Big Four reunite at Laver Cup battle for year-end No. 1, ATP and WTA Finals: What's left of 2022 tennis season?
The US Open might be done but there's still plenty to come from the 2022 tennis season including Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal playing together at the Laver Cup. Carlos Alcaraz has the chance to become the 18th men's year-end No. 1 in history while players are bidding to qualify for the ATP and WTA Finals, and there's the Davis Cup.
The 2019 Australian Open was the last time Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal played the same tournament together.
A reunion is on the cards at the Laver Cup as the Big Four are set to join forces on Team Europe. The event runs from September 23-25 in London and also on the team will be Stefanos Tsitsipas and new world No. 2 Casper Ruud.
If all goes according to plan it will be Federer’s first event since Wimbledon 2021 as he starts his playing comeback after a third knee operation.
After missing out on the US Open – the second major he couldn’t play this year due to being unvaccinated – how much more will Djokovic play this season?
After the Laver Cup he is scheduled to feature at an ATP 250 in Tel Aviv which starts on September 26. There are then ATP 500 events in Tokyo and Kazakhstan before a European finale, including Vienna and Basel (both ATP 500 tournaments starting October 24), the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals, which Djokovic could qualify for despite not being in the top-eight of the Race to Turin as he has won a Grand Slam this season.
Djokovic has said he won’t chase points this season and there isn’t much need for him to do so except to a) get in match shape ahead of 2023 and b) ensure his ranking doesn’t slip too much. After the US Open he is ranked at No. 7 and he has points to defend from winning the Paris Masters (1,000) last season and making the semi-finals of the ATP Finals (600).
When Djokovic does return it surely won’t be long before he’s asked about next season and whether he will/can play the Australian Open after the visa controversy earlier this year.
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Federer still set for return despite 'pain'
If everything goes swimmingly at the Laver Cup, how much more will we see of Federer this season?
He is scheduled to play the Swiss Indoors Basel along with Carlos Alcaraz from October 24, but hasn’t officially signed up for any other events. Is there a chance he will enter another European event in October or will he focus instead on getting in the best shape possible for the start of 2023?
There have been reports this month that Federer’s knee has become inflamed which could hamper his comeback plans. However, his agent Tony Godsick says he still plans on playing the Laver Cup and Swiss Indoors.
“Federer has been practising for some weeks now. He is feeling some pain but keeps trying,” Godsick told Blich. “He’s been training for weeks and wants to start in London and Basel. We’ll see at the Laver Cup whether his knee will hold up.”
If Federer’s return goes to plan then perhaps the 2023 Australian Open could be on the cards. He hasn’t played the first Grand Slam of the season since making the semi-finals in 2020.
Davis Cup group stages
For many ATP players the Davis Cup will be the next stop after the US Open.
She is expected to continue working with coach Dmitry Tursunov and is straight back into action after taking a wild card to play in Slovenia this week, where she won her opening match on Monday.
Raducanu is then scheduled to play in Korea before heading back to Europe for a WTA 500 in the Czech Republic.
It will be fascinating to see if she can play freely, hit some form and move back up the rankings.
Who will be men's year-end No. 1?
Alcaraz is the youngest world No. 1 after his maiden Grand Slam victory, but will he see out the year atop the rankings?
With just 930 points between Alcaraz and Nadal in third there is opportunity for movement.
It is not known when Nadal, who has no points to defend for the rest of the year, will return to action following the US Open.
Alcaraz doesn’t have many points against his ranking for the rest of the year while Ruud has more, including 400 from making the semi-finals at the ATP Finals in 2022. Daniil Medvedev faces a tricky task to get back to the top before the season finishes as he has points to defend at the last Masters event in Paris (600 for making the final in 2022) and the ATP Finals (1000 as runner-up).
Carlos Alcaraz of Spain with the winner's trophy after his victory against Casper Ruud of Norway in the Men's Singles Final match on Arthur Ashe Stadium with the roof closed during the US Open Tennis Championship 2022 at the USTA National Tennis Centre on
Image credit: Getty Images
Only 17 male players have been year-end No. 1 and the last non-Big Four player to do it was Andy Roddick in 2003.
As well as there battle to finish the year top of the rankings there's also the race to qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin.
The top six in the standings - Alcaraz, Nadal, Ruud, Tsitsipas, Medvedev and Andrey Rublev - look well set to qualify while Djokovic could be in despite being in 16th as he has won a Grand Slam title this year. That would potentially leave one space available, with Auger-Aliassime, Hubert Hurkacz, Norrie and Taylor Fritz among those battling for it.
The Race to the WTA Finals picture is looking a bit clearer after the US Open.
The two finalists – Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur – have qualified, and the next four spots are occupied by players who made the quarter-finals – Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff – and semi-finals – Caroline Garcia and Aryna Sabalenka. The final two spots are currently occupied by Daria Kasatkina and Simona Halep, who both lost in the first round in New York.
There are still opportunities for points, with three WTA 500 events in Tokyo, Ostrava and San Diego, as well as a WTA 1000 in Guadalajara.
But as it stands three of the top six in the world rankings are set to miss out on the finals – world No. 3 Anett Kontaveit, world No. 4 Paula Badosa and world No. 6 Maria Sakkari.
Kontaveit faces an important finish to the season as she has plenty of points to defend following her strong finish to 2021. Badosa and Sakkari will both be hoping to rediscover some form after disappointing summers. Badosa won just one match across Toronto, Cincinnati and the US Open while Sakkari, who made the US Open semi-finals in 2021, won only two.
The WTA Finals will be held in Texas from October 31.
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