Novak Djokovic has already held off the rise of the so-called “Next Gen” by keeping players like Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Daniil Medvedev from winning titles. Now, for the first time at the ATP Finals, Djokovic is joined by the three players who are being labeled the “Young Gen.” Carlos Alcaraz, 20 years old and already a U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion, is making his debut at the season-ending tournament for the year’s top eight players after missing the event last year with an injury. Jannik Sinner, 22 and coming in red hot after recent titles in China and Vienna, will be playing before a home crowd with the Italian ranked a career-high No. 4. Holger Rune, 20 and already with two wins over Djokovic, will renew his budding rivalry with the 24-time Grand Slam champion in the featured match when the tournament opens. After their last match, Djokovic said it feels a little bit like looking in the mirror when he faces Rune. What’s more is that Rune now has Boris Becker — one of Djokovic’s former coaches — in his box. Sinner first played in the finals two years ago as an alternate.
Djokovic needs just one more match win to secure the year-end No. 1 ranking for a record-extending eighth time. None of the four meetings between Djokovic and Rune have ended in straight sets, with the series tied at 2-2. Sinner plays the tournament’s opening match against Tsitsipas. Alcaraz missed last year’s finals due to an abdominal injury and also had a short layoff recently due to a left foot injury and muscle fatigue in his lower back. The top two finishers from each four-man group advance to the semifinals. Groups: Green group: Novak Djokovic (1), Jannik Sinner (4), Stefanos Tsitsipas (6), Holger Rune (8). Red Group: Carlos Alcaraz (2), Daniil Medvedev (3), Andrey Rublev (5), Alexander Zverev (7).