Upon Andy Murray’s confirmation of his absence from the ATP Finals, opportunities seemed to arise for other players. The prime example of this appeared to be Roger Federer who, although boasting the status of the most decorated player in history, he had been ranked superiorly in previous years. Yet, his performances throughout 2017 warranted him a position in the concluding tournament, and with two Grand Slam triumphs, he seemed well-equipped to reiterate his position. His form indeed enabled him to reach the semi-finals, yet the title was ultimately claimed by Gregor Dimitrov, with the victory occurring in his maiden voyage in the competition. Whilst achieving this might suggest the Bulgarian might have a proficient future in the sport, it may be more poignant to focus on the overall impact his victory might have, potentially motivating his colleagues to similarly claim the crown.
The tournament itself is hosted in London, and considering the city hosts the most established Grand Slam on the tour, it seems the English capital may have the credentials to host the contest successfully. It may, more importantly, prove to the British public the vast benefits of hosting these sporting events, as it seems to unite the nation under a common goal; with the multitude of political debates currently ongoing, the necessity for this may be intensifying. As such, the benefits of the tournament for the fans seem well documented, yet it seems to offer similarly productive outcomes for the players. Whilst the availability of ranking points and a vast prize pot may naturally be incentives, the most prominent one may be the position of the tournament in the calendar. With the season concluding afterwards, the period of rest available may have motivated the players to play at their maximum, focussing solely on current encounters.
With Rafael Nadal boasting the number one seeding, he may have been among the favourites. Yet, after concluding his opening tie on the receiving end of the score-line, he withdrew from the tournament, although his involvement itself may solely serve to highlight the competition’s status. This seemed to pave the way for other players to achieve, and while Goffin’s and Dimitrov’s advances to the final appeared to highlight the strength in depth of the sport, the Bulgarian’s victory may claim the plaudits. His adaptability to win said title when other players have attained Grand Slams may have showcased his ability to thrive in challenging circumstances, with this an essential trait in further cementing his position in the record books.
Whilst Roger Federer seemed the vast favourite both before and during the competition, David Goffin emerged victorious versus the Swiss en-route to the final. Naturally, this suggests all players may be capable of attaining victory versus any opponent, thus producing intriguing encounters for fans. It may have simultaneously motivated a fresh influx of players to similarly impact the tennis world, and win versus the best; with a multitude of schemes running for tennis, this may already be being put into action. Achieving this may also place further focus onto the high status of the tournament itself, as it seems to have a vast reach, and therefore appeal, for players and fans alike. This may be the prime reason behind the consistent attraction of the most accomplished players on tour, and naming the groups after former tennis champions may solely serve to reiterate this.
Whilst tennis is now entering a period of rest, it may continue to elevate its status and flourish further. With the multitude of sporting tournaments now ongoing, and with an influx scheduled for next summer, the desire for this year’s edition to become a success may have amplified. With half of the proclaimed ‘big four’, absent in London, this may have been challenging, as it may have suggested the quality might have been superior in previous years. Yet, it still seemed to attract top players, as reiterated by Nadal’s involvement, and with the event enabling a meteoric rise in the rankings for Dimitrov, placing him in good stead for upcoming Grand Slams, the benefits for all seem noteworthy.
How may the ATP Finals continue to be a useful conclusion to the tennis season?