x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Fantastic four give final ATP events intrigue

The men's four top players will be entered in the final two events of the season, but first three of them will meet at the Swiss Indoors Basel this week.

Finally, the old gang is reassembling. This week, for the first time since the US Open two months ago, three of the top four players in men's tennis are in the same competition. Next week, in Paris, and later this month, in London, all four should be in the same tournament.

Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer are playing the Swiss Indoors Basel this week, and Rafael Nadal is due to join them at the Paribas Masters next week and again at the ATP World Finals.

This is good news for fans of the game who are keen to learn the answers to several questions.

Is Djokovic primed to put an exclamation mark on the end of a marvellous season? Three successive victories would make this a season to compare to any. Can Nadal end Djokovic's dominance over him?

And can he keep the other two in his rear-view mirror?

Is Murray's rightful place in the world order ahead of Federer, as he finds himself at the moment, or behind him, which has been the previous state of affairs?

Injuries and fatigue conspired to keep no more than half of the Big Four from playing in any tournament between the US Open and Basel. Djokovic and Federer have not played at all, aside from the Davis Cup.

Murray has the most to gain in Basel. He could face Federer in the semi-finals and Djokovic in the final, and a pair of victories there could present us with another year-end question: is the Scot ready for a push for the top?