Champions Become Champion: The Ultimate Battle In Turin
The Nitto ATP Finals has arrived. All eight singles players competing in the season finale are champions — they have combined to claim 26 titles between them in 2022.
But only one man will emerge the ultimate champion from the Pala Alpitour.
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have claimed plenty of hardware in their historic careers. The all-time greats own 182 tour-level crowns between them. Djokovic has been particularly successful at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he can tie Roger Federer’s record of six season finale titles this year.
Nadal, a 17-time qualifier for the year-end championships, will try to earn glory at the tournament for the first time. The Spaniard is as eager as always to give his all on court.
“When I enter a tennis tournament, I want to win and I'm going to try my best to achieve that goal,” Nadal told ATP Media on Friday. “Here I was not able to make it, I was not good enough to make it in the past. So I just accept that and I'm happy to give myself another chance at the age of 36 — something, for me, that was difficult to imagine years ago."
Djokovic and Nadal have shown their champion qualities for years. The rest of the field is 26 or younger.
Photo Credit: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images
That has not prevented them from shining, however. The other players competing in Turin have followed the #NextGenATP path to success. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Taylor Fritz have all played the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, while Felix Auger-Aliassime qualified for the event. Alternates Holger Rune and Hubert Hurkacz also competed in Milan.
Now some of the Tour’s brightest young champions will try to become champion once more this season. The most in-form player on the circuit is Auger-Aliassime, who won 16 of his final 17 matches this year to earn his spot in Turin, lifting trophies in Florence, Antwerp and Basel.
“I remember watching [the Nitto ATP Finals] for the first time in my early teenage years,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I remember just being inspired by it and feeling that it would be amazing to be a part of that. Now that I’m here, it’s a full-circle moment. It’s really special and I hope it’s not the last time.”
The #NextGenATP pipeline is one to continue watching in the future. Eleven players who have competed in Milan (since 2017) have cracked the Top 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Two of them, Medvedev and Carlos Alcaraz, have reached World No. 1.
Tsitsipas holds the distinction of winning the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in 2018 and triumphing at the Nitto ATP Finals the next. He will try to earn tennis’ ultimate prize again this year, when he can also claim year-end World No. 1 by winning all five of his matches in Turin. The Greek will need to battle past Djokovic, Medvedev and Rublev in Red Group.
“It’s not meant to be easy, is it? These kind of events you don’t get very often during the year. It’s the only event that is so demanding in terms of the intensity [being] so high,” Tsitsipas said. “Regardless of who you are going to be drawn with, it just simply doesn’t matter. All these players can play. We are quite even.
“Until we go out on the court… it’s the hard work that you have to instil to get away with a good result. Nothing falls out of place.”
Who will become the champion of champions this week? Tune into the biggest event of the year.