Andre Agassi Group:
Bjorn Borg Group:
This is actually fairly meaningless until “they” know the status of Nadal.
Granted, all match-ups in this kind of top-of-the-heap draw are going to be tough.
If we had to comment (I certainly do), I’d say they did a bang-up job on this draw, favoring the most dramatic outcome, setting-up the best they could a Nadal v Djokovic final for all the marbles.
Sure: no one can predict how this all plays-out; we’re just as likely to get a Djokovic v Nadal SF match instead of the preferred Final, if even that happens (if even Nadal can find the health to serve a tennis ball in London, for that matter).
But a 2 minute glance at the groups yields these few easily born thoughts:
People saying Nadal’s group is tougher, at a glance, need more than a glance. The Medvedev factor is likely all they see. Medvedev’s “danger,” however, hasn’t worked with Nadal. Sure, the Russian may be one of the tougher outs, but that gangly, lithe lethality has been bullied by el toro, at least thus far in their two contests.
Nadal is a bad match-up for all three of his group-mates. He’s 11-1 collectively against those lads.
But this is indoors, this is the ATP Finals, and Nadal looks to be injured. So, throw-out all of what I just said. Or not.
In the Borg Group, Djokovic should be a lock for the SF whereas Federer has to deal with Djokovic and Thiem. Let’s be clear: Federer should beat the Austrian and the Italian and even has a great shot at beating the Serb in the RR. Federer and Djokovic should advance.
But numbers do matter, still.
Djokovic, even acknowledging his storied and complicated Federer rivalry, is favored against the Swiss, especially if they meet in an elimination match. Beyond that, the Serb is 6-3 against Thiem and has yet to face the Italian (advantage Novak).
Federer, aside from his difficulty with Novak, is 2-4 against Thiem and 1-0 against Matteo.
In conclusion, the numerology pushes the Djokovic v Nadal final (if Nadal can play).
At least we know that Nadal’s participation in this event is completely up in the air; we’re better knowing this than getting “ambushed” by such news. He will wait until Thursday or Friday to serve, to test his abdominal strain. So not only is his form undecided (looked good in Paris, as I said in the earlier rounds of that tournament), but so is his health and ability to even start the competition. We know this going in. Again, better to know.
We need to know this always with this guy, unless it’s clay and/or he has a draw his health can manage.
A bad wrist/hand attributed to his withdraw from Shanghai. His good form a few weeks later turned on a practice serve, straining an abdominal. Last March in Indian Wells was the knee.
This post could be completely inconsequential (draw analysis) if the Spaniard pulls from the competition (I bet he will).
But here’s why this post remains consequential, why you’re reading it: because Nadalism is a complicated narrative that begs to be studied (broken into, opened, emptied, and reassembled) for the sake of inquiry with respect to the fascinating anatomy of this celebrated yet misunderstood legacy.
I hope he heals and plays in London. Certainly this will strengthen the competition.
Keep your fingers crossed.