London | The O2 draw is made
The 20-year-old Alexander Zverev should have been playing in Milan where his contemporaries were contesting the Next Gen ATP Finals for top ranked players aged 21 and under, though he did make an appearance.
Playing some of the eight best players in the world is very special Alexander Zverev
Instead of playing Milan, he will be appearing at the O2 to contest this year’s Nitto ATP World Tour Finals thanks to a season which has seen the young German pick up five titles and, following the draw on Wednesday, he will line up in the group headed by Roger Federer which also includes Marin Cilic and last week’s surprise Paris Masters champion, Jack Sock.
“Playing some of the eight best players in the world is very special,” Zverev said when he learnt that he had been drawn into what will be known as the Boris Becker Group for next week’s challenge. “It’s going to be an amazing experience after a lot of ‘first times’ this year.”
Federer is a six-time winner of the year-end showpiece and decided to rest rather than play the Paris Masters last week so that he could prepare for the event at the O2 Arena, which starts this coming Sunday.
Zverev is in fact ranked one place behind the Swiss world No.2 and the pair have shared two wins apiece so far which makes their clash next week more than interesting. Meanwhile the 19-time grand slam champion holds a 7-1 record over Cilic and is unbeaten against Sock in three meetings, the American having arrived i the top ten for the first time last Sunday.
In the Pete Sampras Group, Rafa Nadal – knees permitting having dropped out of Paris mid-way – leads the charge in what can be seen as a much easier half for the world number one who has never won the World Tour finals.
The Spaniard, who is already guaranteed the year-end world No. 1 spot, will face out-of-form Austrian Dominic Thiem and the Bulgarian nicknamed ‘Baby Fed’, Grigor Dimitrov, a former Maria Sharapova boyfriend and the Belgian David Goffin.