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Race to London 2016

Race to London 2016

One of the most prestigious tournaments in the tennis calendar year other than the four grand slams is the ATP World Tour Finals.  It is the season-ending event for the best singles players and doubles teams on the 2016 ATP World Tour. The 2016 ATP World Tour Finals, which will be the 47th edition of the tournament, will take place from 14 to 20 November at the O2 Arena in London, United Kingdom. The tournament has a round-robin format, with eight players/teams divided into two groups of four. The eight seeds are determined by the ATP Rankings and ATP Doubles Team Rankings on the Monday after the last ATP World Tour tournament of the calendar year. Provisional rankings are published weekly as the ATP Race to the World Tour Finals, coinciding with the 52-week rolling ATP rankings on the date of selection. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray who are ranked 1 and 2 respectively, have already qualified for this year’s tournament. Roger Federer who has had a disappointing season so far, at least by his standards, is currently ranked 9 in the ATP Race to the World Tour Finals.

Djokovic after winning the ATP World Tour Finals 2015
Djokovic after winning the ATP World Tour Finals 2015

Federer holds the record for the most singles titles, with six. The Swiss also holds the record of reaching the final title match the most times in this tournament, with ten. In last year’s tour finals Federer lost to Djokovic in the final after having beaten him during the round robin stage. If Federer misses out on the year ending tournament, it would be a huge disappointment not just for him, but for his  fans all over the globe who can never get enough of their favourite tennis star. The reason Federer finds himself in this unknown territory is mainly due to a knee injury which has been troubling him since the Australian Open. In early February, he underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus, and missed both the tournaments in Rotterdam and Dubai in February. Later in the month, Federer announced he would miss the tournament in Indian Wells. In March, it was confirmed that Federer would make his return at the Miami Open, but he withdrew after a first round bye due to contracting a stomach virus, thus prolonging his time on the side-lines. Federer’s withdrawal from the French Open in May ended his all-time record run of 65 consecutive appearances in grand slams, dating back to the 2000 Australian Open. Even though this season has not even been close to what one would expect out of the Swiss, but there are still quite a few important tournaments left till the World Tour Finals including the Olympic games at Rio and the US Open where Federer was a finalist last year. With a commendable performance at Wimbledon, the Swiss is again beginning to show the marks of a great champion that he is. He will be the defending champion at the Cincinnati Masters and the Swiss Indoors, two tournaments where Federer would definitely be fancying his chances . If Roger is able to carry forward this rhythm into the coming tournaments, there is little doubt that he would be among the eight men who would compete in London. However, if Federer is not able to make the cut, it could be a certain indicator that the Maestro’s career is nearing its end.

Federer competing at the London O2 Arena in 2015
Federer competing at the London O2 Arena in 2015

Tennis enthusiasts would be closely monitoring the rankings, more than anything, in the hope that they get to see the 17-time Grand Slam champion at London’s O2 Arena again this year. Still we certainly cannot count out the likes of Thomas Berdych, Dominic Thiem, and Stan Wawrinka, who are ranked 8,6 and 7 respectively, would be willing to do everything it takes to stop the Swiss’ conquest for another appearance at London.

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