Eleven months of hard work, effort, and sweat have led to this moment: the Pala Alpitour in Turin. From November 12th to 19th, the year’s top eight tennis players will compete in the Finals, the most significant tournament after the four Grand Slams (Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open). For the third consecutive year, the event will be held in Turin, which will host it until 2025.
The fantastic eight were finalized a few days ago, following the Paris Bercy tournament: Djokovic, Alcaraz, Medvedev, Sinner, Rublev, Tsitsipas, Zverev, and Rune will be the contenders. Among fans, there’s a sense that this year couldn’t be better in terms of line-up, and the Finals are expected to be a spectacular show.
The 2023 Race
Given the exceptional nature of the event, we have been working on a dedicated infographic for the Finals for weeks (viewing is recommended on a PC).
At the top, there’s the progression of the rankings throughout 2023: it is this ranking that designates the participants for the end-of-season tournament. At first glance, two climbs in the ranking stand out: the first is that of Sinner, highly anticipated by the Italian audience, who was still eighth in the Race in August before rising to fourth place thanks to an excellent end of the season (victories in Toronto, Beijing, and Vienna).
The second climb is that of Alexander Zverev: the German tennis player suffered a serious ankle injury in the semifinal against Rafa Nadal at the 2022 Roland Garros and returned to the circuit at the beginning of this year. As is normal in a physically demanding sport like tennis, it took Zverev many months and tournaments before he was truly competitive and feared by his opponents again. In August, he was number 17 in the Race, gradually climbing to reach the number 7 position.
The most important statistics
Scrolling through the infographic, we can see the top 8 players with the option to view their performance throughout the year (from left to right) in 6 key tennis statistics: the percentage of points won on first serve, the percentage of points won on second serve, break points saved, total points won percentage, points won on return against a second serve, and the percentage of break points converted into points (and thus into games won).
By selecting the percentage of points won on the first serve, for example, we see that Sinner reached his seasonal peak in the match at Rome against Kokkinas, winning 96% of the points on his first serve. Djokovic stands out for his consistency, almost always above 80% of points won on the first serve, and so does Sinner, who raised his service performance in the second half of the season. Also of interest are the first matches of the year for Alcaraz: the former world number 1 was the only one among the top 8 to start the season on clay rather than hard court due to an injury, and all of his early matches had below-average service performances.
One on one
In the final part of the infographic, you can see the head-to-head matchups between two tennis players simply by clicking on their images. Taking the world’s top two players as an example, Djokovic and Alcaraz, we see that they are tied with two victories each: one match in 2022 (surprisingly won by Alcaraz in Madrid), then this year’s Roland Garros semifinal (with Djokovic winning, partly due to Alcaraz’s cramps), the famous Wimbledon final (won in five sets by Alcaraz in what might have been the match of the year), and the Cincinnati Masters 1000 final (won after three hours by Djokovic).
The tennis year is almost over (after the Finals there will be the Davis Cup, the most important national team tournament in tennis) but there will be no shortage of excitement at the Turin tournament, which is expected to be a sell-out. The eight will be divided into two groups of four, and the top two from each group will qualify for the semifinals (Saturday 18th) and then the final (Sunday 19th).
Djokovic is the big favorite, having won the year-end tournament six times (as has Federer), but expectations are also high for Sinner, perhaps the most in-form player after the Serbian champion. Who knows, for the first time an Italian might just win the Finals. And doing so at home, in Turin, would send him straight into the annals of sports history.
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