Tomorrow sees the start of this years Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, featuring the world’s top players in action in the week-long season finale. The event which is being held at the o2 arena in London from 4th – 11th November, will see Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Juan Martin Del Potro, Stanislas Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet all battle it out to win the last major title of the season. Disappointment though, for all British tennis fans, as reigning Wimbledon Champion and British number one Andy Murray will not be competing this year due to his recovery from recent back surgery prevents him from playing.
Nadal is looking for his first title in this competition this year in his sixth appearance. After a fantastic year, which saw his comeback from an injury struck 2012, he has returned to the world number one spot and won his eighth French Open and second US Open titles. He has also added five Masters 1000 titles to his haul of trophies this year.
Find tickets at http://www.barclaysatpworldtourfinals.com
After a great start to the year winning his sixth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, defending champion Djokovic beat Nadal to win the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time and again later in the season at the Shanghai Masters. The rest of the Grand Slams didn’t go his way, with Nadal securing victory at the French, Murray beating him at Wimbledon and his Spanish rival out playing him in the final of the US Open.
As runner-up at the 2012 event, Federer will be looking to add this years title to his list of accolades after what has a tricky year to date. He won his seventy-seventh career title in Halle but did not feature on any of the Grand Slam winners podiums in 2013. It’s a fifth appearance for Spanish number two, Ferrer who reached his first Grand Slam final at the French Open and climbed to a career high-ranking of third in the world. Ferrer was a semi-finalist in Melbourne and reached the last eight at Wimbledon and the US Open. He will be looking to better his previous record as runner-up in 2001 and semi-finalist in 2011.
Argentinean Del Potro has won four titles this year and has twice been runner-up at Masters 1000 events, losing to Nadal at the Indian Wells event and to Djokovic in Shanghai. He is currently in the top five in the world. Czech Berdych will be competing for the fourth time, after making it into the world top five for the first time this year, playing consistently but not winning a title. He reached the quarter finals in Melbourne and finals in Marseille, Dubai and Bangkok as well as Masters 1000 semi-final appearances in Indian Wells, Madrid, Rome and Cincinnati.
It’s the first appearance at the Tour finals for Swiss number two, Wawrinka who booked his place after a year which saw him reach eighth in the world rankings, his highest ranking to date. Highlights include taking Djokovic to five sets in the semi-final at the US Open and reaching the last eight at the French Open. He was also a finalist at the Madrid Masters 1000 event.
As a relative newcomer to the event, Gasquet is only competing for the second time after his first appearance in 2007. Finishing ninth on the leaderboard his place was confirmed after Murray retired and he took the vacant eighth place. He won three titles in 2013 at Doha, Montpellier and Moscow and reached his second Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open, after a five set quarter-final victory beating Ferrer.
Nine pairs will be competing in the Doubles event. Twin brothers Bob and Mike Bryan (US) are looking for their fourth World Tour title and will be making their eleventh appearance at the finals. The top doubles pairing have won ten titles so far in 2013 including three Grand Slam titles in another consistent year. Defending champions Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez (ESP) beat the Bryan brothers in their first match at the o2 last year and took the crown after a great tournament.
Leander Paes (IND) and Radek Stepanek (CZE) won the US Open crown this year beating the Bryan brothers in the final and reached the last four at Wimbledon. It’s a second time appearance for Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (PAK)/Jean-Julian Rojer (NED) after their debut in 2012.
Poland’s Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski will be making their sixth appearance after securing the final place in London. They were finalists in 2011 and semi-finalists in 2010, so will be looking to better that this year.
There are three sets of first-timers competing at the o2 in this years event, Alexander Peya (AUT)/Bruno Soares (BRA) reached this years finals after reaching their first Grand Slam final in New York and winning their first Masters 1000 shield in Montreal. Ivan Dodig (CRO)/Marcelo Melo (BRA) were runners-up at Wimbledon and won their first Masters 1000 crown in Shanghai. David Marrero/Fernando Verdasco (ESP) are making their debut in London this year after victory in St Petersburg, a first ATP Masters 1000 final in Shanghai and seven further semi-finals appearances throughout the year.
Play starts tomorrow at noon with Qureshi/Rojer kicking off proceedings against Fyrstenberg/Matkowski. The first singles match will follow at 2pm with Berdych versus Wawrinka. For ticket information and availability visit www.barclaysatpworldtourfinals.com.
All photos sourced from the LTA and Barclays ATP World Tour Finals websites