Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic headline ATP Finals, but tournament's significance is still up in the air

Theoretically -- and in terms of rankings points -- the Finals is the fifth most important tournament of the year, behind only the four majors that make up the Grand Slam.

Manuel Orantes, who lost in the quarterfinals of the two Grand Slam tournaments he played that year (Roland Garros and the U.S. Open), won the Masters over Wojciech Fibak, who was best known for his doubles prowess.

That same 1976 New York Times article pointed out that there were so many tournaments out there offering conflicting claims of importance that “many cynics say nothing matters now beyond Wimbledon; the United States Open, at Forest Hills; and money.

They cite the decline of the Davis Cup, the indifference of top players to tournament responsibilities and the inability of leaders to police, let alone control, day‐to‐day affairs.”

Thus, almost every great player of the Open era has hefted the trophy: Connors and Borg and Nastase, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl and Boris Becker, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi and Stefan Edberg.

None of the last three ATP Finals champs -- Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas -- has won a major championship.

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