Novak Djokovic clinched a record-extending eighth ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone finish on Sunday. But Year-End ATP Doubles No. 1 presented by Pepperstone is very much still up for grabs with only four days of the season left.
Five teams can still earn the honour: Ivan Dodig/Austin Krajicek, Wesley Koolhof/Neal Skupski, Rohan Bopanna/Matthew Ebden, Santiago Gonzalez/Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Marcel Granollers/Horacio Zeballos.
One year ago, Koolhof and Skupski earned the accolade. They still have a chance to repeat the feat, but are focused on advancing through Red Group at the Nitto ATP Finals first, according to Skupski.
“It’s unique that five teams can still finish the year as World No. 1,” Skupski said. “We are just focusing on our next match and not looking too far ahead. If we can take care of business on our side and stay in the moment, then the end of year No. 1 ranking will not be too far away.”
Dodig and Krajicek are currently in pole position in the battle for the year-end No. 1 team. However, they were eliminated from semi-final contention on Thursday when they fell to 1-2 in round-robin play. The other teams have an opportunity to pass their 6,530-points mark.
Koolhof/Skupski and Bopanna/Ebden must reach the final to pass Dodig/Krajicek. Gonzalez/Roger-Vasselin must win the title and Granollers/Zeballos must lift the trophy without losing a match in group play.
For 43-year-old Bopanna, who on Wednesday became the oldest match winner in Nitto ATP Finals history, the challenge of chasing year-end No. 1 is exciting.
“It’s amazing to be part of so many great consistent teams this year,” Bopanna said. “We are at the end of the year, the last tournament of the year, and [there is] an opportunity to become World No. 1 by end of this week. I think with all the difficulties we all go through, there lies an opportunity for us to become World No. 1, and this is where the saying goes where players become icons. So really, up to the challenge and looking forward to it.”
Koolhof/Skupski will play Bopanna/Ebden on Friday to decide the second Red Group team that will advance to the semi-finals, with Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury already through.