The ATP Finals return to London for 2018 with the top eight players in the world battling it out for supremacy.
The season-ending event has become prestigious due to the amount of points on offer, and in the eyes of many, has become the unofficial fifth Grand Slam with the winner walking away with a maximum of 1500 points.
Only the top eight players in the ATP rankings will qualify for the event at London’s O2 Arena, so who could we see make it with only a few weeks of the season remaining?
1. Rafael Nadal (Points: 7480)
Nadal has struggled with a knee injury since retiring from his US Open semi-final with Juan Martin del Potro, pulling out of tournaments in Beijing and Shanghai, but will return to tennis before the Finals.
The world No 1 was the first player to mathematically secure his space in London with victory over Marin Cilic in the Rogers Cup quarter-finals on August 11.
It has been an impressive year for Spain’s ‘King of Clay’ as he claimed his 11th French Open title as well as Masters trophies in Monte-Carlo, Italy and Canada. He also won the Barcelona Open in May.
2. Novak Djokovic (Points: 7445)
The world No 2 struggled in 2017 after several years of dominance but is back playing some of his best tennis, claiming two Grand Slam trophies at both Wimbledon and the US Open in the second half of this year.
Djokovic became the first man to complete a career sweep of all nine 1000 Series titles by winning the Cincinnati Masters in August and added his fourth Shanghai Masters title last week.
The 31-year-old booked his Finals appearance at the same time as Federer – on September 8 – by defeating Kei Nishikori in the last four at Flushing Meadows. He has the chance to regain the year-ending world No 1 spot before London.
3. Juan Martin del Potro (Points: 5300)
Del Potro reached his first Grand Slam final since 2009 at the US Open this year after Nadal retired with injury during their semi-final. He went on to lose to the in-form Djokovic in the final.
The 30-year-old Argentine, ranked No 4 in the world, won the first Masters title of his career in 2018 by lifting the Indian Wells trophy.
He secured his place at season-ending event on October 3 with a run to the China Open quarter-finals in Beijing. He reached the final where he was stunned by Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.
4. Roger Federer (Points: 5160)
Federer won the first Grand Slam of 2018 by defeating Marin Cilic in the Australian Open final and booked his spot at The O2 thanks to the ‘Grand Slam champion rule’ – meaning he will make a record 16th appearance at the event.
The rule reserves one place in the eight-man field for a 2018 Grand Slam champion who finishes between No 8 to No 20 in the ATP rankings.
Because Federer has too many points to drop below No 20, combined with Djokovic reaching the US Open final, he qualified for the tournament on September 8.
The Swiss world No 3 has added two 500 Series titles since his Melbourne triumph by winning the Rotterdam Open and Halle Open in February and June respectively.
5. Alexander Zverev (Points: 4770)
The 21-year-old German has again failed to impress on the Grand Slam stage this year – a bad season for a player with such lofty ambitions and high potential.
However, world No 5 Zverev has picked up some important points on the Tour, with his most eye-catching tournament win coming at the 1000 Series Madrid Open in May.
Zverev was also triumphant at the Bavarian Championships in his native Germany as well as the Citi Open in Washington – and accumulated enough points to book his spot in London after a run to the semi-finals in Shanghai.
Who is yet to qualify?
6. Marin Cilic (Points: 3825)
Cilic is bidding to qualify for the tournament for the fourth consecutive year but did himself no favours in his shock Japan Open exit to world No 56 Jan-Lennard Struff on October 2.
The Croatian world No 6 registered just one Tour win in 2018 which came at Queen’s Club where he defeated Djokovic in a hotly-contested final.
He was also a Grand Slam runner-up at the Australian Open this year, losing to Federer in five sets.
7. Kevin Anderson (Points: 3720)
Anderson won the longest Wimbledon semi-final in history, beating American John Isner 26-24 in the fifth set to make his second Grand Slam final. But he ran out of steam against Djokovic and fell in straight sets.
The big-hitting South African is enjoying his best year yet, at the age of 32. He won the ATP 250 event in New York earlier this year as well as finishing as runner-up in Pune and Acapulco.
Anderson, who has also enjoyed semi-final runs in Madrid and Toronto, will be aiming to reach the prestigious season-ending finale for the very first time.
8. Dominic Thiem (Points: 3535)
The clay-court specialist has enjoyed a positive season with a run to the French Open final, coming up short against a ruthless Nadal, while picking up three Tour titles.
Thiem, ranked No 7 in the world, won the Argentina Open and Lyon Open on clay before adding a St Petersburg Open hard-court win in September.
Austria’s 25-year-old was seeded fourth at last year’s Finals but crashed out at the round-robin stage.
Also in the hunt…
9. Kei Nishikori (Points: 3000)
Nishikori has struggled with a wrist injury this season and has yet to win an ATP title. He has reached finals in Monte Carlo and Tokyo though.
10. John Isner (Points: 2930)
The 33-year-old American has enjoyed a fabulous season, winning the biggest title of his career at the Miami Open in the spring. He also reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon and won the Atlanta Open title.
11 Borna Coric (Points: 2300)
Coric reached his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final in Shanghai, beating defending champion Roger Federer in the semi-finals before losing to Djokovic in the final.
The 21-year-old Croatian also upset Federer on his favourite grass surface to win the Gerry Weber Open in Halle this summer.
12. Fabio Fognini (Points: 2135)
The hot-headed Italian has put himself in the frame by winning ATP titles in Sao Paulo, Bastad and Los Cabos, while losing in the final of Chengdu.
He was a recent losing semi-finalist at the China Open in Beijing to Juan Martin del Potro after withdrawing through an ankle problem which might jeopardise his hopes of qualifying for London.
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We will have coverage of the ATP Finals at London’s O2 in November with every match live on Sky Sports.
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