07:07 AM GMT April 04, 2018
Does the past predict the future? In the case of the ATP Race To London, a position among the Top 10 after the first quarter of the season greatly enhances a player's chances of claiming a spot at the elite Nitto ATP Finals.
Seven players among the Top 10 of the ATP Race To London, the year-to-date standings, on 4 April 2014 qualified for that year's season finale. Eight qualifiers were already in the Top 10 on 6 April 2015; there were seven on 4 April 2016 and seven Top 8 finishers, with one playing alternate, on 3 April last year.
If 2018 is anything to go by, The O2 on the Greenwich peninsula in east London will welcome a mix of established stars, new participants and young talent from 11-18 November.
As things currently stand, six-time former Nitto ATP Finals champion Roger Federer is the current Race leader with 3,110 points, with titles at the Australian Open (d. Cilic) and the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament (d. Dimitrov).
A resurgent Juan Martin Del Potro, at No. 2 with 2,120 points, will be looking to make a welcome return to The O2 for the first time since 2013. En route to building a 15-match winning streak this year, he captured the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC (d. Anderson) and won his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown at the BNP Paribas Open (d. Federer).
Just as the experienced Marin Cilic (1,470) is going for his fourth qualification at the season finale (2014, ‘16-17), there is a tantalising prospect that Hyeon Chung, the Next Gen ATP Finals champion in November 2017, may go on to secure his place at the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time. At No. 4 in the Race on 1,280 points with an 18-7 season record, Chung may well compete in London alongside fellow young star Alexander Zverev (925).
Kevin Anderson, one of the sport’s hardest workers, has a 1-2 record in ATP World Tour finals this year and is No. 5 (1,070). Known for solid performances during the summer North American swing, the 2017 US Open finalist may well erase memories of a near qualification miss in 2015 and 2017.
Last week, John Isner kick-started his 2018 campaign with the Miami Open presented by Itau crown and sits in sixth position — one place higher than Zverev, the player he beat in a thrilling final — on 1,040 points. The diminutive Diego Schwartzman rounds out the Top 8 on 825 points.
Last year's champion Grigor Dimitrov (2017), is in contention at No. 10 in the ATP Race To London (805 points) through the first quarter of the year. But the Bulgarian has work to do, much like former World No. 1 Novak Djokovic (the 2008, 2012-15 titlist), who has yet to hit top form on his comeback from injury (No. 85). On the eve of the European clay swing, just like Isner's 288-place rise with the Miami title, World No. 1 Rafael Nadal will be sure to move up from his current position of No. 39.