Roger Federer has been installed as the odds-on favourite to win a seventh ATP World Tour Finals title in London next week. The Swiss maestro already holds the record for the most wins in this tournament, the most prestigious event in the tennis calendar outside of the four Grand Slams. But he faces stern competition from the likes of world number one Rafael Nadal and wunderkind Alexander Zverev. All in all, it should prove to be an exhilarating spectacle and there is plenty of value on offer in betting on it.
Only the top eight players in the world compete in the ATP World Tour Finals. Unlike every other tournament on the tour, this one is not a straight knockout. Instead, it divides the players into two groups of four. They each play three matches and the two in each group with the best records go through to the semi-finals, before a final determines the champion. The first group features Federer, Zverev, Marin Cilic and Jack Sock, while the other includes Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin.
As you can see, the top eight has a slightly unfamiliar look to it right now. Andy Murray, who won this tournament last year when he was world number one, misses out through injury, as does Novak Djokovic, the most successful player in the world over the last five years. Joining them on the sidelines is Stan Wawrinka, so we are left with an intriguing blend of golden oldies (Nadal, Federer), emerging talent (Zverev, Thiem, Sock) and those somewhere in between (Cilic, Dimitrov, Goffin) that have never quite made it to the top.
Nadal may be the world number one after a sensational year that saw him with the US Open and the French Open, but he is not the favourite in this tournament. Federer heads the betting as 4/6 favourite with Ladbrokes, Bwin, Coral, 10Bet and more and that makes a lot of sense. He too has had a magnificent 2017, winning the other two Grand Slams – the Australian Open and Wimbledon – en route to scooping seven calendar titles, more than any other player. That is despite sitting out the entire clay court season to preserve his 35-year-old body for the hardcourt campaign.
The ATP World Tour Finals are played on hard court, which will suit the Swiss down to the ground. Nadal, however, as we all know, is a clay court specialist and is already at an immediate disadvantage. Federer has beaten Nadal in each of their last five meetings, and he should be supremely confident of making it six in a row should they come up against one another in the knockout stages of this tournament.
A greater threat could well come from Zverev, the 8/1 third favourite with Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, and various others. He has claimed five titles this year and beat his idol, Federer, in one pulsating final. He is just 20 years old and has surged up to third in the world rankings on the back of a fantastic calendar year. He has never yet troubled the latter stages of a Grand Slam, but this is the perfect opportunity to showcase his credentials on the big stage. Federer and Zverev have been drawn in the same group, so we will get an early look at how they fare against one another, before a potential meeting in the final.
Match betting on Zverev to beat Cilic and Sock looks a good option. In the other group, the hard-serving Dimitrov looks like he could light up the tournament. Goffin looks positively frail by comparison, while Sock will also struggle to deal with the Bulgarian’s power, so backing Dimitrov to beat both of them also looks interesting.