• 2013 World Tour Finals picks: Part 1

    12/30/12 6:05 AM | Ricky Dimon
    2013 World Tour Finals picks: Part 1 Tennistalk wraps up its offseason coverage with its annual World Tour Finals predictions. Part 1 features qualifiers 5-8.

    5. David Ferrer – If you think this is the year Ferrer finally starts slowing down, think again. Like a fine wine, the Spaniard is only getting better with age. So when he turns 31 in April, what should we expect? Probably even better results, such as—perhaps—a title in Barcelona and maybe a few Masters finals (depending in part on the health of Rafael Nadal). Ferrer won a hard-to-fathom 76 matches in 2012, five of which came on the way to his biggest career title this fall at the Paris Masters. He also reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and also won a grass-court title in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. For Ferrer, points come in bunches at tournaments of all sizes on all surfaces.

    6. Tomas Berdych - Berdych should be able to pass Nadal in the rankings after the Australian Open and remain ahead of him until the end of 2013. He’s simply too good for that not to happen. The Czech has reached the final of Wimbledon, the semis of the French Open, the semis of the U.S. Open, and he is a two-time Australian Open quarterfinalist. Heck, Berdych even reached a 2012 final on some kind of blue surface that was made of stuff which forensic scientists have yet to decipher. The guy can churn out points anywhere and everywhere faster than a riverboat gambler at a slot machine. With confidence lingering from a Davis Cup triumph, Berdych head into 2013 with no red flags of any kind.

    7. Rafael Nadal – A top three finish for Nadal is already out of the question, but he could finish anywhere from No. 4 to……outside the Top 100? There is no telling when the 11-time Grand Slam champion will return, but a relatively smart bet (no bets regarding Nadal are smart ones right now) would be Monte-Carlo in April. If the Spaniard plays a full clay-court swing, he should have enough time to snag a spot in the World Tour Finals. But it’s far from a sure thing given the current circumstances.

    8. Janko Tipsarevic – Will anyone left out of the London picture in 2012 make a breakthrough in 2013. Don't count on it happening. A lot of that has to do with the rest of the ATP field, but some of it also has to do with Tipsarevic. The Serb was a late bloomer who is only getting better with age. He recorded a season-high 57 wins last season and several solid performances in the fall should have his confidence throttled in high gear. Two other things going for Tipsarevic: 1) he’s durable, and 2) he can get it done on all surfaces, thus able to rack up points on a consistent basis from start to finish.

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Berdych cannot pass Rafa in the rankings after AO, provided he reaches at least the final at the AO. He's defending QF points at the AO, so he has to at least get to the final to surpass Rafa in the rankings (4680-360+1200 = 5520). He also has 180 points at Rotterdam to defend, and DC points to defend when facing Switzerland? in the first round, so he has to do better than last year to gain points.

Rafa on the other hand, can gain points if he chooses to play two 250 clay events at SA, in addition to Acapulco, a 500 event. Unless Rafa can't get back to his former high level on clay, I don't think he'll do badly on clay. He has Feb to April to get his feet and bis feel back on clay, a good three months of competition to get his fitness and stamina back on track before the FO. This seven to eight months (July'12 to Feb'13) has allowed him to recuperate and his knee tendons to heal, he should be in a physically better stead to compete, though may be a bit rusty to begin with. I feel he'll regain his position in the top four, though not sure which position within the top four.

luckystar , 12/30/12 1:28 PM

Tipsy is RD's Isner pick of the year and yes Rafa's health is a big question mark but let's remember that he only played just over five months last year and still managed a fourth place finish.

Milos should improve to finish top 10 with an outside shot at the WTF.


Conspirator , 12/30/12 3:35 PM

i would assume between 15 and 20

maybe worse if he is losing to guys like Kevin Anderson in straight sets

RickyDimon , 12/30/12 7:37 PM

JMDP will make his way into the WTF next year. I dont think Tipsarevic can sustain the momentum. I do agree though that Berdych may solidify his spot among the top 4/5 by mid year...

aegis , 12/30/12 7:56 PM

Thanks to lucky for crunching the numbers. So Rafa will not fall out of the top five. I don't subscribe to Ricky's take on what will happen with Rafa. I also don't believe that he will be out until Monte Carlo. There's no reason to think that is the case. Rafa had a setback with this stomach bug and high fever. In the short term, it kept him from practising and it just wasn't realistic for him to try to come into the AO with virtually no preparation and possibly weakened by this bug and not in his best form.

Ricky seems determined to look at a worst case scenario for Rafa. I don't agree. I think lucky's scenario is much more realistic. We have no reason to think there is any problem with the knee. This was about a sudden and acute illness. There's no way Rafa would want a repeat of what happened at the 2011 AO, when he came in still not fully recovered from a severe viral infectiona and them suffered a hamstring injury in his quarterfinal match with Ferrer.

Berdy certainly has the game to be a contender and move up in the rankings. However, he has shown himself to be somewhat inconsistent and not mentally tough enough to win a slam. We will see if he can get over that hump this year.

Nativenewyorker , 12/31/12 1:51 AM

you're calling Nadal returning at Monte-Carlo a "worst case" scenario????


RickyDimon , 12/31/12 4:12 AM


Yes, because he won't have time to get into his best form. He also can't gain any points except at Madrid. Do you honestly think it's a good thing if he doesn't play and then suddenly shows up on clay like he's going to win it all?

In saying that Rafa will drop out of the top five, that is also a worst case scenario. As I said in my post, lucky crunched the numbers and said that Rafa won't drop out of the top five.

The bottom line is that Rafa can't just walk out on the court for his first match at MC and expect to dominate. He needs to play a few tournaments before that.

That was the point I was making. But I won't include a "LOL" out of respect for you,.

Nativenewyorker , 12/31/12 7:18 AM

the worst case scenario for Nadal is that he doesn't come back.


Don't try to paint it like I'm foreseeing doomsday. Predicting he comes back at MC is extremely sensible and not at all pessimistic.

RickyDimon , 12/31/12 1:49 PM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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