Can Old Boy Novak Djokovic Fight Off the Youngsters at the WTA Finals?
There is no doubt that Novak Djokovic still rules the roost on the ATP Tour, but for how much longer? With the ATP finals about to “kick-off,” to use another sport’s expression, the 34-year-old Serb will be the sole representative of the top 3 “old guard” at this year’s finals in Turin.
The other two old gentlemen of the tour, 40-year-old Roger Federer and 35-year-od Rafael Nadal, won’t be competing.
The most senior of the oldies, Roger Federer, missed too many competitions on the ATP tour this year due to undergoing knee surgery in August. It cost him his place in the top 10 ATP rankings – the first time in the past five years.
Nadal failed to make the final cut. His lessened on-court activity and being beaten by the 20-year-old Italian sensation, Jannik Sinner, in the quarterfinals of the Vienna Open tournament have seen to that.
While Djokovic is the oldest competitor in this year’s ATP finals, he is still ranked World No1, and he will be tough to beat. If anyone can do it, it is likely to be Daniil Medvedev, the 25-year-old Russian.
Medvedev is top of the bunch of younger players to be the next ATP tour star, according to Sportingbet, and is seeded number two in the world rankings. But Djokovic has the upper hand mentally, having just beaten the Russian 4-6 6-3 6-3 at the Paris Masters. But that won’t stop the Russian or the other competitors in this year’s final from trying to unseat the reigning champion.
It won’t be long before the top three oldies bow out. Both Federer and Nadal are already suffering more injuries that take longer recovery time, which is precisely why they will not be playing in Turin. Fortunately, Djokovic’s training regime is keeping him fighting fit – but for how much longer? Meanwhile, the tide is turning.
If you look at the age statistics of the ATP Finals, the average age of the finalists is getting younger. In 2020 the average age was 26.75. This year the average is down to a fraction over 25. If you were to remove the 34-year-old Serb from the field, the average age would drop below 24. It is signaling a change.
For his part, though, Djokovic has his eye on another record. He has already broken Federer’s record for consecutive World No 1 finished by achieving is 7th this year. He has drawn level with Federer for the record of the most Grand Slams wins (20), and he now hopes to level the Swiss’s record of six ATP Finals wins. to his phenomenal collection. The odds are that he will.
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