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Roger Federer was honoured in a special ceremony on opening night at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, receiving his two trophies in the 2015 ATP World Tour Awards Presented By Moët & Chandon.
"I enjoy getting awards, especially the ones voted on by the fans and my fellow players," said Federer. "It's a very nice moment once again in my career. I try to do it with style and of course I play hard with everything. You guys give it the respect and it's very nice. Many other players deserve the awards as well and I'm very much aware that there are many other good guys out there. That's why I'm still playing the game.
"I'd like to thank the fans for voting and cheering for me, and coming out not just for my matches. Keep doing that in the future. This is one of the greatest tournaments we have on tour and I hope you enjoy today's matches and I see you next year and following year and the following year and many more years."
Following his straight-set win over World No. 6 Tomas Berdych, Federer’s coach and childhood idol Stefan Edberg stepped onto the court at The O2 to present the Swiss with the trophy named in his honour, the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award. Federer had been voted by fellow players as the winner for an 11th season, and received the trophy from Edberg himself for the second year in a row. Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Kevin Anderson were also nominated in this category.
Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman and President then presented Federer with the trophy as ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite Presented By Moët & Chandon. He received 65 per cent of all votes cast online by fans, extending his record winning streak to a 13th straight year. Rafael Nadal finished in second, followed by Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori.
Since 2003, Federer has won a record 31 ATP World Tour Awards.
Six-time champion Roger Federer kicked off his Barclays ATP World Tour Finals campaign in strong fashion, streaking past Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday night to open their London quests.
Federer claimed his 49th match win at the season finale, which he is competing at for a record 14th consecutive year. He will next face top seed Novak Djokovic in a clash between Sunday's Group Stan Smith winners.
Berdych won seven of the first eight points to take a 2-0 lead, before Federer regrouped to work his way back into their 21st meeting. The Swiss broke Berdych to love, then could not convert two break point opportunities in the fifth game. Berdych dropped his serve to love in the ninth game and Federer calmly closed out the opener 6-4.
"Clearly it was not the best start," said Federer. "It was a bad start. One of the worst starts I've had in years. No first serves, two double faults, nothing coming from the baseline. It was rough."
The World No. 3 kept his foot on the gas in the second set, breaking immediately for 1-0 and once again in the third game. He countered the Czech's aggressive start with an attacking finish of his own, closing out the win after 70 minutes. Federer struck a jaw-dropping eight drop shot winners and converted four of six break chances.
"Thankfully I was able to pick it up. The surface does play slow here. If you get to see too many second serves, clearly you can crawl back into the match. You can get your chances from the baseline to find rhythm quickly.
"It's hard to blast through an opponent here in London, which I think helps for me now against Berdych in this case because I can make the match athletic. As the match went on, I definitely started to play better, started to serve better. I think what I underestimated a little bit in some ways was that it was a first round. I think I was playing very well in practice. I had a very good idea with Severin and Stefan how I should play the match.
"It was a good lesson for me to learn. But now I'm in the second round, so that's a good thing."November 15, 2015
Federer completed his fourth consecutive match win over Berdych, extending his overall record to 15-6 in the FedEx ATP Head2Head. He is 3-0 in 2015, adding to victories at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Rome.
As you watch some of the greatest players of all time compete this year at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, stepping out from their personal locker rooms, through dry ice and into the spotlight of The O2 arena, I am honoured to be joining you and many of my fellow competitors from the 1970s in the gallery. As we marvel at the performances of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, I will also reflect on the incredible growth of men’s professional tennis and reminisce with rivals turned friends. The ATP is celebrating its heritage this week, by connecting the champions of the past, with those current and future stars, through the establishment of the Finals Club; an elite group of players, who have competed at the year-end championships, over the past 45 years.
In early December 1970, aged 24, and on the eve of being called up to the U.S. Army, I travelled to Tokyo for the conclusion of the Grand Prix circuit, the Pepsi-Cola Masters, the cherry on top of the cake for the year’s six leading players. It was all thanks to one man, Jack Kramer, the great champion, pro tour leader and most influential person in the game for more than 60 years.
At a time of enormous political struggle and upheaval, when rival circuit promoters looked to sign the very best players, the power-broker flicked through his contacts book in an attempt to bring the sport together; solidify the game and make the decision to switch to Open tennis pay off. Kramer, who wanted to give every player an opportunity to earn a decent living, not just a select few, had formed the idea of a year-end championship in late September 1969. But it was not until 10 months later that an organising committee - including Derek Hardwick, the chairman of the International Lawn Tennis Federation's calendar committee - was formed, and a title sponsor, Pepsi-Cola, found.
One month after the start of the 20-tournament Grand Prix circuit had begun, shortly prior to Roland Garros in May 1970, Kramer finalised an agreement with Yoshio Aoyama, a promoter of international artists, to bring professional tennis players to Tokyo. The great champions had taken part in head-to-head tours in Asia since the 1930s. But now, with Kramer's influence, there was to be a first top-level officially sanctioned tournament. The BBC agreed to finance the total television coverage, which was broadcast by Fuji Television in Japan.
Tokyo was the only really super metropolis city, which had a great deal of sporting interest. Other big cities had their fill of tennis, but Asia was a developing market. The city had an available building, the Metropolitan Gymnasium, a venue for the 1964 Olympics, and the format and also the conditions of the prize money breakdown, were agreeable to all of the participants. There was six of us, initially, in the first year, but later the number increased to eight players in 1972, shortly after the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) was formed at Forest Hills, the former venue of the US Open, in New York City. Kramer, naturally, was one of the founders and its first Executive Director.
Some of my rivals who had arrived in Japan, went on a whistle stop tour of Sapporo and Kyoto to play exhibition matches. But by the time Cliff Richey, who had on the Pepsi-Cola ILTF Grand Prix bonus pool - the forerunner of the Emirates ATP Race To London - the week before in Stockholm, arrived in the capital city, he was a spent force. Having played 40 weeks that year, he slept for 17 hours a day, and visited a doctor who thought he had hepatitis. He was simply exhausted and returned home to Dallas. John Newcombe was called for, but Jan Kodes ultimately stepped in to make up the elite group.
On the eve of the championship, I remember standing alongside Ashe Ashe, Zeljko Franulovic, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall and Kodes in the lobby of Hotel Okura, listening to Kramer and the President of Pepsi-Cola Japan, Russ Mooney, sat with the flags of the United States, Australia, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia behind them. None of us realised that it was the start of something special.
By day, some of us trained on the clay courts of the Tokyo Lawn Tennis Club, the second oldest club in Japan. At night, the Metropolitan Gymnasium - scene of our battles - came alive, with attendance figures increasing each day courtesy of newspaper publicity and the visits of Her Imperial Highness Princess Chichibu. Trestle tables and fold-up chairs lined each side of the rubberised court, which was connected together and set in the middle of the cavernous arena. It really did seem like a throw-back to the pro tours, which Kramer had organised since the early 1950s and had ended when the sport went Open in May 1968.
Many of the Japanese spectators, geared up to baseball and the home run, delighted in watching us hit big serves and the short points on the lightning fast surface. They also froze in the cold of mid-December, with only blankets, fur coats and scarves to keep them warm. The venue didn't have any heating and we changed in a dark, white-washed locker room, with only a gas heater to keep our muscles from seizing up as we prepared to go out onto the court. The spectators must have felt like they were sitting in a refrigerator during the night matches.
Kramer opted to use the slower of two Wilson balls, but, in the best shape of my life, I used my slice serve to great effect in the deuce court and moved with great fluency.
On 14 December, I played Rosewall in my penultimate match; whoever won clinched the title. It was also my 24th birthday. As I served for the match, the court came apart. ‘Muscles’, who was initially thought best suited to the slower ball and coolness of the building, wouldn’t continue until the court was fixed. We endured a 20-minute wait in the cold locker room, until it was glued back together. I went on to win 6-4, 6-5, when a nine-point tie-break was played at 5-5, with a sudden death point at four-all. Afterwards, Kramer came on and led around 10,000 fans in a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’; I also received a paddle tennis bat and a bouquet of flowers.
I lost my final match to Ashe, my doubles partner that week, in a third set tie-break the next day. But having finished on a 4-1 record, identical to Laver, I knew I had earned the title by virtue of beating the ‘Rocket’ 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 earlier in the week. I received a cheque for $15,000, a fortune at the time; a bottle of Pepsi-Cola, but no trophy. The win established myself as perhaps the most dangerous of all players to Laver, Newcombe and Rosewall for 1971, when I reached the Wimbledon and US Open finals. Yet, I didn’t have any time to celebrate my Masters title as earlier in the week I had learned that my draft number had come up. I left the stadium at midnight and needed to appear in Los Angeles, at 9 a.m., the next day, on 16 December. It was a rush to get back.
It’s incredible to think back to those halcyon days in December 1970, our visit to the Imperial Palace, and the first Grand Prix circuit, when I finished fifth overall behind Richey, Ashe, Rosewall and Laver. Just like my adidas Stan Smith shoes, that were developed the following year, I didn’t know it would still be around today.
With the likes of Ashe, Laver, Ilie Nastase and Rosewall appearing in the early years, you sensed a very special atmosphere of a big event and the year-end championships subsequently developed at Madison Square Gardens in New York City, Frankfurt, Hanover, Lisbon, Sydney, Houston, Shanghai and at The O2 in London. I’ll forever remember the cold conditions of 9-15 December 1970 and be proud to have won the very first singles and doubles event in Tokyo. I remember too, Jack Kramer; he was the inspiration.
Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea downed No. 1 seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in their opening match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday. The eighth-ranked team needed exactly one hour to secure the 6-4, 6-3 victory.
Despite playing in serve-friendly indoor conditions at the O2 Arena in London, the outcome of the match was decided the winning team’s return quality. The Bryans drew first blood by breaking Bopanna/Mergea in the second game on the match, starting a run which saw the returning team claim five of six service games. The latters snapped the streak by saving three break points and holding for a 5-3 lead, before serving out the set two games later.
Bopanna/Mergea kept up the pressure at the start of the second set, winning a deciding point on the Bryans’ serve to move ahead for good. In total, they were five-for-11 on break points during the match while the Bryans were two-for-seven. Both teams had split meetings earlier in the year, with the Indian-Romanian tandem winning in the Wimbledon quarter-finals and the American twins striking back in the semi-finals in Washington, D.C.
With a 1-0 record, Bopanna/Mergea join Jamie Murray and John Peers at the top of the Group Ashe/Smith tables.
Novak Djokovic kicked off his title defence at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in dominant fashion, racing through a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Kei Nishikori. Following the match, the Serb was honoured as year-end ATP World Tour No. 1 presented by Emirates for the fourth time in five years. Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman and President, presented Djokovic with the trophy in an on-court ceremony.
"Undoubtedly it has been the best season, the best year, of my life," said Djokovic. "I have been experiencing the most of my abilities in my tennis game. Everything has come together over the years and I've been very consistent with my results. 2011 and 2015 definitely stand out and I look back with great pride and joy. My team definitely play a big part in this. They help me each and every day to get better as a player and a person. Of course my wife and my son Stefan, my parents and brothers and the closest people in my life sacrifice a lot and I try to cherish every moment. This is the crown for all the achievements in the season."
The 28 year old has become the sixth player to clinch the year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking on four or more occasions, following in the footsteps of Pete Sampras (six years), Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer (five years), Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe (four years). Djokovic, who began his third stint at World No. 1 on 7 July 2014, has been No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for 172 weeks. Only Federer (302), Sampras (286), Lendl (270) and Connors (268) have spent more weeks at No. 1 since 1973.
In 2015, Djokovic reached all four Grand Slams finals (3-1 record), eight ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament finals, winning titles in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte-Carlo, Rome, Shanghai and Paris. He also lifted the Beijing trophy among 14 finals. With a 79-5 match record, it is the sixth time in eight years he has reached at least 70 wins in a season. Bidding to claim his fourth straight Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title, he's now won 15 consecutive matches at the season finale.
Pulled wide to his forehand side, Novak Djokovic would not be denied, striking a sublime hot shot in his Barclays ATP World Tour Finals opener. Watch live matches on www.TennisTV.com
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic recorded his 79th match win of a glittering season on Sunday at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
Djokovic notched his 15th straight win at the season finale - a record in the 45-year history of the prestigious tournament - with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over eighth seed Kei Nishikori in 65 minutes in their Group Stan Smith.
"I think I was at my best," said Djokovic. "Undoubtedly it's been an incredible performance that I was hoping I can have coming into the match, coming into this tournament where I've had a great record in last couple of years. Reflecting back on those memories of course gives me more confidence, more comfort coming into every single match.
"Today I've had for an opponent one of the quickest tennis players, somebody that possesses a lot of talent and loves to play aggressively. But I didn't allow him to dictate the play. I mixed up the pace. I was feeling very comfortable on the court, feeling like I could get most of the balls back. I served efficiently. I mixed up the second serves as well. Didn't give him the same look twice. I always tried to change it. The tactics worked very well."
Djokovic broke Nishikori's serve on his third opportunity in the second game and could have taken a 4-0 lead in the opener, but the Japanese star dug in. Djokovic broke once more for a 5-1 lead.
He won five straight games through to 2-0 in the second set, before Nishikori held serve to 30 in the third game. Two further breaks at 3-1 and 5-1 ensured Djokovic got off to a winning start in his quest for a fifth title.
Djokovic is 79-5 overall on the season, highlighted by 10 titles from 14 finals. He has finished year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on four occasions in the past five years.
Prior to the pair's seventh meeting, Djokovic, Nishikori and the capacity crowd at The O2 in London observed a one minute's silence as a mark of respect for the victims of the tragic events in Paris on Friday night.
"Today I couldn't do anything," Nishikori said. "Even at the start of the match, it was half my fault, because I didn't make any first serves. He was attacking my second serves too. I was playing defence all the time.
"But he played great defence so many times where I usually hit the winner or I get the point. He also made me run side to side. I didn't feel any chance today... I hope I can keep it up for the next one."
Jamie Murray and John Peers claim the decisive mini-break in edging Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini on Sunday at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Watch live matches on www.TennisTV.com
Jamie Murray and John Peers kept alive their chances in the battle to become year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Sunday when they won their Group Ashe/Smith opener at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
The fourth seeds held their nerves in the Match tie-break to beat fifth-seed Italian Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini 7-6(5), 3-6, 11-9 in one hour and 42 minutes.
"It was a great match, a really exciting match," said Murray. "I think both teams played well. It came down to a couple of points right at the end. We're really happy to win. We'll have to maintain that level we played today if we want any chance to win the trophy."
"It's always handy having the crowd on your side in a stadium like this," said Peers. "It makes a little bit of difference, I felt, at the end."
Fognini and Bolelli survived two break points in the second game and a deciding point deuce on Bolelli's serve at 4-5, when the Italian rifled a forehand winner down the line. However, Bolelli struck a double fault at 5/5 in the tie-break to hand Murray and Peers the advantage.
The Italians regrouped by taking a 3-0 lead in the second set, but Murray and Peers worked their way back to 3-4. Peers lost his serve on a deciding deuce point in the eighth game. Murray and Peers could not convert their first match point opportunity at 9/8 in the Match tie-break.
Murray and Peers (5,095) are currently fourth in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings, behind No. 3-ranked Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo (6,140), No. 2 Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau (6,400) and No. 1 pair Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan (6,465).
Bolelli and Fognini, this year's Australian Open champions, are the first all-Italian pair to qualify for the year-end championships (since 1970). There are five first-time pairs competing at the season finale this year.
Jamie Murray and John Peers win their opening match in London.
Novak Djokovic talks about closing out 2015 as the top player in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are in action on Day 1 of the 2015 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Watch live matches on www.TennisTV.com
Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea talk about their win over the Bryan brothers on Sunday.
Watch highlights as Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer prevail in their opening matches. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
John Isner gives his take on what makes Novak Djokovic so hard to beat.
Roger Federer talks about his match against Tomas Berdych. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and David Ferrer are set to kick off their Barclays ATP World Tour campaigns.
Watch Hot Shot as Roger Federer mixes it up in his opening match. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
A look at the hard-working ballkids at the Barclay ATP World Tour Finals.
Watch highlights as Jamie Murray and John Peers are victorious on Sunday. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.