Pavic/Soares Lead Eight-Team Tilt For Year-End No. 1 At Nitto ATP Finals
In one of the most thrilling finishes to an ATP Tour doubles season, all eight teams mathematically have a shot at finishing 2020 at year-end No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Doubles Team Rankings with strong performances at the Nitto ATP Finals.
Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares (3,385 points) currently lead the battle on the eve of the Nitto ATP Finals, which is being held at The O2 in London, with a slender 35-point advantage over second-placed Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (3,350). Roland Garros titlists Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies are in third position on 2,910 points.
“It’s pretty special to come into the event in this position,” Soares told ATPTour.com on Saturday. “You don’t need any extra motivation to play this tournament, but for us it’s a good feeling. Because of a shortened season this year, it brings an extra edge to London and right now we’re ahead of the pack, but we need to perform and finish strong.
“We’ve had a great couple of months after the break and it’s been pretty awesome for us. Every match will be a 50/50 here, and when you go onto court there is a lot experience [in every team], so it should be really interesting.”
Pavic and Soares captured the US Open crown (d. Koolhof/Mektic) in September and also reached finals at Roland Garros (l. to Krawietz/Mies) and Rolex Paris Masters (l. to Auger-Aliassime/Hurkacz).
Ram, who partnered Salisbury to the Australian Open crown in January, told ATPTour.com, “It was one of our goals at the beginning of the year to win a Grand Slam and also win this tournament, which would mean we’d be in contention for year-end No. 1. It’s been a strange year, and we’ve missed a big portion of it, but it’s a big motivating factor in this event.”
Potentially, the final doubles match of the 2020 season on 22 November, could come down to a clash for year-end No. 1. It last happened on 16 November 2008, when Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic beat Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 7-6(3), 6-2 to win the season finale, when the event was held in Shanghai, China.
Four years ago, Andy Murray memorably won a winner-takes-all 2016 singles title match at The O2 in London against Novak Djokovic to claim the Nitto ATP Finals crown and also year-end No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.
The Nitto ATP Finals, which is celebrating its 50-year anniversary, has long been a showcase for world-class doubles, playing in front of crowds of 17,500 spectators at The O2 in London. Two hundred points are available for a round-robin match win, 400 points for a semi-final victory and 500 points for the title. Should a team go undefeated across five matches, they will earn 1,500 points.
“It’s an extra special event for the doubles guys, playing every match on this incredible court,” Salisbury told ATPTour.com. “Having the best eight teams in the world makes it special being here.”
“It’s the biggest showcase for doubles of the year,” said Soares. “It’s more than a tennis tournament, it’s a show with one court. Very different from the five or six courts in use at other tournaments. Everyone is paying close attention to matches.”
Source: Tennis – ATP World Tour