Two significant changes will impact the ATP Tour Finals: it will lose the sponsorship of Barclays after the 2016 season; and group names will no longer be alphabet letters, effective this year.
I have always wondered why organizations wait until people die before giving them the recognition they deserve. What good does that do the person? His/her family may be happy for the appreciation shown their relative, but that person never got the opportunity to bask in the glow of appreciation. As a player you may know or suspect that people admire your game and respect what you bring to the sport; however, you are human and getting recognized in a special way is something you would want to experience yourself. Thus, I was glad to see that the ATP Tour has renamed the groups from the nondescript “A” and “B” to the names of the players that won the inaugural title in singles and doubles and also the players that have won multiple titles in both singles and doubles. Most players do not pursue a career in tennis to gain special recognition/awards, they play simply for the love of the game. Public recognition and awards are added bonuses they can enjoy for all the sacrifices that they made along the way.
The Stan Smith Group members are Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori. The Ilie Nastase Group members are Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, David Ferrer and Stan Wawrinka. Which four players will make the semifinals? Djokovic and Federer will most likely be the two from Stan Smith’s Group. I am going with Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal from Ilie Nastase’s group. Despite not doing well traditionally at the year-end event, Nadal wants to end his year on a high.