After what can only be described as an unexpected year, the tennis season is drawing to a close.
The end of the tennis year can be a mess, with unexpected players making deep runs. This can be credited to injuries and mental fatigue, which isn’t the case this year thanks to the shortened schedule. Players are excited to be back on court after having most of April to September off.
November marks the end of the 2020 season, with the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) gunning for a 2021 start during the first week of January.
Paris Open: Nov. 2 – Nov. 8
The last masters tournament of the season is in Paris. While France announced a second lockdown, the Players Council tweeted Oct. 28 that the tournament would still be played. The ATP has plans for the tournament to be played behind closed doors, but “further government clearance is necessary.”
Due to the ATP point protocol for this season, Novak Djokovic will not be playing. He has no points to earn at the tournament and appears to be focusing his efforts on the ATP Finals, which is worth up to 1,500 points. Last week Djokovic stated his goal to take over the record for most weeks as world number one, and “will do all [he] can to make it happen.”
The field is still strong with Rafael Nadal, coming off his win at the French Open, taking the number one seed. Andrey Rublev, Diego Schwartzman and Matteo Berrettini are still battling it out for the final two open spots for the ATP Finals and will be making a push.
Sofia Open: Nov. 8 – Nov. 14
Since its inception in 2016, the Sofia Open has been played in February, but it was scheduled to be played in September for the first time. Unlike a lot of the other 250 tournaments, it was left on the schedule, but due to COVID-19, was pushed to November.
Vying for an ATP Finals berth, Schwartzman has announced his intention to play. After returning from the break, he has been playing some exceptional tennis. Following his finals run at Cologne he withdrew from the Vienna Open but will be playing in both Paris and Sofia. “I have a new goal: to play in the Nitto ATP Finals at the end of the year and… I am very focused, as if it were a Grand Slam,” he said.
The defending champion, Daniil Medvedev will not be playing. He wants to crack the top five by the end of the year, so he’ll be focusing his attention on Paris and the ATP Finals, where more points are available. Hometown favorite, Grigor Dimitrov, will also not be playing.
Roberto Bautista Agut, who won the tournament in 2016, will be headlining along with Kevin Anderson, Pablo Carreno Busta and Fabio Fognini.
NITTO ATP Finals: Nov. 15 – Nov. 22
The season will officially come to an end after the completion of the Nitto ATP Finals. Sadly, its final year of being hosted at the O2 Arena will have to be behind closed doors. After 12 years of being held in London, the tournament will be moving to Turin, Italy in 2021.
The tournament is played in a round-robin format with the top eight players on tour. Up to 1,500 points can be earned, with 200 points being deducted from that total with every round-robin loss. It is often called the “fifth grand slam,” but is never given the same weight in all-time discussions.
Defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas has already secured his spot in London. Following a first week loss at the U.S. Open, he bounced back by making the finals at the German Open and the semi-finals at Roland Garros. Djokovic, Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Medvedev and Alexander Zverev have all qualified for the finals as well.
Gael Monfils, who has not won a match since the COVID-19 break, was in the running but announced an early end to his season via a Twitch stream on Oct. 27. After unexpectedly crashing out in the first round at Vienna, Denis Shapovalov’s finals hopes were also crushed.
Djokovic will be attempting to tie Federer’s record of six ATP Finals. Despite this being his ninth appearance, Nadal has yet to win once. Maybe this will be his lucky year.