The ATP World Tour Finals is underway again and what was seen as a thrilling event some years ago has lost part of its legend.
But it doesn't mean that the eight players who will fight this week in London aren't worthy of our interest.
Let's take a look in detail at the two groups.
Even if he is the number one player in the world, the Spaniard won't be the main favourite this year. He hasn't play a single tournament since the Asian leg of the tour; withdrawing in Paris because of the start of a left shoulder tendonitis.
Adding to this that the surface in London is one of the least suited to him because his results at indoor events are much less impressive than at outdoor events. That's not to forget that his main weapon, his desire to win that allows him to display all his abilities, is already turned towards the Australian Open.
But he's in a group totally manageable for him and we all know how he hates losing. Furthermore, if he's able to get back-to-back wins, he'll be obviously becoming a threat for the title. Despite all of that, I don't put him on top of my list.
Even if the Serb is undoubtedly one of the strong players of this end of season and even if the surface suits him, he has clearly stated that both his heart and mind are already focused on the Davis Cup final. He'll remain a serious contender, but people shouldn't wait too much from him this week because usually it's his warrior mindset makes him the most dangerous.
The situation is so much different for the Czech, since his Wimbledon final. It can only be noticed that since this event his results more look like ones those of a top 50 players and not those of a Grand Slam finalist.
He tried to explain it some days ago, fully aware that his results demand for an explanation. In his opinion, he has struggled with being tagged as a favourite, after reaching the semi-final at the French Open and then the final in London. So this week Tomas will be focused but his lack of confidence from recent months should prevent him from hoping to going very far.
Andy isn't the same player anymore compared to some years ago. His results aren't constant enough and his best result in the Grand Slams this year was a quarter-final at the Australian Open.
He showed great things in March with a more complete game, a game with variations. And his fitness was at its best. He lost a lot of weight and seemed so eager to win. He made the final in Indian Wells and won in Miami.
But since then, he has experienced some ups but mainly a lot of lows. He gained weight again and I've been really surprised to see how he has been struggling on his serve. Even if he's not complaining about it, I think he may have shoulder pain so he's only giving his all when it's really needed and when his body allows him to.
The American, who should get advantage with his serve indoor, won't be one of the main contenders at all.
The Swiss player is one of the two main favourites for the title. Since July and his fail at the French Open and Wimbledon, proof of a disappointing season for him, Roger has clearly decided to react.
Hiring Paul Annacone has showed how determined he is to get back to the top. Since then Federer has moved back to being an offensive player. Since his run in Asia, he knows that his main rival Nadal is taking a break. The opportunity is big to gain lots of confidence, to play lots of matches in order to start the new season with the highest goals.
He's heading into the net far more now than before; much more like the game he displayed at the start of his career.
The indoor surface is also perfectly suited to his game so there are many things that lead me to think he'll make his way to the final.
Robin has just won the Paris Masters. He's improving again and has reached the top four ranking this week.
The Swede would have had huge chances to reach the semi-finals in London if he hadn't been drawn in a group with Andy Murray and Federer. Even with his new improved game, he's still not able to move well enough in order to beat those players.
He's always dangerous when he's the aggressive one, he's way more fragile when faced to players who can play very fast and who are able to read his serve. His second serves are also a good option to attack him.
Here comes my second big favourite of the week.
The Scot is playing at home in front of a devoted crowd. We know that the worst enemy of Andy is being stuck in a bad mood when things don't go how he wants them to. This "weakness" shouldn't be an issue in London though because he'll be cheered on by the public and so be able to go through his frustration.
As far as the game is concerned, Murray is able of the best and the worst. Motivated and inspired, he can shine like in Toronto where he won against Federer and Nadal by playing in an amazing way. But we've also seen him sinking at the US Open against Stanislas Wawrinka or for the six months after his loss in Melbourne final. He plays a lot relying on desire and emotion.
But this week he'll be over motivated and in a positive state of mind. So he'll be dangerous.
The Spaniard will be the second victim of this group. He is a model player; always motivated, always fighting, and is getting back to his best this year.
The best players can lose against him when they're not at their best. But indoor and with Federer and Murray, his chances are really small.
- Rafael Nadal
- Andy Murray
- Roger Federer