Big names on display at UTS Grand Final as Rublev, Draper headline in London

Ahead of the UTS Grand Final in London, we look at the big storylines heading into the year-end event and preview the details you need to know

Players with trophy UTS London - Tennis Majors / UTS Players with trophy UTS London – Tennis Majors / UTS

While the ATP and WTA Tours may well be concluded for the year, there’s still plenty of tennis action to come this weekend, as the UTS Grand Final takes place in London from 15-17 December.

Eight of the best players on the UTS Tour this year will be fighting it out for the year-end prize at the ExCel London, with two current and three former top 10 players in the mix this weekend.

In a format that is known for being innovative, fast-paced and engaging, there’s plenty to look forward to at the UTS Grand Final.

Rublev the man to beat in London

Heading into day one of the UTS Grand Final, it’s undeniable that Andrey “Rublo” Rublev will be the man to beat.

Not only is the Russian the highest ranked player in the field, but he’s also the only man present to have won a title this year, most recently claiming the UTS Frankfurt by trophy in September.

Rublev currently sits at No 5 in the ATP Tour, and has had the best year of his career, winning a maiden Masters 1000 crown in Monte Carlo, picking up an ATP 250 title in Bastad and making another three Grand Slam quarter-finals. 

At UTS Frankfurt by, Rublev dropped his opening match to Diego “El Peque” Schwartzman, before navigating the rest of the tournament undefeated to claim the title.

This weekend, Rublev has been drawn alongside Schwartzman in Group A, along with Casper “The Iceman” Ruud and Benoit “The Rebel” Paire, setting a mouth-watering rematch of their Frankfurt clash. Group B, meanwhile, sees Holger “The Viking” Rune, Alexander “The Bublik Enemy” Bublik, Jack “The Power” Draper and Gael “La Monf” Monfils grouped together.

Can Draper live up to hometown expectations?

Jack Draper has had yet another disjointed season, suffering several injury layoffs throughout 2023.

Despite this disappointment, the 21-year-old has an opportunity to close out the year on a high, playing in his debut UTS tournament in front of a home London crowd.

“I’m very grateful to be here, very grateful and thankful to be getting the opportunity to play in London,” Draper said on Thursday. “I think it’s an amazing concept, the event is really fun. To play here and be amongst amazing players and play in front of my home crowd, I’m very, very excited.”

While Rublev has an obvious target on his back due to his ranking, there are others who will be equally excited to take on Draper in front of his home crowd.

“It’s always exciting to play a home player, a home favourite,” declared Rune ahead of day one of UTS London. “It’s going to be a different kind of atmosphere than normal. But we’re more and more used to it, so it’s hopefully going to be great, a lot of people, a lot of support, so I’m excited for it.”

The clash between Rune and Draper is one that many are looking forward to, with the young stars facing each other at 9pm on Friday night.

Action for all at UTS London

UTS has many selling points–music during the points, crowds free to shout and move around, interviews with players during the matches–but a big draw card for fans is the fact that anyone attending or watching a UTS event will be guaranteed to see their favourite player.

All players will play at least once per day across the first two days, with six matches scheduled for Friday and Saturday, before the semi-finals and final unfold on Sunday.

For the UTS Grand Final in London, here’s how the exact order of play looks for the group play:

Friday 15 December

  • 4pm–Diego “El Peque” Schwartzman v Benoit “The Rebel” Paire
  • 5pm–Andrey “Rublo” Rublev v Casper “The Iceman” Ruud
  • 6pm–Alexander “The Bublik Enemy” Bublik v Gael “La Monf” Monfils
  • 8pm–Andrey “Rublo” Rublev v Diego “El Peque” Schwartzman
  • 9pm–Holger “The Viking” Rune v Jack “The Power” Draper
  • 10pm–Casper “The Iceman” Ruud v Benoit “The Rebel” Paire

Saturday 16 December

  • 4pm–Holger “The Viking” Rune v Alexander “The Bublik Enemy” Bublik
  • 5pm–Jack “The Power” Draper v Gael “La Monf” Monfils
  • 6pm–Casper “The Iceman” Ruud v Diego “El Peque” Schwartzman
  • 8pm–Andrey “Rublo” Rublev v Benoit “The Rebel” Paire
  • 9pm–Holger “The Viking” Rune v Gael “La Monf” Monfils
  • 10pm–Jack “The Power” Draper v Alexander “The Bublik Enemy” Bublik

Sunday 17 December will then see the Final Four take place, where the winner of Group A will play the runner up of Group B and vice versa, determining who contests the final of the UTS Grand Final on Sunday evening.

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