It's around this time of the year that the Nitto ATP Finals conversation hots up - but Italian hopes right now are lukewarm.
There's one month of the season remaining and Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini have work to do to qualify for Turin.
Sinner is currently 12th in the standings, 390 points behind eighth-placed Alexander Zverev. Berrettini is further back, 475 points behind Zverev. However, the rankings are probably going to be shaken up a bit as Zverev is set to miss the rest of the season due to injury and Rafael Nadal, who is in second place, may not play again in 2022. Novak Djokovic is also set to qualify for the ATP Finals due to winning Wimbledon, even though he is currently ranked outside the top eight in the race.
Exclusive: Djokovic is the one to beat in 2023, says Norrie
So will Sinner or Berrettini qualify for the finals in their home country?
Sinner’s hopes have been hit by injury this week.
The 21-year-old added to his points total with a run to the semi-finals in Sofia last week but had to retire with injury during his match against Holger Rune. He has confirmed that the injury is going to see him miss the Firenze Open in Italy as the ATP Tour returns to Florence for the first time since 1994.
“Frustrating to have had to retire from my match in Sofia,” said Sinner, who made three Grand Slam quarter-finals this season, on social media.
“I’ve spoken with my doctor and been advised that I need to take a short period of time off for the ankle to recover.
“Unfortunately, that means I’ll miss next week’s tournament in Florence. Missing a tournament in Italy is extra painful for me…
“However, now it’s time to work with my team to come back stronger and hopefully be ready for Vienna and Paris.”
The ATP 500 in Vienna comes at the end of October and is followed immediately by the Paris Masters, which is the last chance for players to win points to qualify for the ATP Finals.
With Sinner sidelined, he will have to watch and see if his rivals gain points in the coming weeks.
Hubert Hurkacz and Taylor Fritz are both still in the draw in Astana this week, while Nick Kyrgios could be surging into contention with a strong run in Tokyo. The Australian is currently in 18th place in the standings. Felix Auger-Aliassime’s early loss in Astana prevented him from strengthening his place in the top eight.
While it’s wait and see for Sinner at the moment, Berrettini has work to do to boost his chances.
The former Wimbledon finalist hasn’t played on the ATP Tour since losing in the quarter-finals of the US Open to Casper Ruud. He did appear at the Laver Cup, playing in the singles and the doubles for Team Europe.
He is set to return to action as the second seed at the Firenze Open next week behind Auger-Aliassime. A strong showing on home soil would give Berrettini a lift in his hopes to qualify.
Berrettini has not had the best time of it so far at the ATP Finals.
In 2019, he qualified in eighth place and lost two of his three round-robin matches. The following year in London he didn’t get on court as the first alternate, and in 2021, when the tournament moved to Turin, he was left in tears after suffering an injury in his first match.

'So good' - Federer leads team advice for Murray and Berrettini in doubles

A “devastated” Berrettini had to retire and then pull out of the finals to be replaced by Sinner, who beat Hurkacz but then lost to Daniil Medvedev in a third-set tie-breaker.
For both Berrettini and Sinner, this year’s qualification is likely to rest on their performances over the last two weeks of the season.
With few points separating most of those in contention, a run to the final in Vienna or Basel followed by a good showing in Paris could make the difference.
  • Points on offer in Vienna and Basel: 180 for semi-finals, 300 for runner-up, 500 for winner
  • Points on offer in Paris: 360 for semi-finals, 600 for runner-up, 1000 for winner
It would be unfortunate for the Italian crowd if both Sinner and Berrettini miss out. Both have had mixed seasons which have been disrupted by illness and injuries. Berrettini looked as though he was going to be a contender at Wimbledon before Covid-19 ruled him out of the tournament. He also had a hand surgery earlier in the year. Sinner is 45-14 for the 2022 season and has retired during three matches and withdrawn from another due to illness.

Race to Turin standings – week starting Oct 3

  • 1. Carlos Alcaraz (qualified) – 6,460 points
  • 2. Rafael Nadal (qualified) – 5,810 points
  • 3. Casper Ruud – 4,930 points
  • 4. Stefanos Tsitsipas – 4,675 points
  • 5. Daniil Medvedev – 3,420 points
  • 6. Andrey Rublev – 3,145 points
  • 7. Felix Auger-Aliassime – 2,860 points
  • 8. Alexander Zverev - 2,700 points
  • 9. Hubert Hurkacz – 2,680 points
  • 10. Taylor Fritz – 2,430 points
  • 11. Cameron Norrie – 2,365 points
  • 12. Jannik Sinner – 2,310 points
  • 13. Pablo Carreno Busta – 2,270 points
  • 14. Novak Djokovic (qualified if in top 20) – 2,265 points
  • 15. Matteo Berrettini – 2,225 points
Australian Open
Alcaraz's coach not expecting another huge physical off-season transformation
Australian Open
'He's still the best' - Djokovic 'deserves to be favourite' for Aus Open says McNamee