The ATP World Tour Finals takes place between 20-27 November at London’s O2 Arena. It will be played out between the top eight players in the world, although the final three places are still to be decided as there are a couple of tournaments still to be played around the world that will have an effect on the final outcome. Those players already qualified are:
Novak Djokovic - Serbia
Rafael Nadal - Spain
Andy Murray - GB
Roger Federer - Switzerland
David Ferrer - Spain
Those likely to qualify are...
Tomas Berdych – Czech Republic
Mardy Fish - USA
Jo Wilfried-Tsonga – France
The Barclays sponsored tournament is regarded by the some of the players at least, as one worthy of "Grand Slam" status, however, that will never be granted but nonetheless, it is a huge tournament that each and every player would dearly love to win.
Unlike the straight knockout of style of other tournaments, the World Finals splits the eight players into two groups of four players, where each player in each group will play the other three on a round robin basis, with the top two in the group going forward into the semi finals. The tournament then follows the usual path, with the two winning semi finalists meeting in the final. The winner of the tournament will receive 1500 ranking points.
He tournament has evolved considerably over its 41 year history, with several differing formats and venues being used. In fact up until 2007 each match was played over five sets, however, that has now changed and all matches played are now over the best of three sets.
Defending champion is Roger Federer who won the tournament for the fifth time last year when he defeated Rafael Nadal in a three set final. In winning Federer equalled the record held by Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl. The only other past winner who will be playing this year is the new world number one, Novak Djokovic, who won in 2008, when the tournament was held in Shanghai and was known as the Tennis Masters Cup and is favourite in this year's ATP Finals odds.
Other great names of the past to have won the tournament, include, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Andre Agassi. Ivan Lendl in fact holds the record for the most appearances in the final on nine which he achieved consecutively between 1980-88.
Running simultaneously with the Singles tournament, will be the ATP World Doubles Finals, which will feature the top eight teams in the world this year and follow the same format as the singles event. In years gone by the ‘Doubles’ tournament was normally held a week or so after the singles, but for Box Office reasons, the organisers now prefer to run the two tournaments together.