After an exciting week of tennis at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, the finals field for London is set.
The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London will kick off on November 20th, and the competition is intense.
The Tour Finals are always heated and have a history of producing some surprise winners or runners up. (David Ferrer runner-up in 2007, James Blake when he was runner up in 2006, Champion David Nalbandian in 2005, and 2009 champ Nikolay Davydenko)
I'll lay out my own personal opinion on odds for each player to claim his title in O2 arena.
Definitely the underdog heading in to his first Tour Finals.
It isn't because the top-ranked American is coming in in the last spot at No. 8. It's because Mardy Fish has practically backed his way into this tournament with poor results heading down the stretch
In two of his last three tournaments, Fish has been bounced in the first match he played. (Bernard Tomic in Shanghai, Blake in Basel) It took him til the third round in Paris, 2 matches deep, before he fell to Juan Monaco.
It's great to see a new face in with the big boys this season, but Fish hasn't been in top form at all. His chances are slim to none.
Tomas Berdych is a talented player, but he tends to crumble in pressure situations.
This is probably the most intense tournament he'll play all year, facing a real world-class opponent in each match up.
I personally don't think Berdych has the mental fortitude to stand up to the challenge day after day. He may have the skill, but I'm not sure he can keep that high of an intensity level throughout the tournament.
It's not a huge knock personally on Berdych, because let's face it, the reason guys like Nadal and Djokovic are so good is because the intensity is 24/7. Berdych just doesn't have that.
Berdych getting out of group stage is unlikely in my eyes.
David Ferrer rightfully earns his nickname on tour, "The Bulldog."
He makes you fight, scrap, and earn every single point you play. In a tournament like this, that can mean all the difference between winning and losing.
However, this year I feel like the Xàbia native might be overmatched. Top players have had his number all season. Particularly Andy Murray who he has gone 0-3 against this year.
It looks likely that Ferrer will end up in a group with two of the top four players in the world, which spells trouble for his chances of advancing out of group stage.
That being said, Ferrer is capable of pulling some daring upsets with his style of play.
I am going out on a limb here with this one. Djokovic has had some real issues with his shoulder coming out of the U.S. Open, and I think the World Tour Finals will be no relief—if he even plays.
A healthy Djokovic has to be odds on favorite to win the tournament, but a Djokovic who has had repeated shoulder issues is not so certain.
With a week to heal, followed by a week of intense tennis against the greatest of the year, I am just not entirely sure his shoulder can hold up. It's most recently caused a retirement in both the Serbia/Argentina Davis cup match, and Paris.
It's really a shame that the undisputed No. 1 player in the world can't go in to the title bout 100 percent, but that's why tennis is such a tough sport. Staying healthy is half the battle. Let's just hope he is okay for Australia in January.
I think he falls in group, if not retires for an alternate before the tournament comes to a close. BUT even injured he is capable of brilliant tennis, and maybe this week on the mend will refill the tanks just enough.
Jo_Wilfred Tsonga has the energy, and the momentum heading into the final tournament of the year.
When Jo-Willys game is clicking on all cylinders it's incredibly fun to watch. It's how he has made deep runs in both Masters and Grand Slam events, and even claim a few titles along the way.
He is coming off a great week in Paris where his game looked to be in fantastic form. I think a week of rest will do him some good and he'll be ready to make a splash in London.
Tsonga will get into the final four, but he'll really have to be on his game to have a shot at the title. That being said, he has the goods—and the attitude—to go toe-to-toe with the worlds best and possibly claim this tournament for his own.
It's always a safe bet to say Rafael Nadal will be in the final four.
Nadal skipped out on the Paris Masters to be healthy and ready for the London Finals. And ready he will be.
Granted, there is a little seed of doubt about how sharp Nadal will be. He stumbled in the round of 32 in Shanghai to 23rd ranked Florian Mayer, and hasn't played in what will be almost three weeks come first ground stoke at O2.
I am pretty sure he'll be ready, and the first few matches will be key. But he isn't my favorite for this tournament. When it comes down to the big matches, when his sharpness will really be tested, I think those weeks off will show.
He is a shoe in for the final four, but runner-up? Winner? Not so sure.
Mr. Murray will be fighting on his home turf in London, following in the wake of a run that has seen him lose just one match, and claim three titles since the U.S. Open.
He is easily the hottest player on tour heading in to the Finals. Even with the quarters defeat in Paris to Berdych you have to like the chances of the Scot.
He is playing on is favorite surface, in his home country, and he is playing in top form.
In my opinion the only thing standing in Murray's way from raising the hardware in O2 arena, is Roger Federer, and of course, Andy Murray.
My favorite to win the whole thing is Roger Federer.
The guy has played some stunning, dominant tennis in Basel and Paris. Expect nothing less in London from Fed.
He definitely is benefiting from nagging injuries to Nadal and Djokovic, but regardless, Federer has proven he can still play some of the finest tennis out there when he is focused in and sharp.
With the results coming from his last two tournaments, Federer has shown that he is very sharp, and very focused. I like him to take the whole thing. It's going to be tough to pry the title from the hands of Nadal and Murray.
But I think the Swiss Maestro will prevail once more.
Oh right, I can't forget Tipsarevic, who is first alternate. (Almagro is second alternate, but I don't feel like two players will be injured.)
Tipsy will only play if Djokovic pulls out, because I feel like at this point, barring some unforeseen ankle roll or muscle strain, everyone is good to go. (Knock on wood.)
He's a crafty player, and you can never really know what he is going to do. I'd actually like to see him at some point play a full finals because he is so unique a player. He'll probably be behind in a match when and if he comes in. His odds are practically nothing.
But to congratulate a solid year for Jankela, I'll throw him in this list. Well done, Tipsarevic.