Alas! The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals is upon us and all roads lead to the O2 Arena in London as the top 8 tennis players in the world battle it out for the right to win their last ATP tournament of the year.
Swiss number 2 Stanislas Wawrinka and world number 5 Tomas Berdych were the first players to battle it out in the arena, with the Swiss man beating 6ft 5 Berdych 6-3, 6-7(0), 6-3 in the Group A opener. Wawrinka, who is making his debut at the prestigious tournament is having possibly his best season as he beat his big hitting opponent for the third successive time this year.
It was his 50th match win of a career-best season, which includes 1-3 record in ATP World Tour finals.
"My first impression is that it is really, really nice to be here," said Wawrinka. "I saw the tournament so many times on TV. To play was something different. For sure, it’s special to win my first match here. I feel really proud to be here. It means [that] I'm playing amazing tennis, especially all the year.
"I'm really happy the way I'm playing against [Berdych]. I was nervous on the court, but he was nervous too."
Berdych who is competing for the fourth year in a row, has lost his opening match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for four straight years. (Novak Djokovic in 2010-11, Andy Murray last year).
"Losing is not a good start," said Berdych. "But there are still two other matches to go. It was a very close game again. Stan was better in actually like executing the chances. He had four break points, make two. I had five, make zero. I think that's been really a big difference today."
Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer also compete in Group A.
In the second match of the day, Grand Slam winner Juan Martin Del Potro came from a set down to record a 6-7(4) 6-3 7-5 win against French numero uno Richard Gasquet in 2 hrs 23 mins..
In front of a near-capacity crowd of around 17,000, the Argentine took his record since the US Open to 16 wins in 18 matches.
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer meet in the same group tomorrow.
"Hopefully I can beat them [Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer] but it's going to be really tough for me. I don't have anything to lose against them," said Del Potro as he looked ahead to his remaining Group B matches against Djokovic and Federer.
"Richard has an unbelievable backhand and he is a good fighter. This tournament means a lot to me. In the end, I played solid."
Before the tournament started Roger Federer received three honours in the 2013 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon, while Rafael Nadal won Comeback Player of the Year and can clinch the ATP World Tour No. 1 presented by Emirates award at this week’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
Federer has been selected by his peers as winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for a ninth time and by fans as the ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for an 11th straight year. In addition, the 32-year-old Swiss has been named the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year for a second time in recognition of his foundation’s support of children in Africa and Switzerland. Since 2003, Federer has won a record total of 27 ATP World Tour Awards.
As winner of Comeback Player of the Year, Nadal becomes the first to clinch awards in all the player-voted categories. The 27-year-old Spaniard won Newcomer in 2003, Most Improved in 2005 and Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship in 2010. He was also awarded as the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian in 2011 and can claim ATP World Tour No. 1 presented by Emirates for a third time (2008, 2010) this week in London. Novak Djokovic kept his hopes alive in the battle for the year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking with his triumph at the BNP Paribas Masters title on Sunday.
Americans Bob and Mike Bryan sweep the doubles awards for a fifth straight year, taking home ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team presented by Emirates and ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a record ninth time each.
2013 ATP WORLD TOUR AWARDS presented by Moët & Chandon
ATP World Tour No. 1 presented by Emirates
(determined by Emirates ATP Rankings)
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will battle for the year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking at this week’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Both players are two-time winners of ATP World Tour No. 1 presented by Emirates, with Nadal claiming the honours in 2008 and 2010 and Djokovic in 2011-12.
ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team presented by Emirates
(determined by Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings)
Bob and Mike Bryan: The Americans will finish as the No. 1 duo in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings for a fifth successive year and record ninth time overall (2003, '05-07, '09-13). The 35-year-old twins guaranteed their year-end No. 1 ranking on 19 August, the earliest clinch by a doubles team. The Bryans won their 11th title of the season on Sunday at the BNP Paribas Masters, their fifth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy of 2013. They won the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon – making them the first team to hold all four majors and the Olympic gold medal at the same time – and ended up just shy of completing the calendar-year Grand Slam with a loss in the US Open semi-finals.
Most Improved Player of the Year
(voted by ATP players)
Pablo Carreno Busta: The Spaniard climbed from a year-end No. 715 Emirates ATP Ranking last season to a career-high No. 66 in 2013, beginning with an impressive effort on the Futures circuit that saw him win 35 straight matches and seven titles from eight finals. As a qualifier on the ATP World Tour, he recorded his first tour-level win in Casablanca, reached the Oeiras semi-finals and made his Grand Slam debut at Roland Garros. The 22 year old also excelled on the ATP Challenger Tour, going 4-0 in finals.
Comeback Player of the Year
(voted by ATP players)
Rafael Nadal: After being sidelined for seven months with a left knee injury, the Spaniard made his return this past February and advanced to nine straight finals to start the season – reaching 13 total from 16 tournament appearances in 2013. Among his 10 titles, Nadal claimed his eighth Roland Garros crown, his second US Open championship, and a record-tying five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies in a single season. He also went undefeated on hard courts (26-0) through the Beijing final, when he finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic. Despite the loss, Nadal – who began the season at No. 4 in the Emirates ATP Rankings – overtook the Serbian at the top on 7 October.
Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award
(voted by ATP players)
Roger Federer: Fellow players voted the Swiss as the winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the ninth time and third year in a row. He also won the award six straight years from 2004-09. Juan Martin del Potro, David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal were also nominated in this category.
Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year
(awarded by ATP)
Roger Federer: The 32 year old becomes just the third person to be named the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year for a second time, joining Andre Agassi and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi. Federer, who previously received the award in 2006, supports children in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, South Africa and Ethiopia and his native Switzerland through the Roger Federer Foundation, established in 2003. This past February, Federer visited the Hlukani and Govhu crèches in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, which have been supported by Foundation partner READ Educational Trust since 2010.
ATPWorldTour.com Fans' presented by Moët & Chandon (Singles)
(voted by fans)
Roger Federer: The Swiss has been voted ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a record 11th straight year, receiving 56 per cent of all votes cast. Rafael Nadal finished second, followed by Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro.
ATPWorldTour.com Fans' Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon (Doubles)
(voted by fans)
Bob and Mike Bryan: The Bryan twins received 43 per cent of votes to be named the ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a record ninth time. Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek came in as the second most popular duo, followed by Julien Benneteau and Nenad Zimonjic.