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.