As a personal trainer in London, I find tennis a very effective way to challenge and boost all-round fitness: cardio, strength, muscular endurance, speed and agility, and flexibility. So I thought I’d write a blog post about the 2014 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals here at London’s 02 Arena.
Live coverage of this fantastic tennis event will be shown all week on BBC2 from Sunday 9 November to Sunday 16 November. First match: Murray vs Nishikori.
Djokovic has already won this event 3 times (2008, 2012, 2013), and he’s my favourite to win again this year.
Strengths: extremely fast around the court, solid groundstrokes, consistent serve
Weaknesses: the smash
Winner of this tournament a stunning 6 times (most recently in 2011), Federer is a strong contender again this year.
Strengths: pretty much everything
Weaknesses: slightly slower around the court than he was, but great anticipation compensates for this.
Yet to win this title, Wawrinka is hungry for victory. He’s had a great year, which started with his Australian Open grand slam title where he beat Rafa Nadal.
Strengths: awesome topspin backhand winners down the line
Weaknesses: his defensive game lags behind his attacking game
Nishikori of Japan is Asia’s number 1 tennis player, and he’s had a great 2014, reaching the US Open final (where he lost to Marin Cilic). Nishikori has never competed in this event before, so it will be interesting to see how he performs. With highly experienced coach and former top 10 player Michael Chang in his corner, he has a chance to shine here.
Strengths: lean fit, fast around the court, returns the second serve well, killer backhand winners down the line.
Weaknesses: lack of experience in big semis and finals against the top players, sometimes too impatient to finish the point.
After a tough year of losses and back surgery, Andy Murray just made it into the top 8 to qualify for this event after some stunning tournament wins in the last three weeks. Andy has reached the semi-finals of this event three times, but never won. I think Djokovic has the edge on him in current form, as does Federer.
Strengths: his defensive game
Weaknesses: his second serve, occasional lapses in concentration.
Another player who is yet to win this title, but he’s played in this event for the last 5 years running, so he knows what to expect.
Strengths: physically strong, long legs and big reach, solid ground-strokes, great in attack
Weaknesses: weaker in defence, mental strength under pressure needs improvement.
Cilic has never played in this event, but with his recent grand slam win at the US Open, he’s got a great chance to keep up the momentum and build on that success.
Strengths: strong, tall, fast, aggressive.
Weaknesses: serve still lets him down; it’s not the weapon it could be.
Yet another player who’s here for the first time, Raonic has stormed into the world’s top 10 with an ATP ranking of world number 6. Experts tip the big Canadian as a future world number 1, and I predict he will reach the final of this event, but lose narrowly to Djokovic.
Strengths: deadly serve, solid groundstrokes.
Weaknesses: consistency, but this weakness is shrinking fast.
Dominic Londesborough is author of this blog, founder of the Fitness Buddy social network, nutrition coach, and a personal trainer in London.