokerer final like you and for Roger to win it. That would be just an epic end to 2014. Then I wouldn’t even care what happens in DC.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Yes, I would love it it happens! :-) )

    [Reply]

    rahan Reply:

    I remember the time when I was happy for a draw with Djokovich vs Roger, instead of Nadal or Murray.

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  4. Ru-an, thanks for the interesting post. I’m not too worried about Roger being 19-14 against the rest of his group, mainly because 11 of those 14 losses were to Murray. Probably Roger and Murray will finish top two in the group and advance to the semis. Nishikori and Raonic will both be playing in the WTF for the first time, and so I doubt they have enough experience to advance to the semis. But we shall see.

    If Roger were willing to tell me, I’d be very curious to know whether he truly believes deep down that he should be right up there at #2 in the world and making a run for #1 again, or if he’s really thinking that he’s played so many matches that his stamina is gradually declining, in which case he might be starting to think about ending his career on his own terms. I’ve heard him casually mention playing “one or two more years” or maybe playing until the 2016 Olympics or something like that at some press conferences this year. Part of me also wonders whether Roger might be chasing Nadal’s 27 Masters 1000’s titles (he’s 3 behind Rafa), given that he already owns the record 17 grand slams.

    Anyway, looking forward to watching Roger play in London again.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Albert. Roger is a very positive guy. Sometimes I’m not sure whether he truly believes something or whether he is just being his optimistic self. I getting to #1 and winning a slam is about equal for him, even though he said recently that being #1 would mean more to him. I think at this point winning slam is more realistic anyway, although if he wins a slam next year that could get him to #1. It is like you said about the age factor. Getting to #1 requires great consistency and playing many matches which could be difficult at this point, although he is still in great shape. I think winning a slam is just easier from that standpoint. You only have to play very well for 2 weeks as opposed to playing very well for an entire year basically.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Correction:

    Nadal has 27 Masters 1000
    Roger has 23 Masters 1000
    Djokovic has 20 Masters 1000

    I think that Djokovic may even surpass Roger. However, it is important to remember that in the past it was much much harder to win Masters 1000s because they were played in best of 5 sets format (or at least the finals). Plus the Masters 1000 seem to have much more prestige nowadays especially after 2009.

    So you can see how Roger has 17 slams but only 23 Masters while Novak has only 7 slams but is already with 20 Masters..

    Anyway. That is also part of the reason I wanted Novak to lose.. I don’t like it that he’s getting close to Roger’s Masters Count..

    [Reply]

    rahan Reply:

    Good question:

    I’d be very curious to know whether he truly believes deep down that he should be right up there at #2 in the world and making a run for #1 again.

    Nevertheless, Ru-an is right:
    I also think that if Roger will win a slam next year that could get him to #1.

    [Reply]

  5. The GOAT of ATP awards does it AGAIN this year…….12 years in a row getting 65 percent of total votes for fans favourite and winning SE Sportsmanship for the 10th time!!! WOW WOW and WOW!!! By the way Roger wallops up these 2 awards every year, you would think that most tennis fans are Roger fans and that there is only one sportsmanlike player from the ATP that they can vote for!! Ha! Just incredible. Congratulations Roger Federer and all Fedfans!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    And to quote Eric and Seinfeld, ‘No soup for Nadal!’ Lol.

    [Reply]

    Rosa Maria Guillot Reply:

    And , also, the so called EXPERT can say whatever they want about the GOATness…..2/3 of the world, every year express their opinion about WHO IS THE ONE….and including the rest of the tennis field express also, thru the SE Award

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I have more thumbs up than Veronica. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! 7-6!!

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    Veronica Reply:

    Haha, someone’s in a competitive mood, eh??!! 8- 7. You must have been campaigning, Ru-an!! Well, Djoker (Ru-an) seems assured of year end no. 1. Let’s all be Roger (Veronica) and spoil the party and thumbs up Roger (Veronica)!! Haha!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No I am Roger, that’s why I’m winning! Lol!

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    :)) )))))

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  6. It is nice to see someone take into account ‘sportsmanship’ while rating the greatest of all time.For all the talk about Roger’s arrogance, I think no one shows more grace than him in defeat.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/rogerfederer/11213994/Greg-Rusedski-three-reasons-why-Roger-Federer-is-the-greatest-tennis-player-ever.html

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t think he shows grace in defeat. Djokovic shows much more grace in defeat for instance. I just think he is an honest guy who plays by the rules and he has compassion for his opponents. He treats his opponents like human beings instead of just an opponent who must be destroyed at all costs.

    [Reply]

    sid Reply:

    I think there is good reason why Djokovic comes across as someone who handles defeat better. He lost to Roger and Nadal a lot early on despite picking up his first major title in 2008 and with the arrival of Djokovic 2.0, we all know he loses a lot less than he used to. However, when he does drop a match, to say Roger, he can take it in his stride, knowing that he has been beaten by the same person on a fairly regular basis early on and things are far better now (in terms of head-to-head stats, level of play over extended periods of time).

    On the other Hand, Roger comes from a place where he went on a long period of domination between 2003 and 2007. Not losing matches to anyone except Nadal on clay (Safin of course beat him at AO’05). Going from there to a point where he lost to Nadal at 08’Wimbledon, ’09AO and Del Potro’09USO within a year would have been tough. With the exception of ’09AO where he broke down, he has handled defeat very well. Giving credit to opponents, never playing up an injury or going overboard with fussing over a defeat in front of the media.

    Don’t you think Roger’s case is a tiny bit (just a tiny bit) stronger? :-)

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    Totally agree w you, Ru-an.

    [Reply]

  7. Well Fedfans hope that Roger is successful against Raonic tomorrow, I think it will be a hard task as Raonic seems to be very measured and self assured about what he wants and needs to do to progress. So I will be watching and hope that the umpire watches too…just incase Raonic has a slide into the net!! Haha sorry about that so C’MON ROGER X

    [Reply]

  8. From atpworldtour.com here are the year end no.1 scenarios before the start of the WTF:

    No. 1 Ranking Update – Djokovic is bidding to finish a season at the summit of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the third time in the past four years (also 2011, ‘12). The Serb arrives in London with a 1,310-point lead over No. 2 Federer in the race for year-end No. 1. Federer, 33, is attempting to finish the year as the oldest No. 1. He is also looking to end the year atop the rankings for the sixth time, which would equal Pete Sampras’ record. Here are the scenarios:
    – if Djokovic reaches the semi-finals with a 3-0 round-robin record, he will be guaranteed No. 1 regardless of Federer’s results in London and the Davis Cup final.
    – if Djokovic goes 2-1 in round-robin play and does not progress beyond the semi-finals, Federer will need to win the title undefeated (5-0) and win one live singles rubber in the Davis Cup final.
    – Federer could earn a maximum 225 points in the Davis Cup final (Djokovic drops 150 points from last year’s Davis Cup).

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah virtually impossible for Roger, but I guess stranger things have happened. Thanks Charlie.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    Actually we may be surprised afterall. The h2h stats for djokovic and his opponents in the round robin round are misleading. I think he could have his hands full with all three of those opponents. Wawrinka is in horrible form so I’m not expecting much. But you never know which Stan will show up. You never know which Cilic will show up. Berdych is always difficult. I mean there is even a chance that Djokovic doesn’t make it to the semis here. I realize it sounds a bit ridiculous but it wouldn’t surprise me if it did happen.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Disagree. Stan is playing like shit, Djokovic owns Berdych, and Cilic said before the tourney he is injured. Sounds to me like he won’t lose a set.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    I was only really hopeful about Cilic but I didn’t know he was injured. Well there goes that theory…looks like 3 wins for Djokovic then

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah better to accept Djokovic will destroy everyone than being disappointed.

    [Reply]

    Ben chia Reply:

    For once Ru-an, you are wrong. Stanimal was probably reading your comment and served Birdy a double bread stick to “stick” it to you. LOL. Hope Stan’s form holds up to give Nole a good fight. Wow. Birdy’s obviously bird feed in the group right now. Will the god-mode Cilic appear and give Nole a shocker. Imagine, Nole losing the round robin. Cilic and Stan topping the group. That would be a riot. As you said, crazier things have happened. Vamos! Opps… that guy’s not around is he? Hee.. hee..

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    Maybe we’ll get lucky and Ru-an will have jinxed Djokovic’s chances. Haha

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol I’d be happy to. It’s hard to believe Djokovic will actually not qualify for the semis. But it’s not entirely out of the question that he could qualify second and Fed could defeat him in the semis after winning all his RR matches. Now wouldn’t that be something?!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    But Stan was playing like shit until now. Haha. Great to see him back!

    [Reply]

  9. Excitedly and nervously waiting for Rogers first match. I can’t agree with you more what you couldn’t repeat enough, Ru-an, that the speed of the court will be a major factor how well Roger does in WTF. I hope the surface is better than last year’s. At this stage in Roger’s career, his game and especially his new/rejuvenated offensive game really works well on faster surfaces. Also, all his trophies in last few years seem to have all come from faster surfaces. Elizabeth, spot on about Raonic, “…measured….self assured…..” There is nothing appealing or attractive about Raonic’s game, looks or personality but he has one of the best heads of the younger generation. In fact he is so matured that he seems almost old – Emperor Rao! Whoever gave him that name is a genius! Ha!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Agree, Emperor Rao is a boring serve bot but yeah at least he is not a choker. Agree about the courts too. Roger wins in Dubai, Halle, Basel, Paris, Cincy, etc cause there is actually some speed left in those courts. But mostly the courts are slow as ass. Even indoor courts like the WTF is slow as ass these days. Conspiracy to make Dull the GOAT I guess. But still he’s not able to win a WTF. So bad lol.

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Yessssss! So well done Roger!! 6-1! Against a serve bot! Wow! And presenting the Emperor with a beautiful bagel for supper! Roger is SO gracious, isn’t he, knowing that the emperor might need a light supper before he sleeps! Haha! I’m not gonna lie. Revenge feels so good! “He’s got Raonic looking like a girrafe at a watering hole” (Robbie Koenig) lol! Lol! Lol! I really like your countryman, Ru-an! You must be so proud of him. He is my favourite commentator together with Nick Lestor. Kei will be very tough and knows how to beat Roger. In fact I think he has the best h2h record against top 4, if I’m not wrong. He is so quick and so good at moving the ball around. Roger’s gotta be sharp and not let him control.

    [Reply]

  10. A good opening round performance by Roger. He took his revenge on Raonic with style. It was great to see him get the awards after as well.

    He’s on top of the group and that’s cool. Onwards and upwards.

    I expect an absolute blowout tomorrow by Djokovic over Cilic but then again you never know.. :-)

    [Reply]

    elizabeth Reply:

    Thumbs up to Federer! Great first set, second kinda sticky, but who would have ever thought anyone would have beaten Raonic 7.0. in a tiebreak!!! Great stuff now for Nishikori so c’mon Roger get your running shoes out x

    [Reply]

    rahan Reply:

    I don’t think that Cilic knows how to repeat his own performance at USOpen vs Roger.

    [Reply]

  11. I think Roger played a solid match against Raonic. A breadstick and a 7-0 tiebreak against a big server, in the first match of a tournament. Things look promising to me. Watching the Murray and Federer matches, it seemed like the court plays fairly slow, or maybe medium-paced for an indoor hardcourt. Oddly that would have favored Federer against Raonic, but I think it actually works against Federer for most of the other opponents he’ll face (Cilic might be an exception, possibly Berdych). Anyway, we’ll see how things go.

    One thing that really amazed me was how consistently Raonic could serve at or over 140 mph, and yet he didn’t win. Really shows how much Federer’s all-around game is just superior.

    [Reply]

    Albert Reply:

    Of course, I realize Fed could only face Cilic and Berdych in the semis or finals.

    Also, I’m a bit surprised that Murray lost to Nishikori. I’d really like to see Fed defeat Murray as well. I think Fed would love to continue to improve his head-to-head versus Murray, just as he’s been doing all year this year.

    [Reply]

  12. Well, that came out of left field?!!! 6:1 6:1 Wawrinka win over Berdych… Wow!!!

    I guess Stan the man has finally awakened. And at a good time too since if he plays like this he should cause trouble for the freak Djokovic.

    Will wait and see! :-)

    [Reply]

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