EXCLUSIVE – Daniela Hantuchová on why tennis has shocked her in 2020 and who will win the ATP Finals

Kevin Palmer

In part two of our exclusive interview with former world No 5 Daniela Hantuchová, we look at this week’s ATP Finals and reflect on a tennis year like no other.

Have you been surprised by the quality of tennis we have seen in 2020, with Covid restrictions changing so much in the sport in recent months?

In many ways, I feel the changed environment has inspired the players. They were so grateful to have the opportunity to play that it has transferred into them showing great joy on the court. 

That is why we are seeing so many incredible matches. The players are putting so much into getting out there that when we see them on court, they have even more motivation to give their all.

Are you surprised by how much tennis we have managed to get on in the second half of this year? 

For sure. I didn’t expect we would get as much tennis as we have seen in 2020. When everything shut down in March, it looked like we might not see too much tennis for the rest of the year, but the ATP and the WTA deserve so much credit for getting some events on and we have managed to get to the end of the year with an ATP Finals.

Not many of us are able to watch live tennis right now, so how does it feel to be at the 02 Arena this week with Amazon Prime? 

It is a privilege to have any kind of live sport at this moment in our lives, so we are all grateful to be allowed to be at the 02 Arena watching the tennis this week. Obviously, it is a big shame that we don’t have a crowd at this event as it is always one of the best events of the year when we get big crowds in London, but we have the best players and we have to be grateful for that.

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Will we have a greater appreciation for live sport when we come out of this Covid-19 crisis?

I think so. I felt like this at Ronald Garros. I was just so happy to be there, seeing live sport. We all felt lucky to be a part of that event and hopefully in 2021, things can get better. Hopefully, we can have Wimbledon next year, hopefully we find a way to get the Australian Open played. It is tough but these vaccines may be the way out for all of us.

Who is your favourite to win the ATP Finals this week?

Novak Djokovic has a little bit of an edge this week, but he is only a slight favourite with all the top eight players all here and ready to go. Rafa Nadal beat Novak last time, but that was on clay outdoors so I don’t think that will impact the match if he plays Djokovic in the ATP Finals, but you can see that Rafa is super hungry to get this title he is missing from his collection. Then you have (Daniil) Medvedev and Dominic Thiem, so we should have a great week of tennis.

Amazon Prime members in the UK and Ireland will have exclusive access to live tennis coverage from the Nitto ATP Finals 2020, from Sunday 15th to Sunday 22nd November.

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