Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, the biggest indoor tennis tournament, kicked off on Sunday. It features 8 of the best players of the year in singles and top 8 teams in doubles. Most players put the tournament at the top end of their priority list, just next to the Grand Slams. So what is it that makes this tournament so special?
The answer is the history that surrounds this tournament. The biggest names in world tennis have won this coveted trophy and to have your name placed next to theirs is the driving force for every player.
Over the course of years, it has been played on every surface except clay.
The first edition of this tournament, named Masters at the time, took place in Tokyo in December of 1970. Stan Smith won the inaugural edition and reserved his place forever in the history books. This year, one of the two groups is named after him. The other group is named after Ilie Nastase who won 4 of the five consecutive finals he entered from 1971 to 1975.
In 1977, the tournament location shifted to the Madison Square Garden in the vibrant city of New York. Ivan Lendl, one of the best players the sport has ever seen, made it to nine consecutive finals from 1980 to 1988.
In 1990, the tournament was renamed as the ATP World Tour Championships and was held in the German cities Frankfurt and Hannover through 1999. Pete Sampras won 5 titles during this period including his marathon match against his arch-rival and the home favourite Boris Becker 3-6 7-6(5) 7-6(4) 6-7(11) 6-4. Many regarded this as the greatest match of the decade.
The following year, the tournament was rebranded as The Tennis Masters Cup. It saw Gustovo Kuerten rebranding an image of his own. He won the title defeating Pete Sampras in the semi finals and Andre Agassi in the finals to record a historic moment by becoming the first South American to rank year-end World Number 1.
In 2003 and 2004, Roger Federer dominated the proceedings winning back to back titles at the Westside Tennis Club in Houston. In 2005, the tournament was shifted back to Shanghai where David Nalbandian recorded a five set victory over Federer in the finals.
However, the Swiss Maestro returned in top form recording another pair of consecutive titles in 2006-07. Novak Djokovic joined the party as he won the final edition of Tennis Masters Club in 2009 dethroning the maestro Roger Federer.
The Tennis Masters Club evolved into the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in 2009 to be held in the O2 arena in London. Federer won back to back titles in 2010-11 before Djokovic won three consecutive titles making him a three time defending champion coming into the tournament in 2015.
A lot of history surrounds the tournament. Every player is striving to finish the year in the best possible manner. And when the top 8 players are striving to finish the year in best form, it means only one thing and one thing alone, that is, impeccable tennis. Are you ready for the 2015 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals ?
I am pursuing B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology( MAIT), IPU. Tennis is the most important part of my life and I love it more than anything else. I love to write as well. Programming, cryptography and related fields also fascinate me.