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Updated: 7 min 37 sec ago

Moet Moment Djokovic Triumphs In London

Tue, 24/11/2015 - 2:20am
Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his fourth successive Barclays ATP World Tour Finals crown at The O2.

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers Returning Trumps Serving

Tue, 24/11/2015 - 1:48am
Conventional wisdom says that the serve is the most important shot in tennis. The more astute tennis fan knows that quite the opposite is true.

Brain Game: Novak’s Stunning Stat Sinks Federer

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 2:46pm

How do you play a match at any level of the game and only lose three points on your second serve? That’s exactly what Novak Djokovic managed to pull off in his 6-3, 6-4 victory over Roger Federer in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London on Sunday night.

Second-serve performance is typically a key component in deciding victory from the back courts of Lahore to the centre court in London. Djokovic managed to win a mind-blowing 84 per cent (16/19) of his second-serve points against one of the most in-form players on the planet.

Many positive things flowed from this surprise advantage, including Djokovic only facing two break points in two sets against an opponent he lost to in straight sets earlier in the week, when he lost serve four times.  In the deuce court, Djokovic amazingly won 88 per cent (7/8) of second serves directed at Federer’s backhand down the T, and all three surprise serves to the forehand wing.

History shows us that Federer’s backhand return is always heavily targeted, but he was not sitting on this preferred location, ripping returns like the scouting report dictates.

In the ad court, Djokovic mixed it up much more, winning 50 per cent (2/4) to Federer’s backhand return on second serves, and 100 per cent (4/4) sneaking second serves right down the T to keep Federer off balance.

Second-serve performance is always a key component of victory, as it’s typically too difficult for the returner to succeed against far more powerful first serves. Federer averaged standing 1.3 metres (4.3 feet) inside the baseline to return Djokovic’s second serves, but quite often lacked the commitment to immediately attack.

On the first point of the 1-1 game in the second set, Federer looked to chip and charge off a second-serve return, second-guessed himself, and missed a routine return. That’s a moment in time when thinking really hurts you.

Federer’s magnificent short-ball-hunter instincts should have taken over, and his chance of winning the point at the net would have dramatically increased. Djokovic won 42 baseline points to Federer’s 23, so why stay back? While Djokovic soared, winning 84 per cent of his second-serve points, Federer struggled mightily, winning only 42 per cent (9/21) against the world’s best returner.

Federer’s game was spotty right from the beginning, committing 31 unforced errors to the Serb’s 14. With everything else being equal, that sinks the boat right there.

Federer hit more winners (19-13) than Djokovic, but as usual, it was the player who made fewer unforced errors than more winners who was smiling at the net shaking hands when the dust settled.

Federer’s backhand proved problematic throughout. He hit six winners off that wing but too often wildly missed the mark with 13 unforced errors, stopping his sporadic good play in its tracks.

Djokovic targeted Federer’s backhand from start to finish, hitting 70 per cent of his backhands cross court, and then on the right ball, attacking 30 per cent down the line to pressure Federer’s forehand on the run.

Federer hit 61 per cent of his backhands cross court and 39 per cent down the line, but should have directed a lot more down the middle of the court to Djokovic’s forehand, to rebound the ball back down the middle to his own forehand.

Federer used a lot more slice than Djokovic off his backhand wing, hitting 69 per cent topspin and 31 per cent slice, trying to disrupt the Serb’s dominant rhythm. Djokovic was content to just keep ploughing away at the comparatively weaker Federer backhand wing, hitting 97 per cent of his backhands with topspin, and only 3 per cent with slice.

Overall, Djokovic hit 23 per cent of his shots standing inside the baseline, 56 per cent within two metres behind the baseline, and 21 per cent further back than two metres.

Djokovic capped off a magnificent year with a dominant performance against a fierce rival. It’s the first time in the history of our sport that a player has won four consecutive year-end championships in a row.

It’s now time to put a glorious season to bed. Let’s respect Djokovic’s amazing process, and give thanks to him for taking us to a place on the mountain where nobody before has ventured.


Djokovic Celebrates Barclays ATP World Tour Title

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 2:27pm

It has been a historic season for Novak Djokovic. How will he celebrate his fourth consecutive victory at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals?

Follow the 2015 champion around O2 Arena as talks about his ambitions for next season and reveals his big plans for the holidays.

Djokovic Salutes 'Stand-Out' Season

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 1:58pm

Roger Federer is the only player to have inflicted defeat on World No. 1 Novak Djokovic more than once this season. He had downed the Serb for a third time on Tuesday in the round-robin stage of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

But in the title match on Sunday, revenge came sweet for Djokovic – his straight sets result securing a fifth season-ending championship, in his 15th final from the 16 events he entered in 2015. Big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic was the only man who managed to deny him a berth in a final all season. He did so in the Doha quarter-finals.

“I guess Karlovic is my nemesis. I have a negative score against him. I have to talk about him before Doha next year,” Djokovic grinned. “It's been an incredible season. Other than that tournament, I've played all finals. Obviously, sitting here with this trophy alongside me, I couldn't ask for a better finish to the season. The last four years I managed to win the (Barclays ATP) World Tour Finals, where the best players in the world are playing. For some reason or another, I've been playing some of my best tennis after the US Open, in Asia and also indoors, both Paris and London.

“I've been trying to really pay as equal attention to the work and the recovery, as well, mental and physical. It allows me to have the longevity. It allows me to have the matches and the tournaments I've had in the last couple years.

“But this season definitely stands out. I can't say I expected it, not at all … (It) obviously gives me a lot of confidence for anything that is coming in the future.”

Against Federer, in Showdown No. 2 at the season finale, Djokovic adjusted his tactics after the World No. 3 ended his streaks of 38 consecutive indoor match wins, 23 overall this season and 15 straight at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Tuesday.

“He's a very complete player. I know that he's always going to push you hard and try to protect the baseline, take away the time from you, which he was doing also today,” he said.

“I think what I managed to do better than what I've done in the last match we played in the group stage here was the fact that I was more solid from back of the court. I served well when I needed to.

“You try to take advantage of certain parts of his game that were not working well today, which was his backhand.”

It caps a remarkable season for the runaway World No. 1 who finished with 11 titles, including three of the four Grand Slams and an record six ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles. Only John McEnroe (1984), Jimmy Connors (1974) and Federer (2005 and 2006) have finished with a better winning percentage and with as many or more titles.

Still, however, a Roland Garros champion’s trophy is missing from the Serb’s bounty. And in 2016 an elusive Olympic gold medal will also be on the line in Rio de Janeiro.

“Roland Garros is always one of the biggest challenges I have every year, but it's not the only one. There are the Olympic Games that are happening every four years,” he said. “I will try to do as well as I've done in the last couple of years, always peak at the right moments and always try to perform my best at the biggest events.

“Now what I'm thinking about is the rest. I need some time to really recharge my batteries and then I'll think about my next season.”


Federer In Full Flight

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 11:42am

Roger Federer shows why he is still a force to be reckoned with on a fast indoor court, turning defence into offence against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Despite this flash of brilliance, Federer was denied a seventh title at the year-end championships and would fall to Djokovic in straight sets.

Federer: 'I've Got To Keep Pushing Forward'

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 10:44am

He said it himself. Only moments after his round-robin victory over Novak Djokovic on Tuesday in London, Roger Federer observed, “The way I know Novak, he's going to find a way to be tougher to beat from now on.”

After 43 FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters, you learn a thing or two about your opponent. You pick up on the subtleties, the intangibles. Federer knew good and well that the World No. 1 would adjust, retool and put the 7-5, 6-2 Group Stan Smith defeat behind him. As the Serb sagely observed earlier this year, in the midst of one of the most dominant seasons the sport has ever seen, “If there’s one thing that I learned in the sport it’s to recover fast and to leave things behind.”

The 28-year-old Belgradian’s short memory served him well in Sunday’s winner-take-all showdown at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, where two of the game’s all-time greats squared off for the second time in a matter of days, their eighth meeting of 2015. From the moment the first ball was struck, it was clear that Djokovic had put the past behind him; his only concern the task that lay ahead.

Though Djokovic would avenge Tuesday’s loss and level their FedEx ATP Head2Head history at 22-22 with a 6-3, 6-4 win, becoming the first player to win four straight titles in the tournament’s 46-year history, Federer won’t hang his head for long.

He finishes the year at 63-11 overall, including a 39-6 mark on hard courts. Though coming into the final at The O2 he still had a shot at No. 2 in the year-end Emirates ATP Rankings, he will finish in the Top 3 for the 12th time in the past 13 years. At 34, he is the oldest player in the Top 10 since No. 7 Andre Agassi (35) in 2005.

It was a year in which he claimed six titles (Brisbane, Dubai, Istanbul, Halle, Cincinnati and Basel), second only to Djokovic (11). He compiled a 6-5 record in finals, with all five losses coming to Djokovic. In ATP Masters 1000 play, he went 16-6, highlighted by the title in Cincinnati, where he beat Andy Murray and Djokovic in succession, the first time in his 17-year career that he defeated the Nos. 1-2 players in same tournament.

With his win over Canada’s Milos Raonic in the Brisbane final, he became one of only three players in the Open Era to hurdle the 1,000-win mark, joining Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl.

“I've got to keep pushing forward,” said Federer. “Got to keep practising hard, being serious about all the things I do. Now rest, recover, enjoy my family, my wife. Just have a great time there. Then once I get back to practice, the gym, enjoy that part as well, which I do. Thankfully, I found a way to embrace that part as well over the years.”

If he’s proven one thing in 2015, it’s that he is far from done. Some 17 years into his professional career, Federer still has the desire, the determination to grind it out it week to week on the ATP World Tour in search of titles.

“I think this year had a lot of great things in my game," he said on Sunday. “How I'm able to play at net now, how I'm moving and feeling at net in particular is a great thing to have. Then my serve has been really working very consistent, very well throughout the year more or less. Maybe if I can just get that to work slightly better at times, that would be incredibly helpful. I'll work on that as well.

“I haven't thought about it too much in terms of what is my number one, number two, number three goals,” he added. “Usually, I go into a season with two or three really big goals, then maybe four or five other ones that are really important to you. The rest of the tournaments I just really enjoy playing. I'd like to defend my titles. But right now my mind somehow doesn't go further than the Australian Open.”

Djokovic Completes Finale Four-Peat

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 9:09am

Novak Djokovic completed his argument for one of the greatest seasons of all time on the ATP World Tour, capping a historic campaign with a record fourth consecutive Barclays ATP World Tour Finals crown. The Serb downed six-time titlist Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday.

It was déjà vu with their second meeting this week at The O2 in London - and 44th overall - coming on the heels of Federer's 7-5, 6-2 triumph in Group Stan Smith play on Tuesday. The FedEx ATP Head2Head is now level at 22-22, with the top-ranked Serb owning a 5-3 edge in their 2015 encounters.

"I'm obviously very proud to have these achievements with my team," said Djokovic during the trophy ceremony. "It's been a long season, but the best of my life. Without their support and my family, I wouldn't be where I am. I'm just trying to cherish every moment at this level. As a kid growing up, you dream to be at tournaments like this and fighting for the biggest trophies in sport." 

Djokovic, who improved to 18-1 at the Final Showdown over the course of his four straight title runs, won his 11th title of 2015 and 59th overall at the tour-level. He brings home $2,061,000 in prize money and 1,300 Emirates ATP Rankings points. The World No. 1, who also won the title in 2008 when the event was held in Shanghai, draws level with Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras as the second-most successful players in tournament history, behind only Federer's six crowns. He concludes the season with an 82-6 win-loss record and is now just 14 match victories from reaching 700 in his career.

"Against Roger it's very specific," Djokovic said in press. "You need to adjust to the tactics because of his game. He plays very quickly. He likes things to happen fast. He takes away the time from his opponent. He has so much variety in his game with slice, comes to the net, great serve, forehand, one of the best ever. He's very complete player. I know that he's always going to push you hard and try to protect the baseline, take away the time from you, which he was doing also today.

"I think what I managed to do better than what I've done in the last match we played in the group stage here was the fact that I was more solid from back of the court. I served well when I needed to. I got myself out of trouble. I returned more balls back than I did five days ago. I think that helped me to get into the rally. I always try to make him play one extra shot." 


Djokovic has compiled one of the best seasons in the history of the Emirates ATP Rankings (since 1973). Here is a look at the No. 1 players with the best match winning percentages since 1973:






John McEnroe





Jimmy Connors

 1974 93-4 .959 15

Roger Federer

 2005 81-4 .953 11

Roger Federer

 2006 92-5 .948 12 Bjorn Borg  1979

Novak Djokovic

 2015 82-6 .932 11

Roger Federer

 2004 74-6 .925 11

Ivan Lendl

 1986 74-6 .925  9 Ivan Lendl  1985 84-7 .923 11 Novak Djokovic  2011 70-6

Federer, meanwhile, was bidding for a historic seventh title at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and 89th overall. His season ends with the World No. 3 spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings, claiming 63 match wins and six titles from 11 finals - in Brisbane, Dubai, Istanbul, Halle, Basel and the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati. In 2016, he will continue his quest to pass Ivan Lendl (1071) for second place on the all-time match wins list, pulling to within 12 victories.

"It would have been nice to serve a little bit better early on in the match, play better overall on his second serve, because he does allow you to play on his second serve," said Federer. "Maybe at times I went for too much. The moments where I should have gone safe, I didn't, and vice versa. Those are the two regrets I have.

"If I played the match again, that is what I would try to do different. Other than that, I thought it was a good match. It was close. First six games were tough, to be down 4-2. I had my chances to at least be even. But I thought he played well. Still high-quality match, I thought."

Here is how the final was won...

FIRST SET - Djokovic 6-3
The key to Federer's success in their clash on Tuesday was his efficiency in neutralising Djokovic's first serve and peppering the World No. 1's forehand during baseline exchanges. Federer put the screws on Djokovic in goading 22 unforced errors to just 12 winners off the top seed's racquet, claiming 49 per cent of his rival's first serve points.

The Swiss was in prime position to continue the same trend on Sunday, but, after saving a break point in his first service game, Djokovic pounced on one of his own at 1-1. A Federer mid-rally forehand clipped the tape at 30/40 and he could not recover as Djokovic secured the opening break.

It did not take long for Federer to have another look at a break point. With Djokovic serving up 3-2, the Basel native launched a sublime backhand down the line winner to bring proceedings to deuce and earned his second break opportunity when the defending champion misfired wide on a forehand. But Djokovic clamped down as Federer's patience slipped, striking his seventh backhand unforced error to give his rival the hold for 4-2.

With Federer once again applying pressure on Djokovic's serve at 4-3 40/30, the Serb fired a leaping kick serve that pulled the Swiss off the court and followed it up with a rifled backhand winner down the line - a combination that has worked quite effectively for him over the years. Djokovic would secure the opening set a game later after 39 minutes, converting on his second set point.

SECOND SET - Djokovic 6-4
With football stars Thierry Henry and Olivier Giroud in attendance, Federer looked to draw level behind a quick break in the second set. A win would bring the Swiss back to World No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings and he was eager to take the early initiative. Two brilliant baseline winners - one backhand flick down-the-line and one off his forehand side -brought the score to 40/30 with Djokovic serving at 1-1, but once again Federer was unable to close the door. Contesting a single-season record 15th consecutive final, the World No. 1 remained steady.

A scintillating, angle-assaulting rally in the second point of the seventh game brought the fans out of their seats as Federer closed it out with beautiful touch at the net. Djokovic would once again hold three points later, with Federer hesitant to come forward and attack the net.

Djokovic's depth and weight of shot drove Federer off the baseline with the Swiss serving at 3-4. A 0/40 lead put him in significant danger, but Federer would reel off five straight points to hold behind a clutch serving display.

Djokovic had won 84 per cent of second serve points to Federer's 44 per cent through eight games in the second set, and he would not suffer a hangover from the slew of missed opportunities, holding to love for 5-4.

Djokovic again applied pressure on the Federer serve in the next game. A 34-shot rally won by the Serb resulted in a 0/30 lead. The Swiss had saved five of seven break points as they arrived at two match points at 15/40, but a double fault sealed Djokovic's place in season finale lore. He became the first player to win four consecutive championships at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals after 81 minutes. 

Infosys ATP Insights
In the eighth game of the second set, Federer fell behind 0/40, a point from which he has rallied to hold serve 37 percent of the time in 2015, according to Infosys ATP Insights. The six-time Finale champion dug deep and reeled off five straight points to level at 4-all. However, Federer came under pressure again in his next service game, falling behind 15/40. He saved the first championship point but then at 30/40 threw in a double fault. Infosys ATP Insights also show that Federer double faults on break point on average only once in 24 matches. More Infosys ATP Insights here.

Daniel Cracks Top 100 With Yokohama Crown

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 8:24am

Keio Challenger (Yokohama, Japan): Taro Daniel completed a career year with his third ATP Challenger Tour title, rallying past countryman Go Soeda 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday in Yokohama. One week after finishing runner-up to John Millman in nearby Kobe, the Japanese added to titles in Vercelli (Italy) and Furth (Germany). The 22 year old will enter the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time at World No. 93, joining Kei Nishikori as Japan’s lone members. Soeda, meanwhile, was bidding for his 18th title. He is currently third on the all-time list behind only Yen-Hsun Lu and Dudi Sela.

JSM Challenger of Champaign-Urbana (Champaign, U.S.A.): For the eighth time this year, an American teen featured in a final on the ATP Challenger Tour as Taylor Fritz battled Switzerland's Henri Laaksonen for the title on Saturday. The Rancho Santa Fe, California native, who took the Challenger circuit by storm last month in becoming the ninth player to win multiple titles before his 18th birthday, would surrender an early lead to the Swiss, losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 26 minutes. The youngest Challenger champion this year, Fritz has since turned 18 and is projected to rise to a career-high Top 200 spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings, becoming the second-highest ranked American teen.

Laaksonen fired 10 aces and converted on five of 12 break points to capture his maiden title. It was an impressive week for the 23 year old, who rallied from a set down in four consecutive matches, notching two wins in deciding tie-breaks. He is the first player from Switzerland to win a Challenger title since 2010, when Stan Wawrinka won in Lugano and Stephane Bohli in Recanati. The Finnish-born Laaksonen is also the 25th first-time champion this year.

“I had an amazing run here in the U.S.," he told broadcaster Mike Cation following the match. "I was lucky to win a few matches this week at 7-6 in the third, but especially today I played unbelievable.

“A few weeks ago when I lost to [Fritz], I lost pretty badly. He played well. Today, I was returning really well. I took his serve out and I put pressure on his second serve. I struggled earlier in the year, pushing the ball and running. Now I'm hitting through the ball and going for my shots.”

Trofeo Citta di Brescia (Brescia, Italy): Igor Sijsling turned in a dominant week in Brescia, not dropping a set en route to claiming his seventh ATP Challenger Tour crown and first since 2012. Having dropped two final decisions earlier this year, in Alphen (Netherlands) and Rennes (France), the Dutchman entered Saturday’s title match following wins over top seed Sergiy Stakhovsky, ATP Challenger Tour Finals contender Farrukh Dustov and home hope Luca Vanni. He would defeat Mirza Basic 6-4, 6-4 for the title.

Uruguay Open (Montevideo, Uruguay): The Uruguay Open hosted its 11th edition, with a final encounter set between a pair of players who have qualified for the season-ending ATP Challenger Tour Finals. Spain’s Inigo Cervantes and Argentina’s Guido Pella will be in Sao Paulo for the year-end championships, and they had one last matter of business to tend to on Sunday in Montevideo. Pella rallied for a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 win, notching his fourth title of the season. He joins Hyeon Chung and Paolo Lorenzi as title leaders, having toppled World No. 40 and home hope Pablo Cuevas earlier in the week. Cervantes secured his debut in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings with a run to the final.


— Guido Pella (@guido_pella) November 23, 2015

What The Players Said
Daniel: “I am very happy I won a tournament in Japan because I can only come to Japan once or twice. But, I am very glad many people have come to watch a Challenger match because no other country has this many people that come and watch us play.

"I would like to congratulate Soeda for playing very well this tournament. It was an honor being able to play with him in a Challenger final, because I respected him since I was playing in the juniors. I am looking forward to play with him again."

Sijsling: “In the beginning of the year I was struggling with my game. I didn't play so many matches, wasn't so confident and every match was little more difficult. I didn't gain many points. Now I try to finish well: two finals and one title is a good start for next year.

“Dutch tennis is ok, but it was better before with Richard Kraijcek and Jan Siemerink in the Top 20. Eltingh-Haarhuis were No. 1 in doubles. It's not easy to be in their footsteps. Now there are Robin Haase and Thiemo De Bakker inside the Top 100 and I'm trying to get back but it's tough. There are lots of players hungry to be above you. The level of the sport is good.

“I don't know if is the beginning of a new career, but for sure it is the right way to finish the year. To win a tournament is always difficult. My goal for 2016 is to come back to the Top 100.”

The 2015 ATP Challenger Tour season comes to a close with three tournaments on three continents. The elite eight of Guido Pella, Inigo Cervantes, Farrukh Dustov, Paolo Lorenzi, Daniel Munoz-de la Nava, Marco Cecchinato, Radu Albot and Guilherme Clezar make the trip to Sao Paulo for the year-end championships – the ATP Challenger Tour Finals. Clezar reached the final last year, while Pella was the champion in 2012.

Year-end Top 100 spots in the Emirates ATP Rankings are up for grabs in Toyota and Andria. In Toyota, top seed and World No. 103 Matthew Ebden looks to close his campaign with a third title of the year and second in the Japanese city (2013). Fourth seed Go Soeda is the defending champion. In Andria, Italy, World No. 104 and last year’s runner-up Nikoloz Basilashvili leads the field. 2013 titlist Marton Fucsovics is unseeded.

Tecau/Rojer Capture Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Doubles Title

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 7:43am

Horia Tecau and Jean-Julien Rojer completed a memorable week at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday when they captured the title, less than 24 hours after they had clinched year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings.

Second seeds Rojer and Tecau defeated eighth seeds Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea 6-4, 6-3 for their 11th team title, and third of the year that includes their maiden Grand Slam at Wimbledon (d. J. Murray-Peers). The duo ends the season with a 48-21 match record.

It's such a nice event, a big tournament, a big prize to win at the end of the year," said Rojer. "It's just a culmination of the whole year. I think we had a good year together."

Rojer and Tecau are the first doubles team to win the season finale without losing a set since round-robin play began in 1986. 

Despite hitting two aces, Bopanna dropped his serve to 30 in the opening game that was the only break in the 31-minute opener. Though Tecau saved two break points, including a deciding deuce point, at 3-2.

Bopanna came under pressure against at 2-2, losing his serve to 15 and lost his serve for a third time, as a confident Rojer and Tecau broke to love in the final game.

Other than Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, Rojer and Tecau became the first team to finish in top spot since Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic in 2008.

"We managed to win our first Grand Slam this year [and] we managed to finish the year No. 1," said Tecau. "Our main focus is still on improving the team. Whatever comes after will come. That's what we've been doing so far, just working on our game, talking a lot. We communicate very well. We have a very open relationship. We can tell each other everything. That helps a lot in this sport."

Bopanna and Mergea first teamed up at Casablanca in April and end the year with a 31-16 record, including two titles from four finals.

"It was just a tough day today," said Bopanna. "But it's been a great week, making it to the final, first-time outing for us as a team. And for the season, starting out in April, playing just about a handful of tournaments and to qualify here, I think it's been a fantastic year for us. We can take a lot of positives from this year, and we are looking forward to starting fresh in January.

Mergea added, "It's a pleasure to play in the [Barclays ATP] World Tour Finals title match. Obviously, this has been the first time two Romanians played the doubles final here. I think it's an historic day for us."

The championship was watched by a capacity crowd of 17,500, including the inaugural year-end championships winner (1970) Stan Stan, four-time former titlist Ilie Nastase and 1976 champion Manuel Orantes, who are at The O2 with other players from the 1970s as part of The Finals Club.

ATP World Tour, Emirates Announce Partnership

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 6:40am

The ATP and Emirates announced a new partnership on Sunday that will see the award winning airline elevate its status to the Premier Partner of the ATP World Tour from 2016. The five-year agreement represents the biggest sponsorship deal in the history of the ATP.

As Official Airline and Premier Partner of the ATP World Tour, Emirates will benefit from global marketing rights delivering a powerful and consistent presence via the Tour’s iconic net branding at approximately 60 tournaments worldwide to reach a cumulative broadcast audience in excess of 800 million. The partnership also provides a platform across the tournaments to experience Emirates’ unrivaled hospitality and will see extensive activation through the Tour’s official website, the No.1 tennis portal in the world with over 325 million visits a year.

"It says a lot about where we are as a sport that an industry leader in Emirates, such a highly regarded and well established player in the sports marketing world, has chosen to further increase its presence and association with the ATP World Tour,” said Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President. “The partnership provides a long term commitment and a true vote of confidence for the future health of our sport. We look forward to continuing and developing the successful partnership we have built over the years.”

“Emirates is pleased to enhance its partnership with the ATP World Tour,” said Boutros Boutros, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand. “For Emirates, the global reach offered by sponsoring the ATP World Tour affords us the opportunity to connect and engage with millions of tennis fans around the globe. Emirates offers direct flights to nearly 90 percent of the 32 countries visited by the ATP World Tour making this partnership particularly relevant for our customers. Tennis truly is an international sport and it is our own appreciation of this sport that has been the catalyst behind our growing tennis sponsorship portfolio."

In 2016, the ATP World Tour will unfold across 62 tournaments in 31 countries in six continents. With 4.3 million fans attending on-site and more than 880 million dedicated TV viewers across the season, the Tour has attracted record audiences in recent years. The 2015 ATP World Tour season, culminating today at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 in London, is set to hit an all-time annual attendance record.

Emirates has been a Platinum partner of the ATP World Tour since 2013, as well as title sponsor of the Emirates ATP Rankings. Today’s announcement sees Emirates replace Corona as the Tour’s Premier Partner following the expiration of the agreement with the Mexican beer brand at the end of this year.

ATP Celebrates Finals Club Players From 1970s

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 5:31am
Former players from the 1970s involved in the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals were welcomed to The O2 this weekend.

Pella Wins 2015 Montevideo Challenger Title

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 5:09am
Watch highlights of the Uruguay Open, where Guido Pella won his fourth ATP Challenger Tour title of 2015. Video courtesy of Uruguay Open.

Coric Returns To The O2 One Year On

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 5:09am
One year on from being named the Emirates ATP Star of Tomorrow, Borna Coric returns to The O2 and chats about the progress he's made to reach the Top 40.

Djokovic Wins Federer Showdown 2015 London Highlights

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 4:45am
Watch highlights as Novak Djokovic caps off a historic season at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Watch live tennis at

Djokovic Victory Lap At Barclays ATP World Tour Finals

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 2:00am
Follow Novak Djokovic as he celebrates his fourth consecutive year-end title.

Brain Game: Federer's Tactical Change

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 1:37am

Roger Federer is our sport’s most colourful chameleon. His adaptive skills were on full display Saturday night in his 7-5, 6-3 victory over Stan Wawrinka, to move through to the final of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.

Federer is a master of every tactical maneuver, equally adept at staying back, coming forward, altering spin and power, managing time, and possessing the uncanny ability to “feel” what the court, the ball, the conditions and the opponent provide him.

Federer only came to the net nine times (winning six) against World No. 1, Novak Djokovic, earlier in the week, simply because he calculated that heavy groundstrokes were the best pathway to secure victory in that moment, on that night.

Last night against Wawrinka, he strategically changed his colours, swarming the net in an effort to blunt his opponent’s thumping groundstroke speed.

Federer came forward to the net 32 times against Wawrinka, playing only one extra game against his Swiss opponent than Djokovic.

Federer won an extremely high 75 per cent (24/32) at the net, pressuring Wawrinka with his court position, and rushing Wawrinka’s groundstroke preparation. Wawrinka only managed to get to the net three times for the whole match, highlighting just how dominant Federer was at owning the front of the court.

Infosys Match Insights uncovered a hidden strength of Federer’s forward movement - getting closer to the net to create more angle for the volley, and visually shrinking the court for the opponent’s passing shot.

Federer hit 27 volleys for match, mixing in serve and volley and approach plays, and amazingly only hit two volleys standing behind the service line. That’s a remarkable discovery, and you can only imagine how difficult he is to pass from such perfect court position.

Federer’s serve is a great enabler of his forward movement, as it continually elicits short balls for him to devour.

Federer hit 100 shots as the first shot after his serve, with 66 of them being struck inside the baseline, 33 within two metres behind the baseline, and just a lonely one further back than two metres behind the baseline.

When returning, it was a tougher ask to immediately move forward, as he had to initially negate the strength of Wawrinka’s powerful serve, and thumping first groundstroke. Federer made contact with the ball 22 times inside the baseline with his first shot after the return, 51 times within two metres of the baseline, and 27 times more than two metres back.

Once a rally was established, Federer hit 53 per cent forehands for the match and 47 per cent backhands, better than Wawrinka’s even 50/50 ratio.

But a deeper look at Wawrinka’s forehand performance uncovered that he only hit 11 run-around forehands standing in the Ad court for the match, which is normally a primary baseline strategy.

Wawrinka Return Location

The pressure of Federer’s constant forays forward forced Wawrinka to drastically alter his return location, but all it did was simply take him out of his comfort zone.

Federer won 76 per cent (31/41) of his first serve points, and an extremely high 65 per cent (15/23) of second serve points.

Against Rafael Nadal in the round robin draw, Wawrinka averaged standing 2.95 metres (9.7 feet) behind the baseline to return second serves, but he was only 27 centimetres (0.9 feet) behind the baseline against Federer.

Wawrinka was forced to move forward and take the second serve return earlier to try and immediately get the ball down to Federer’s feet, or rebound it deep near the baseline with the threat of an imminent net attack.

Federer averaged standing 1.4 metres (4.6 feet) inside the baseline returning Wawrinka’s serve, successfully pressuring Wawrinka into only winning a lowly 42 per cent (10/24) in this key tactical arm wrestle.

Federer will now play Djokovic in this afternoon’s final, and the tactics that worked earlier in the week may have to be drastically altered to defeat the World No. 1 on Sunday. Fortunately, Federer is ready to change colours in the blink of an eye.

Djokovic Reflects On 2015 London Victory

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 12:55am
Novak Djokovic closes out the year with a win over Roger Federer.

Federer Fan Surprise

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 12:54am
A lucky fan at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals received the opportunity of a lifetime: an hour with Roger Federer.

Best Hot Shots Of London 2015

Mon, 23/11/2015 - 12:52am
Relive the excitement of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with some stunning points from Djokovic, Federer, Wawrinka and Nadal. Watch live tennis at