Djokovic, Federer & Murray – Who’ll Finish as the Best in 2012

There are two rankings published each week by the ATP – The ATP rankings and the Race to the Finals, which determines who are the 8 players that’ll play in the Year-End Championships. Three players can still finish as the number one player – Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

At the moment, Novak Djokovic has 9910 points in the race of the year, after winning one Grand Slam title (Australia), reaching two more finals and winning two more Masters titles in Miami and Toronto. Roger Federer is second on that list with 8905 points – Winning Wimbledon, winning three Masters titles (Madrid, Indian Wells, Cincinnati) and two more lesser tournaments, winning a total of six thus far, more than any other player on the tour. Andy Murray? Two titles. The US Open, the Olympic tournament and the Brisbane international, putting him at fourth with 6730 points.

Rafael Nadal, who has won four titles this season, all on clay – The Roland Garros, Monte-Carlo, Rome and Barcelona, has 6850, but seeing as he won’t be playing this month and in October at the least, he’ll definitely finish behind Andy Murray and maybe even David Ferrer, although there’s a good chance he won’t be ready in time for the Year-End championship.

One thing about Murray – He wins two Masters titles every year for the past four years, with this season being the exception thus far. Being the Shanghai champion of the last two years and heading over there after a short rest and the US Open title on his back, there’s a pretty good chance we might see him lifting the title in China. He’s never won the title in Paris, but you gotta keep up with the average.

In truth, even if Murray does sweep the rest of the three big tournaments left and maybe win in the tournament leading up to Paris, either Basel or the Valencia Open 500, it’s hard to see him taking top in the yearly race. Last year he made clean sweep of the Asian season, winning in Tokyo, Bangkok and Shanghai. Roger Federer took that part of the season off, coming back fresh and ready for Paris and then the tournament in London.

In terms of form, it seems that Murray is heading as the hottest player into the later part of the season, but Djokovic isn’t having the kind of year he had in 2011, which means he’ll probably play at least two tournaments in Asia. Federer? He wants number one, but fatigue and lack of rest is more and more of a problem for him, and it’ll probably fall to him prioritizing his time. He plays in Basel every year, but having to play in Paris, Basel and the Tour finals might be a bit much for him.

Federer, more than anyone, has had ups & downs every year. After periods of peaking (Wimbledon – Cincy, Post Australian Open) comes quite a drop in his form, as the US Open proved once again, not taking anything away from Berdych. Novak Djokovic, while less than brilliant, has been more consistent than anyone else. Murray will need to be flawless to finish the season as the number one player for the year. Prediction? Djokovic wins the year race, Federer finishes as the number one player on the ATP rankings.