The eight best players in the world have descended on Italy for the ATP Finals, battling it out for the coveted year-end crown in the season’s final tournament. The 2022 season has produced countless memorable moments at every turn, and the top ATP stars have already begun play in Italy hoping to gain critical momentum heading into next season.
The 2022 season began with 3x BNP Paribas Open champion Rafael Nadal winning the year’s first two Grand Slams in addition to a thrilling run to the final against Taylor Fritz in Tennis Paradise, but as the year has progressed, the next generation of young ATP stars have captured the global spotlight.
19-year-old Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz thrilled the crowds in Tennis Paradise this March with an incredible run to the semifinals at the 2022 BNP Paribas Open, and he scored the biggest breakthrough win of his career in September when he captured his first Grand Slam title at the US Open. An unfortunate injury forced the world No. 1 Alcaraz to withdraw from his potential ATP Finals debut, but he’ll be back in March ready for a run at redemption at capturing a coveted 2023 BNP Paribas Open title.
With two players already securing their spot in the elimination round of the ATP Finals and two spots still up for grabs, here are some of the other key storylines as the greatest stars in the world put a wraps on a thrilling 2022 tennis season:
It’s been a whirlwind for the legendary 35-year-old Novak Djokovic, but the 5x BNP Paribas Open champion has put himself in strong position to capture what would be his sixth ATP Finals crown having already secured a spot in the tournament semifinals. Although the Serbian has had to miss out on a few critical tournaments this year, when he has played, no one has been better.
Djokovic handedly took care of Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the group stage, and now just two matches stand between him and a coveted year-end title. A win in Italy would give Djokovic a serious momentum boost as he heads into 2023 hoping to reclaim glory in Tennis Paradise.
One of the greatest stories of the season has been the breakout of Taylor Fritz. The 25-year-old Southern California native captured the hearts of Tennis Paradise this March with a thrilling upset over Rafael Nadal in the final to claim the biggest win of his career.
It’s been a steady climb up the rankings for Fritz since capturing the BNP Paribas Open title, and he cracked the Top 8 in order to become the first American male to feature in the ATP Finals singles competition since John Isner in 2018. Fritz continued his 2022 success over Nadal with another win over the Spanish legend in the group stage, and he’ll now face Felix Auger-Aliassime for a spot in the final four.
The next generation of rising young ATP stars has been on full display all season, and the success of Casper Ruud in 2022 has shown the world that he is here to stay. Ruud joined Djokovic as one of the first two players to secure their spot in the ATP Finals last four, where he’ll be hoping to leave Italy with what would be the biggest title of his career.
No player on tour this year has had more quiet and steady success than the 23-year-old Ruud, who will exit the season with a resume that includes two Grand Slam runner-up finishes and a career-high ranking of world No. 2. In a 2022 ATP season that has produced major ranking shakeups and unpredictable twists at every turn, Ruud has emerged as a mainstay in late rounds of key tournaments. At this pace, the Norwegian will surely be one of the favorites to watch on the ATP side as the thrilling action to come in Tennis Paradise 2023 nears.
It’s been a year to remember for upstart American Brandon Nakashima, as the 21-year-old ended his season with a thrilling victory at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. Nakashima’s win puts him among the likes of a group of former champions at this tournament that includes Stefanos Tsitsipas, Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner.
The California native will be a name to watch in the desert this March as one of the bright young stars on the ATP Tour. With Nakashima’s 2022 campaign consisting of a Next Gen title, a fourth round appearance at Wimbledon and a year-end Top 50 ranking, there’s no telling what’s in store for the upstart American in 2023.
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