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Next Gen ATP Finals Announced In Milan 2017

Sun, 11/20/2016 - 1:35pm
The ATP announces that Milan, Italy, will host a new ATP tournament featuring the world’s top 21-and-Under singles players of the ATP World Tour season.

Murray Sticks To His Plan Under Pressure In London

Sun, 11/20/2016 - 12:51pm

Andy Murray moved through to the final of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with a scintillating 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(9) victory at The O2 on Saturday, and a snapshot of just one point from the third-set tie-break provides an overview of how a broad strategic plan plays out at a critical moment in time.

Third Set Tie-Break 5/5: Murray Serving

For the match, Murray served 72 per cent out wide in the deuce court, 23 per cent down the middle T, and just five per cent at the body. On this huge deuce court point, the Brit stuck with his favorite slice location out wide, even though it was to Raonic’s more potent forehand wing.

The serve offered Murray an excellent chance to follow up the initial blow with a “Serve +1” forehand, which he did. For the match, Murray hit 77 per cent forehands as his first shot after a first serve, and 66 per cent behind a second serve. The serve followed by a forehand is one of our sport’s most influential tactics.

As to script, Murray served out wide and immediately got a forehand after a solid return from Raonic. Murray hit six forehands and two backhands in total for the point, all focused on moving Raonic side to side and keeping him back. Murray constantly tried to keep the tall Canadian as off balance as possible, preventing Raonic from getting squarely set behind the ball and crushing it.

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Tennis is very much a cross-court sport, but Murray atypically hit his forehand more down the line in this match than cross-court – 53 per cent down the line, 47 per cent cross-court. Murray wanted to move Raonic, where less balance equals less power, and the errors can flow more freely.

Raonic’s average forehand speed for the match was 75 mph, substantially faster than Murray’s 70 mph. There is a saying in tennis that big shots go to big targets, and Raonic followed that rule well, hitting his forehand 58 per cent of the time cross-court, where the landing area is greater, and 42 per cent down the line.

The average rally length for the match was five shots, with Murray’s main goal to keep Raonic going left and right much as much as possible. Raonic did all he could to counter Murray’s tactics by steadfastly committing to the net, coming in a massive 61 times and winning 67 per cent of those points (41/61).

Raonic made contact with the ball 30 per cent of the time from inside the baseline (Murray, 25 per cent), but 25 per cent of the time, Raonic was deeper than two metres behind the baseline, which was slightly more than Murray’s 23 per cent.

Murray took the honours with the battle of the backhands, but Raonic's backhand was serviceable with a variety of deft slices, driving through the ball and also blocking well on return of serve. Murray’s average backhand speed was 62 mph, slightly ahead of Raonic’s 59 mph. Both players hit 57 per cent of their backhands cross-court and 43 per cent down the line.

A metric that clearly shows Raonic’s improvement from the back of the court was his superiority in the extended rallies of 10 shots or longer, where he held a 16-14 advantage.

At 5/5 in the tie-break, Raonic missed his last forehand down the line, and he missed a similar forehand on match point to lose the match. Both shots were born of smart strategy of matching up a forehand approach against a backhand pass. They just needed slightly better execution.

Infosys And ATP Partnership Nets Five Awards In 2016

Sun, 11/20/2016 - 12:38pm

The ATP and Infosys (NYSE: INFY), a global leader in consulting, technology, outsourcing and next-generation services, were awarded five marketing and innovation awards following the launch of a successful strategic technology partnership.

By leveraging the capabilities of the Infosys Information Platform (IIP) to create content such as Beyond the Numbers, a unique analytics series that deep dives into player performance and the ATP Stats LEADERBOARDS, a new statistical way to measure the best performing ATP World Tour players released earlier in the year, the partnership received awards in the following categories:

  • Strategic Technology Partnership’ presented by Aecus Innovation, an award-winning European consulting firm that recognizes businesses that use innovation to create value for their customers by doing things differently.
  • Best Corporate Film for the Infosys Information Platform solution for ATP at the Big Bang Awards, hosted by The Advertising Club, Bangalore, India. An award that promotes excellence in  Communication and Media
  • Paragon awards in the category of ‘Imagination: Rewarding creativity and entrepreneurial spirit in helping organizations future-proof businesses and better serve customers’ presented by Information Services Group (ISG), a leading technology insights, market intelligence and advisory services company.
  • Masters of Marketing award in the Sponsorship and Partner Marketing category’ presented during the prestigious Festival of Marketing held in London.
  • Next Generation Customer Experience’ presented by Constellation Research, a strategic advisory and futurist analyst firm based in Silicon Valley.
  • "We have been very fortunate to work with such an engaged and collaborative partner in Infosys,” said Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President. “The ATP World Tour always strives to innovate and Infosys has served as a catalyst to help us do so through their innovative statistical analysis and insight”.

    "Bringing leading edge technology to tennis is an opportunity to amplify human potential.  We are helping ATP look at a tennis in new ways, giving players and coaches insight to elevate their performance, and using data to create insights that transform the fan experience.  This recognition of our first year’s work encourages us to continue on this journey to help everyone in the world of tennis see more and be more,” said UB Pravin Rao, Chief Operating Officer, Infosys.

    These awards represent the success of the ATP-Infosys technology partnership which continues to deliver new and exciting insights into the game. For instance, the new Live Commentary feed which was launched in time for the 2016 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and provides live insights to fans who follow live scores on the official tournament website www.BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com.

    Kontinen Peers Reflect On Maiden London Title

    Sun, 11/20/2016 - 9:28am
    Henri Kontinen and John Peers look back on their victory to secure the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title in a triumph of fine margins over Rajeev Ram and Raven Klaasen in London. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com

    Novak & Andy: The Rivalry

    Sun, 11/20/2016 - 5:25am

    It will be No. 1 vs. No. 2 with everything on the line. Andy Murray renews his rivalry against Novak Djokovic for the title at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, with the top spot at stake in the year-end Emirates ATP Rankings. It will be their first meeting since Roland Garros, when Djokovic completed a career Grand Slam by downing Murray in the pair’s 34th tour-level encounter. The Serbian has won 13 of the previous 15 encounters. Overall, he owns a 24-10 edge in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

    ATPWorldTour.com looks at their previous meetings...

    2016 Roland Garros final, Paris, Djokovic d. Murray 36 61 62 64
    In Paris, Djokovic and Murray met for the seventh time in a Grand Slam final, one meeting shy of the record held by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

    In addition to completing the career Grand Slam, Djokovic became the reigning champion at all four majors, a rare achievement in men's professional tennis. It has been nearly 50 years since Rod Laver last achieved the feat in 1969, having previously done so in 1962. Don Budge was the only other player to own the quartet of trophies at the same time, in 1938.

    It was Murray, who survived five-setters in his opening two rounds, who made the better start. The Brit played first-strike tennis and appeared in control in winning the first set. Entering Sunday, Murray had owned a 9-4 record against Djokovic when claiming the first set, but the World No. 1 would quickly discover his rhythm from the baseline as momentum swung in his favour. He snatched an immediate break for 2-0 in the second set, working all corners of the court with drop shots and backhand winners and extinguishing any nerves from the early stages. 

    Djokovic grabbed another quick break to open the third set and yet another to open the fourth. Murray dug in his heels with the Serbian serving for the match at 5-2, claiming one break back, but the top seed's moment of glory would eventually come two games later after three hours and three minutes, securing the Coupe de Mousquetaires for the first time. He emerged victorious on his third match point.

    2016 Internazionali BNL d'Italia final, Rome, Murray d. Djokovic 63 63
    Just eight days removed from suffering a three-set defeat to Djokovic in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open, Murray was eager to exact revenge on his longtime rival. With the Serb still suffering the physical effects of a grueling three-hour semi-final battle against Kei Nishikori the night before, the Scot pounced. Murray feasted on Djokovic short balls, standing tall on the baseline and employing aggressive tactics in frustrating the World No. 1 in wet, slippery conditions.

    The fresher Murray, who was celebrating his 29th birthday, secured the opening set with a sublime forehand drop shot winner and would continue to press his foot on the accelerator as the second set commenced. He denied three break points early on and claimed the decisive break with a rifled second serve return that left Djokovic reeling. Entering a critical moment at 4/3 30/30, Murray, who was 0/7 on second serve points, went big with his second offering to hold for 5-3. He secured the title a game later as Djokovic's serve crumbled. The top seed double faulted to give Murray his first match point and a lasered backhand winner secured the victory, his first in the Italian capital.

    Murray clinched a 12th Masters 1000 crown and second on clay, after capturing the title last year in Madrid (d. Nadal). It was his 36th tour-level crown overall. Djokovic, meanwhile, fell in his quest to add a fifth Rome crown to his haul, having emerged victorious in 2008, '11 & '14-15. The World No. 1 was also bidding to become the first player to capture 30 Masters 1000 titles, in addition to crossing the $100 million mark in career prize money.

    2016 Mutua Madrid Open final, Madrid, Djokovic d. Murray 62 36 63
    Djokovic maintained his stranglehold on the rivalry with a three-set victory in the Caja Magica, claiming an unprecedented 29th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and drawing level with Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg at No. 6 on the Open Era titles list, lifting his 64th tour-level trophy.

    The Serb, who now owns a dominant 22-5 record in deciding-set tour-level finals, was on the front foot in the early stages, winning 15 of the first 18 baseline points to capture the opening set after just 31 minutes. Murray had a swift and effective response in the second, ratcheting up his aggressive play to force a decider. But Djokovic had the last word, raising his level with audacious shotmaking at the most critical moments. A clinical down-the-line backhand at 3-2 30/40 would secure the decisive break for the Serb. Needing to turn aside seven break points at 5-3, he survived the late onslaught that included a pair of rocketed forehand winners from Murray. The valiant effort from the Scot would not be enough as Djokovic converted his third championship point to prevail after two hours and six minutes.

    Djokovic lifted his second trophy in Madrid, following his initial success in 2011 (d. Nadal). He has lost just two of his previous 34 sets played against Top 10 opposition since the 2015 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Murray, meanwhile, dropped to World No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after failing to retain the title. 

    Read Match Report | How The Final Was Won

    2016 Australian Open final, Melbourne, Djokovic d. Murray 61 75 76(3)
    In the first No. 1 versus No. 2 Australian Open final since 2012, Djokovic joined Roy Emerson as a six-time champion at the Grand Slam in Melbourne. Victory against Murray also drew him level with Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver as an 11-time major singles championship winner and level with Andre Agassi on 46 hard-court titles.

    Djokovic made a lightening start to the match. After saving a break point in his opening game, the Serb raced into a 5-0 lead in just 19 minutes. In a keenly contested second set, Murray paid the price for forehand unforced errors as Djokovic broke for a 4-3 lead. Murray immediately struck back, breaking for the first time in the match to level at 4-4, but lost his serve from a 40/0 advantage in the 11th game as Djokovic regained the initiative. Building on his momentum, Djokovic broke Murray in the first game of the third set. The Dunblane native broke Djokovic in the sixth game to draw level and ultimately forced a tie-break. But two double faults from the Scot proved his undoing in the early stages of the tie-break.

    Since the start of the 2015 US Open, Djokovic has compiled a 38-1 match record, with his only defeat coming to Roger Federer in the round robin stage of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals – he would beat the Swiss when they met again in the final later that week. In that spell, Djokovic has gone 17-1 against Top 10 opponents.

    Read Match Report | How The Final Was Won

    2015 BNP Paribas Masters final, Paris, Djokovic d. Murray 62 64
    Djokovic carved a slice of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 history in securing a three-peat in Paris. The World No. 1 captured a single-season record sixth Masters 1000 crown, notching his 26th title overall. The Serb reeled off three straight wins over Top 10 opposition to close the tournament, bringing his 2015 haul to 27-4. He became the first player to win four BNP Paribas Masters titles as well.

    Djokovic was dominant on serve against Murray, defending his second serve brilliantly with 72 per cent won. After capturing the opening set in 42 minutes, he would look to run away with the match after breaking for 2-1 in the second set, but Murray made the most of his first break opportunity a game later. The Scot broke back, capitalising on a momentary lapse in concentration from the Serb, as a punishing second serve return of his own would secure the break to love. Murray would later have a 0/30 peek into Djokovic's serve at 3-2, but the Serb reeled off eight of the next nine points to hold and claim the decisive break for 4-3.

    It marked the first time since No. 1 Stefan Edberg beat No. 2 Boris Becker in 1990 that the Top 2 seeds met for the BNP Paribas Masters title.

    2015 Shanghai Rolex Masters semi-finals, Shanghai, Djokovic d. Murray 61 63
    Djokovic was at his very best in cruising into the Shanghai Rolex Masters final with a dominant victory over Murray. Djokovic reached the final in his seventh consecutive ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event, extending his overall winning streak to 16 straight matches and 20 consecutive sets won.

    The World No. 1 applied significant pressure on Murray from the start. The Scot staved off a pair of break points in the opening game of the match, but Djokovic would not be denied two games later, breaking for 2-1 and never looking back. In a dominant display of baseline aggression, he would reel off 24 of the next 27 points to capture the first set in a mere 25 minutes. Murray was victimised by 17 unforced errors in the opener, but looked poised to make it a competitive affair after securing an immediate break to begin the second set.

    Murray's lead would be short lived, however, as a double fault in the next game would hand the break back and Djokovic would surge to the finish line. The Serb laced a backhand down the line to punctuate the 68-minute win. He fired five aces and converted on five of eight break chances in total.

    "It's the best match of the tournament at the right time against a player who was in form and one of my biggest rivals," said Djokovic, who would go on to hoist the trophy a day later. "He's a player I lost to a couple months ago in the Montreal final. Obviously there was a lot at stake. Whenever we play against each other, it's always exciting. It's always a huge challenge. But I was ready. I came in from the very first point with the right intensity, played great, on a very high level."

    2015 Rogers Cup final, Montreal, Murray d. Djokovic 64 46 63
    Murray notched his 11th win over a World No. 1 in toppling Djokovic for his third Rogers Cup title. The Scot extended his win streak in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 matches to 11 straight, capturing his 11th title at the level and second of the year (Madrid). Just two days after securing his spot at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, he won tour-level crown No. 35.  

    Murray was ultra aggressive from the outset, not yielding Djokovic much rhythm from the baseline, while making significant inroads in the Serb's serve. After splitting sets, Murray surged to a 3-0 lead in the decider with an immediate break. Djokovic entered the match with a streak of 24 consecutive deciding-set wins at the Masters 1000 level and was poised to break back, but Murray held after a mesmerising 15-minute, 10-deuce fifth game, saving six break points for 4-1. He would miss a trio of match points on Djokovic's serve at 5-2, but would not disappoint a game later, saving two break points and sealing the win after exactly three hours.

    "To win this one was nice, especially the way the match went as well," Murray said. "It would have been easy for me to let that one slip away. But I fought well and stayed calm in the important moments of the third set."

    2015 Roland Garros semi-final, Paris, Djokovic d. Murray 63 63 57 57 61
    Murray pushed Djokovic to the brink in Paris, with the Serbian closing in on completing the career Grand Slam. Needing two days to secure victory, the World No. 1 battled for more than three hours before rain and fading light halted their 27th FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter during the fourth set. Despite Murray snatching the overnight momentum after capturing the third, it was Djokovic who pulled away when play resumed on Saturday.

    Murray's mettle was on full display in forcing a decider, but his bid to record a seventh two-set comeback in Grand Slams was derailed. Djokovic, who punched his ticket to a ninth successive Barclays ATP World Tour Finals after defeating Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, extended his winning streak to 28 straight and moved to the doorstep of making major history.

    "I don't think I was lucky," Djokovic said. "I think I was playing some great tennis yesterday. He found his game late in the third. I had many opportunities to finish the match in straight sets, but credit to Andy. It was a really tough match, over four hours all together, yesterday and today. No different from any other match that we played against each other. It's always a thriller, always a marathon."

    2015 Miami Open presented by Itau Final, Miami, Djokovic d. Murray 76(3) 46 60
    With his seventh straight win over World No. 4 Murray, Djokovic captured a fifth crown in South Florida and became the first player to complete the Indian Wells – Miami title sweep three times. The first set of the final was anything but straightforward, with both players tallying two breaks each before Djokovic clinched the tie-break. Murray temporarily turned the tide, taking the second set with a break to love at 5-4. Ultimately, Djokovic's momentum, a culmination of his recent performances against Murray and his stellar start to the season, was too much for the Dunblane native to overcome in the final set.

    "It was just a physical battle between the two of us that play similar game," Djokovic said. "We haven't served that well, so we haven't had that many free points, as a matter of fact. With first or second serves, we needed to earn every single point, to work for it. That's why this particular match was very tough."

    2015 BNP Paribas Open semi-final, Indian Wells, Djokovic d. Murray 62 63
    Djokovic entered the 25th meeting between the two rivals with soaring confidence, and it would be reflected in a dominant victory over the Scot. The top seed was ruthless from the onset, finding his rhythm from the baseline immediately and using his agility to frustrate Murray.

    Djokovic would surge to a 3-0 lead in both sets as Murray's unforced error count rose. Murray pressed for a break back in the fifth game of the second set, but a pair of Djokovic service winners denied both chances. The Serbian's first match point came on Murray's racquet at 5-2, which the Scot turned aside with an ace down the T. Djokovic would serve out the win on his fourth match point in the next game, prevailing after one hour and 28 minutes.

    The World No. 1 and three-time Indian Wells champion returned to the final - his 31st at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level - after hoisting the trophy the previous year (d. Federer).

    "Even though it's a straight set victory, I still had to earn it," said Djokovic. "I thought that he didn't play close to his highest level. He made a lot of unforced errors, especially from the forehand side. Low percentage of first serves in. That allowed me to obviously step in and be aggressive.

    "I thought I played solid, with the right intensity from the beginning.  Good first serve percentage. Got some free points there in the important moments."

    2015 Australian Open final, Melbourne, Djokovic d. Murray 76(5) 67(4) 63 60
    Novak Djokovic became the first player in the Open Era to win five Australian Open crowns and denied Andy Murray his third Grand Slam championship title in his fourth final at Melbourne Park. Djokovic has now won 38 hard-court titles for No. 3 in the Open Era list behind Roger Federer (57) and Andre Agassi (46). It was his fifth clash against Murray in a major final.

    Murray fought back from a 1-4 deficit in the first set and led 4/2 in the tie-break before Djokovic mounted his own comeback. Both players exchanged service breaks in the second set, but it was Murray’s mental resilience that helped him into a 5-2 lead in the tie-break, including winning a 26-stroke rally. From an 0-2 deficit in the third set, Djokovic won 12 of 13 games to extend his winning streak to 10 matches against opponents in the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. Roy Emerson, a six-time Australian championship winner, was on hand to present Djokovic the Sir Norman Brookes Trophy.

    Murray was bidding to become the first British man to win the Australian Open since Fred Perry in 1934. His run ensures he will return to the Top 4 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. Djokovic also beat Murray in the 2011 and 2013 finals.

    2014 BNP Paribas Masters quarter-final, Paris, Djokovic d. Murray 75 62
    Djokovic continued his push to finish 2014 as year-end World No. 1, ousting eighth seed Murray in the Paris quarter-finals. The top seed would go on to claim a third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in the French capital, having also prevailed in 2009 (d. Monfils) and 2013 (d. Ferrer). Djokovic fired 12 winners and just one ace over the one hour and 41 minute affair. After dropping the first set, Murray pounced early in the second for an early break advantage. The lead would be short-lived, however, as Djokovic broke back immediately and proceeded to reel off five straight games to secure the victory.

    "The first set was very close," Djokovic said after the match. "I had some a few break point opportunities and held my service games pretty well, then I got a crucial break at the end of the first. He was a break up in the second, but then he hit some double faults and allowed me back in. After that, I started swinging through and felt much better."

    2014 China Open semi-final, Beijing, Djokovic d. Murray 63 64
    Djokovic, the No. 1 seed in Beijing, improved to a 23-0 in the Chinese capital and reached a fifth China Open final with a straight-sets victory over Murray. Murray rallied briefly in the second set, fighting from a break down to level at 4-4, but Djokovic’s defensive skills left the Dunblane native smashing his racquet in frustration as he capitulated on serve in the ninth game. Djokovic limited Murray to just seven winners and thwarted the Scot on four of his five break point chances in the encounter lasting one hour and 37 minutes.

    "It was a two-set victory today, but still it felt like I had to work hard to win the points," said Djokovic. "There was a lot of rally exchanges. [Andy] had a lot of chances to come back... Just in important moments I managed to play the better tennis."

    2014 US Open quarter-final, New York City, Djokovic d. Murray 76(1) 67(1) 62 64
    Top seed Djokovic advanced to an eighth consecutive US Open semi-final after withstanding a withering challenge from Murray that ended after 1 a.m. at Flushing Meadows. The dramatic opening two sets on Arthur Ashe stadium featured eight service breaks and lasted two hours and 13 minutes before Djokovic asserted control in the second half of the match. The Serbian fired 46 winners and broke serve seven times, sealing the win to become the seventh player to reach 50 US Open match victories.

    “It was a very physical battle in the opening two and a half sets," said Djokovic. "I didn’t expect anything less before the match knowing I was facing Andy. The last five times we’ve always gone over three, four hours."

    Novak & Andy: Matches 11-20 | Matches 1-10

    Murray Vs. Djokovic: Historic Final Will Decide Year-End World No. 1

    Sun, 11/20/2016 - 2:18am
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    Andy Murray's desire to win the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the first time will tonight collide with Novak Djokovic's ambitions of scoring a fifth successive title, and a record-equalling sixth overall. Whoever wins this evening will also be the year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

    Murray has never been afraid to stand apart. In an age of instant gratification, when some people barely have the attention span to finish reading a tweet, Murray is embracing long-form content.

    So prepare for the possibility of another Murray match exceeding three hours, which would be the third of its kind this week. Who knows, he and Djokovic might even push on tonight and break four hours. Murray has only been the No. 1 for a fortnight, with this his first tournament since that elevation in status, but he has certainly been filling his time at the top with tennis. No one could ever accuse Murray, should he lose to Djokovic this evening, of not making the most of being No. 1. Already he has been involved in a couple of classics, against Kei Nishikori in Group John McEnroe on Wednesday and then in yesterday's semi-final against Milos Raonic. Contrast with Djokovic, who needed a little over an hour last night to defeat Nishikori.

    So one consideration today will be how Murray's body holds up. Here's what's not in doubt: Murray's willpower.

    Of course, the time period that Murray really wishes to extend is how long he spends on the apex of the Emirates ATP Rankings. Anyone who makes it to No. 1 has accomplished something extraordinary. This is a very exclusive club, with Murray only the 26th man of any nationality, and the first Briton, to have achieved the ranking. But there's a club that's even more elitist, which is restricted to those who have been the year-end No. 1. Beat Djokovic and Murray will put himself in the pantheon by becoming only the 17th man to finish a year in that position since 1973.

    He'll have his coach, Ivan Lendl, and his boyhood idol, Andre Agassi, for company. As well as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Pete Sampras, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Stefan Edberg, Ilie Nastase, Mats Wilander, Lleyton Hewitt, Gustavo Kuerten, Jim Courier and Andy Roddick. And, of course, he would join Djokovic, who has hopes of being the year-end No. 1 for a third consecutive year, and for the fifth time overall, which would be the same number as Federer and Connors. Then the only man ahead of him on that leaderboard would be Sampras, who finished six consecutive years as the No. 1.

    There hasn't been a switch in the No. 1 ranking at a season finale since the 2001 tournament in Sydney, which was the year Hewitt moved above Kuerten (though that change didn't come about through a final). Had Raonic taken his match point against Murray yesterday, Djokovic would already be assured of returning to No. 1, only a fortnight after being deposed. But now, if he is to regain that status, he must go through Murray himself.

    This will be Murray and Djokovic's first meeting for five months, going back to the Roland Garros final in June. Djokovic won that match to complete his career Grand Slam and become the first man since Australia's Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four majors simultaneously. This has been a season of two distinct halves. There's no doubt that Djokovic was the dominant figure in the first few months of 2016 - Roland Garros was the sixth of his seven titles he has won so far this year, which have included four ATP World Tour Masters 1000s. And Murray has been imperious in the second half. This summer, he put together a 22-match winning streak, which brought him titles at The Queen's Club, Wimbledon and the Olympics, and also took him into the final of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati.

    But now, after surviving yesterday, Murray is on an even longer run - 23 matches. After winning titles in Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna and Paris, Murray could today score a fifth consecutive title.

    On both sides of the net, there are astonishing numbers to consider, with Djokovic seeking a fifth consecutive title at the season finale. Once you add in Djokovic's triumph in 2008, when this tournament was staged in Shanghai, the Serbian is attempting to equal Federer's record of six titles. The FedEx ATP Head2Head also makes for good reading for Djokovic, as he leads 24-10. Murray's last victory over Djokovic was in the final of the clay-court ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Rome. His last hard-court win over Djokovic was at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Canada in August 2015.

    Just to add another layer of intrigue, tonight's tennis will also bring about the resumption of another rivalry, even if they are now coaching rather than playing: that's Lendl versus Boris Becker. Three times Lendl and Becker met for the title at the season finale, with Lendl victorious at the 1985 and 1986 tournaments and Becker winning in 1988. In all, Lendl played in nine straight finals at this tournament, winning five of them. And now Murray - who was a beaten semi-finalist in 2008, 2010 and 2012 - has his first swing at this title.

    A perfect finish is how Murray has described the two best players in the world meeting in the last match of the season, with the No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on the line. But, from his perspective, perfection will only truly be achieved through victory.

    No. 1 Andy Murray vs. No. 2 Novak Djokovic
    HISTORIC MATCH: The final match of the ATP World Tour season between No. 1 Andy Murray and No. 2 Novak Djokovic will determine the No. 1 player in the Emirates ATP Rankings in 2016. This is the first time since the 2000 ATP Finals in Lisbon, the year-end No. 1 player will be decided by the outcome of the championship match. That year, Gustavo Kuerten defeated Andre Agassi in the final to finish No. 1 ahead of Marat Safin.

    NO. 1 AT STAKE: While Murray is trying to become the 17th player in the history of the Emirates ATP Rnakings to finish No. 1 , Djokovic is attempting to finish No. 1 for the third straight season and fifth time in six years.  Pete Sampras (six times), Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer (five times each) are the only players to finish No. 1 at least five times.

    TITLE LEADERS: Djokovic is trying to capture his fifth straight Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title and sixth overall, which would tie Federer. Djokovic, Ivan Lendl and Sampras all have won five titles.

    HEAD-TO-HEAD: Djokovic leads the rivalry 24-10 and this is their first meeting since the Roland Garros final on June 5, which Djokovic won in four sets. This is their fifth meeting of the season (Djokovic leads 3-1). Besides Roland Garros, Djokovic also won in the final at the Australian Open and ATP Masters 1000 Madrid. Murray’s lone win came in the final at ATP Masters 1000 Rome. This is their second meeting at the ATP Finals. In 2012, Djokovic won 46 63 75 in the second round robin match en route to the title.

    ON COURT TIME: Murray has been on court 9 hours and 56 minutes, including the two longest best-of-three set matches on record in ATP Finals history. He won a 3h, 38m battle over Raonic in the semi-finals and 3h, 20m second round robin match over Nishikori.  Djokovic has been on-court 6 hours and 33 minutes during the week, including 1:10 vs. Goffin and 1:06 vs. Nishikori in his last two matches. His longest match was 2h, 14m vs. Raonic on Tuesday.

    NO. 1 VS 2 FINALS IN ATP FINALS HISTORY: This is the seventh ATP Finals title match between the No. 1 and 2 ranked players (since 1973 when rankings began). This is the fifth 1 vs. 2 final at The O2 since 2010:
    2016 – No. 1 Murray vs. No. 2 Djokovic
    2014 – No. 1 Djokovic d. No. 2 Federer
    2013 – No. 2 Djokovic d. No. 1 Nadal
    2012 – No. 1 Djokovic d. No. 2 Federer
    2010 – No. 2 Federer d. No. 1 Nadal
    1986 – No. 1 Lendl d. No. 2 Becker
    1983 – No. 2 McEnroe d. No. 1 Lendl

    UNDEFEATED FINALISTS: This is just the eighth time in the round robin format that the two finalists have gone through the tournament undefeated. This is the fourth time since 2010 at The O2 this has occurred (2010, 2013-14, 2016). It also occurred in 1972, 1974, 1986 and 1993.

    NO. 1 IN LONDON: With Murray into the final, the No. 1 player has reached the final of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals the past five years, which is the longest streak in tournament history. Djokovic was No. 1 winning the title in 2012 and 2014-15 and Rafael Nadal was No. 1 in 2013 when he was runner-up. The previous best stretch of the No. 1 player reaching the final was four consecutive years from 1984-87 with John McEnroe winning the title in 1984 and Ivan Lendl from 1985-87.

    NO. 1 CHAMPIONS: Nine different No. 1 ranked players have won the ATP Finals a total of 18 times since 1973 when the Emirates ATP Rankings began (Murray is trying to add his name to the list). Note: Of 26 players to rank No. 1 (since 1973), overall 13 won the ATP Finals title. Here are the others to win the title when not ranked No. 1 at the time:  Gustavo Kuerten (2000), Boris Becker (1988, ’92, ’95), Andre Agassi (1990) and Stefan Edberg (1989).

    MATCH POINT SAVED WINNER: Murray is trying to become the first player win the ATP Finals after saving match point since Roger Federer in 2010. He saved three match points in his 46 76(8) 64 round robin win over Andy Roddick. He defeated Nadal in the final.

    Djokovic Downs Federer In 2012 London Finale Classic Moment

    Sun, 11/20/2016 - 2:07am
    In this Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Classic Moment, Novak Djokovic wins the first of four straight titles at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, defeating Roger Federer in the 2012 final. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

    Next Gen ATP Finals Launch

    Sun, 11/20/2016 - 1:32am
    The world's tennis media were in attendance on Saturday at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for a very special announcement. ATP Executive Chairman and President Chris Kermode confirmed that Milan will host the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in 2017, a new competition for the game's rising stars. Photo: Peter Staples / ATP World Tour

    Klaasen/Ram Reflect On Dream Run London 2016

    Sun, 11/20/2016 - 1:19am
    Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram talk about advancing to the championship match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in their debut appearance at The O2. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

    Greatest Final Ever?: Becker v Lendl, 1988

    Sun, 11/20/2016 - 1:13am
    We celebrate arguably the greatest final in the 47-year history of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals: the 1988 title match between Boris Becker and Ivan Lendl at Madison Square Garden that ended on a let-cord in a fifth-set tie-break.

    Daily Snapshot: London Day Seven

    Sun, 11/20/2016 - 1:04am
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    Missed a moment of the action from Saturday at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals? Here’s your executive summary:

    1) Marathon Murray Prevails

    In the longest three-set match at the season finale since match times were recorded in 1991, World No. 1 Andy Murray saved a match point to defeat fourth seeds Milos Raonic 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(9) in three hours and 38 minutes. Murray cut a backhand volley down match point at 8/9 in the final-set tie-break to level the match and then took the final two points to prevail. Read Match Report

    The Brit will now play Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final for both the title and to finish as year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Djokovic is in familiar territory as a four-time defending champion at The O2, while Murray is into the final in London for the first time in his career.

    2) Djokovic Produces Flawless Performance

    In direct contrast to Murray’s epic win, Djokovic wasted no time getting down to business, needing just 66 minutes to record a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Kei Nishikori. The Serbian broke Nishikori in his first five return games, firing 14 winners on the night and never allowing the Japanese star into the match. He also improved his FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Nishikori to 11-2.

    Djokovic will come into his championship clash with Murray leading 24-10 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry. He is seeking to finish 2016 atop the year-end Emirates ATP Rankings for the third straight year and fifth time in his career. Read Match Report

    3) Murray and Raonic’s Magic Moments

    Murray and Raonic pulled out all the stops in a bid to secure victory on Saturday, with both players displaying exquisite touch around the net in crucial moments.

    4) Quote Of The Day

    “There's a lot to take away from it. I have to be proud that I finished the year with giving it every ounce of energy I had. I'm pretty sure I'm going to feel like crap tomorrow. I'll look back at 2016 with a lot of good moments, a lot of pride, a lot to be proud of,” Raonic, reflecting on his match with Murray and finishing the year at No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Read Raonic Reaction

    5) Upsets Galore In Doubles Semi-Finals

    New doubles champions are guaranteed to be crowned on Sunday as a pair of first-time finalists recorded impressive semi-final wins. Fifth seeds Henri Kontinen/John Peers put on a serving clinic in defeating third seeds Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan, 7-6(2), 6-4. Kontinen/Peers have yet to lose a match this tournament and have now won 13 of their past 15 matches. Read Match Report

    Awaiting them in the finals are seventh seeds Raven Klaasen/Rajeev Ram, who recorded a convincing 6-1, 6-4 win over second seeds and newly minted World No. 1 team Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares. Klaasen/Ram dropped just 12 points in the first set and remained in control throughout the contest. Read Match Report

    Moments of Magic From Murray Raonic In London

    Sat, 11/19/2016 - 11:54pm
    Andy Murray somehow taps a backhand volley against Milos Raonic during their Barclays ATP World Tour Finals semi-final on Saturday in London. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Peter Staples / ATP World Tour

    Klaasen Ram Roll Past Murray Soares In London SFs

    Sat, 11/19/2016 - 11:44pm
    Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram beat Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings, in the Barclays ATP World Tour semi-finals on Saturday in London. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Peter Staples/ATP World Tour

    SF Highlights From Djokovic, Murray In London

    Sat, 11/19/2016 - 11:43pm
    Watch semi-final highlights from Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray winning their semi-final matches at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Peter Staples / ATP World Tour

    Murray/Soares Receive 2016 Year-End No 1 Doubles Trophy

    Sat, 11/19/2016 - 11:42pm

    Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares received the ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team trophy presented by Emirates on Saturday from Chris Kermode, Tournament Chairman of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and ATP Executive Chairman and President.

    The British-Brazilian team were presented the trophy following their semi-final match against Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram at The O2 in London, venue of the season finale.

    ”I think we can still improve a lot in our game,” said Murray. “I think we have the past few months. The more we play together, the better we'll get, I think.”

    Soares said, “I think it's amazing. The fact that we lost today doesn't take anything away from us, everything that we achieved throughout the whole year… We had an amazing year, a very special year for both of us. We won two Grand Slams. We did a lot of right things."

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    Murray and Soares join Grant Connell and Patrick Galbraith (1993), and Jonas Bjorkman and Todd Woodbridge (2001) as the only teams to claim the year-end No. 1 honour in their first season together.

    Murray and Soares captured three titles in 2016 at the Australian Open (d. Nestor/Stepanek), the US Open (d. Carreño Busta/Garcia-Lopez) and the Apia Sydney International (d. Bopanna/Mergea). The pair was also runners up at two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (l. to Herbert/Mahut) and the Rogers Cup in Toronto (l. to Dodig/Melo).

    Djokovic Sets Epic Showdown With Murray

    Sat, 11/19/2016 - 11:06pm

    It all comes down to this. The top spot in the year-end Emirates ATP Rankings will be decided in the final of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, as Novak Djokovic downed Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1 on Saturday.

    The stage is set for a titanic clash for the title, with No. 1 Andy Murray and No. 2 Djokovic renewing their storied rivalry. The Serbian, a five-time champion at the season finale, is seeking to extend his reign atop the year-end Emirates ATP Rankings with a third straight No. 1 finish and fifth overall. Murray, meanwhile, will look to extend his stay at No. 1 after assuming the mantle two weeks ago at the BNP Paribas Masters. Regardless of the result, history will be made on Sunday. The year-end No. 1 has never been decided by the top two players in the championship match of the season finale.

    Djokovic was ruthless in extending his FedEx ATP Head2Head to 11-2 against Nishikori, blasting past the Japanese in just one hour and six minutes. The Serbian successfully broke in his first five return games and executed a dominant game plan from the baseline. He refused to allow Nishikori to find any rhythm, striking his forehand with authority and defending well off his backhand wing. Djokovic fired 14 winners in total, also benefiting from 24 Nishikori unforced errors.

    "The best performance of the tournament came really at the right time," said Djokovic. "Everything kind of clicked together tonight. I felt really well. I started with a great pace, great concentration, dictating the play, mixing up the pace. Everything was going well. I am very pleased.

    "Kei was not close to his best. The fact that he played late last night, it's been a long year for him and a long tournament, so he was probably a little bit tired. Nevertheless, I tried to make myself present on the court, make him feel that I'm playing to the last shot, which I did. Even at 6-1, 5-1, I was really committed."

    "Today I think Novak played pretty awesome," said Nishikori. "There's nothing I can complain about. Physically, I just wasn't ready to play against Novak."

    In Sunday's final, Djokovic faces a familiar foe in Murray. It will be their 35th encounter, with the World No. 2 owning a 24-10 advantage. Fatigue and fitness will play a critical role, with Murray taking the court after a pair of encounters that lasted more than three hours and 20 minutes. He needed three hours and 21 minutes to dismiss Nishikori on Wednesday, followed by a season finale three-set record three-hour and 38-minute victory over Milos Raonic earlier on Saturday. Djokovic, meanwhile, has enjoyed a routine march to the final, having dropped three games in defeating alternate David Goffin in 70 minutes on Thursday.

    It will be just the second encounter between Djokovic and Murray at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, following a three-set win for the Serbian in the 2012 round robin stage. Djokovic has taken three of their four meetings this year, in the finals of the Australian Open, Roland Garros and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Madrid. Murray notched a straight-set win in the Rome title match.

    Appearing in the semis for the second time, Nishikori was bidding to become the first Asian-born player to reach the final in tournament history. He concludes his 2016 campaign with a 58-21 win-loss mark, having lifted his lone trophy on the indoor hard courts of Memphis. His loss means that Milos Raonic will finish the year at No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Nishikori would have assumed the third position had he won the title.

    "It was one of the best years for me," Nishikori added. "I played a lot of matches, beating the top players a lot. I got a lot of confidence this year. This is not the finish what I wanted, but still I think it was a good year."

    Stefan Edberg Praises Next Gen ATP Finals Concept

    Sat, 11/19/2016 - 10:58pm

    Former Barclays ATP World Tour Finals champion and six-time Grand Slam winner Stefan Edberg has hailed the introduction of the Next Gen ATP Finals from 2017 as a “great opportunity” for the rising stars of the game.

    The new ATP World Tour tournament, hosted in Milan, Italy, will feature the world’s top 21-and-under singles players each season.

    Edberg, who featured in a similar event back in 1985 called the Tennis World Young Masters, won his first ATP World Tour title in Milan (1984) and would relish the opportunity to feature in this new competition if he was a junior once again.

    “I think this is a great idea. It's good for tennis. It's great to promote these young players,” said Edberg. “They're probably going to need more time to break into the top of the tennis game.
    “Obviously when you're young, you see just opportunities. This is going to be a great opportunity. It's a great format,” declared Edberg, who believes the competition for qualification will be fierce.

    “I think a lot of these guys are really, really going to battle it out to get into this tournament because there's going to be attractive prize money and it's going to be a good way for them to promote themselves. It's a win-win situation here. It's definitely the right move to do it. If I was young, I would love to have this setup.”

    Replicating the format of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, with a round-robin group stage followed by knock-out semi-finals and a final, players aged 21-and-under will vie for seven automatic qualification spots or the sole wildcard through their ranking in the Emirates ATP Race to Milan.

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    The event will take place over five days at the Fiera Milano stadium in the picturesque Italian City and will remain in Milan until 2021 over a five-year period. In 2017, the inaugural competition will take place from 7-11 November, between the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.

    17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, like Edberg, won his first ATP title in 2001 in Milan and the fledging talent on the ATP World Tour such as Alexander Zverev, Borna Coric and Taylor Fritz will vie with fresh faces hoping to follow in the Swiss Maestro’s footsteps towards the upper echelons of the game. Next Gen star Frances Tiafoe, currently ranked World No. 108, is targeting qualification as a key element in his 2017 campaign.

    “We're incredibly excited about the event. It's definitely going to be a great event,” said the American teenager. “I want to thank the ATP for everything they've done launching the Next Gen. It was a huge deal for us, a bunch of different personalities. I think it's going to be a really good turnout and I’m really excited for it.”

    ATP Executive Chairman and President Chris Kermode is delighted to provide the platform for the stars of the future to showcase their talents on a global stage. “The next generation of players coming through on the ATP World Tour is gathering huge momentum. The big focus for us is we're at this incredible time in tennis where we're at almost the changing of the guard,” said Kermode. “We have superstars in the game that have transcended the sport over the last 10 years, reached beyond tennis and become global sporting icons, Roger (Federer), Rafa (Nadal), Novak (Djokovic) and Andy (Murray) in particular. But the changing of the guard is coming.

    “We have a duty to start highlighting and really bringing to life characters in the game that are coming through with immense, immense talent. This is the future of the game.”

    Raonic: "The Best Match I've Ever Competed In"

    Sat, 11/19/2016 - 10:39pm

    Milos Raonic was one point from snatching a slice of history at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Saturday. The Canadian sat on the cusp of claiming his biggest victory over World No. 1 Andy Murray, and after three and a half hours he could taste the finish line.

    But the longest match on the ATP World Tour this year, and longest three-set affair in the history of the season finale (since records were first kept in 1991), would fall just out of reach. Andy Murray moved one step closer to clinching year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings with a pulsating 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(9) victory.

    It was a mesmerising thriller at The O2, arguably one of the greatest matches in the tournament’s history. Raonic demonstrated his growing shot-making arsenal and covered every inch of the court behind lightning-fast agility. Despite the defeat, the Canadian showed why he's one of the game's brightest stars.

    "It's the best match I've ever competed in," Raonic said. "The way I was constantly trying to stay positive, keep my energy up, trying to fight through, that's definitely the most significant thing I've done today.

    "Today I really tried to, in the best way possible, leave it all out there. I turned it around for myself twice there at the end of the third. I turned it around for myself almost there in the tie-break. I just did everything I could, everything that was within me, at least to really try to win. It's that simple."

    Twice Murray served for the match deep in the third set and twice Raonic drew proceedings level once again. The Canadian turned aside three match points in the ensuing tie-break, before eventually succumbing after three hours and 38 minutes. Four days after pushing five-time champion Novak Djokovic to two tie-breaks, he once again refused to give in to the pressure, fighting to the very end.

    "I have to be proud that I finished the year with giving it every ounce of energy I had. I'll look back at 2016 with a lot of good moments, a lot of pride, a lot to be proud of.

    "I think in both matches I had more break point opportunities and more chances. Obviously it can go both ways. But I have to be very proud that I gave myself opportunities, great opportunities, against both of them for the first time this year."

    Raonic will finish his best season on the ATP World Tour with a 52-17 mark, including a title run to open the year in Brisbane and finals at Wimbledon, the Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells and on the grass of Queen's Club. He will finish at a career-high No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, after Kei Nishikori lost to Djokovic in Saturday’s semi-finals.

    With Murray now poised to contest his first final at the season finale and bid for the year-end top spot, Raonic admits he's looking forward to a showdown between No. 1 and No. 2.

    "He's done a lot of great things. He's really stepped up in these moments. [Novak] will be the biggest test, I think. Andy has been the best player in the world definitely for the past six months. That's the only thing that's sort of missing from there, is that showdown with Novak. If that's the scenario tomorrow, it couldn't be a more ideal one, let's say, for a person that loves tennis."

    Medvedev Hailed Top Tecnifibre Young Gun

    Sat, 11/19/2016 - 9:42pm
    Daniil Medvedev is presented with a $50,000 winning check by Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman and President, after being named the Tecnifibre Young Gun on the Road in 2016

    Kontinen/Peers Reflect On London 2016 SF Win

    Sat, 11/19/2016 - 9:00pm
    John Peers and Henri Kontinen react to beating Bob and Mike Bryan in the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Saturday at The O2.