Champ Djokovic to face Federer at Tour Fi­nals

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: De­fend­ing cham­pion No­vak Djokovic has been handed an early show­down with Roger Federer as the world num­ber one launches his bid for a fourth suc­ces­sive ATP Tour Fi­nals ti­tle.

Djokovic ar­rives in south Lon­don hop­ing to win the pres­ti­gious sea­son-end­ing event for a fifth time to cap an­other re­mark­able year that saw him win three Grand Slam crowns and ce­ment his po­si­tion on top of the world rank­ings.

The 28-year-old Serb will get a quick test of his ap­petite for fur­ther suc­cess on the banks of the River Thames when he faces Swiss great Federer in the 43rd in­stal­ment of their ri­valry.

They are tied at 21 wins each, with Djokovic de­feat­ing Federer in the Wim­ble­don and US Open fi­nals this year. Federer is no slouch at the Tour Fi­nals ei­ther, hav­ing won the tour­na­ment a record six times, but not even he reeled off four suc­ces­sive ti­tles and Djokovic would be­come the first player to achieve that im­pres­sive feat if he lifts the tro­phy on Novem­ber 22.

If Djokovic tri­umphs he will also draw level with Pete Sam­pras and Ivan Lendl as five-time Tour Fi­nals win­ners. Also in Djokovic’s group are Ja­pan’s Kei Nishikori, his first op­po­nent when the event gets un­der­way on Sun­day, and Czech world num­ber five To­mas Berdych.

“This has been, by far, the most suc­cess­ful sea­son of my life and I just try to bet­ter it,” Djokovic said. De­spite hav­ing won so much over the last 11 months, 10-time Grand Slam cham­pion Djokovic has shown no signs of eas­ing up as the sea­son winds down.

Since los­ing to Federer in the Cincin­nati fi­nal in Au­gust, Djokovic has em­barked on a 22-match win­ning run that has brought him the US Open, the China Open and

Mas­ters 1000 ti­tles in Shang­hai and Paris.

Mur­ray fo­cus The other group in the round-robin tour­na­ment, which fea­tures the world’s top eight play­ers, sees Rafael Nadal, Andy Mur­ray, Stan Wawrinka and David Fer­rer pit­ted to­gether.

Most of the in­ter­est in that group will fo­cus on for­mer Wim­ble­don cham­pion Mur­ray.

The world num­ber two has never won the Tour Fi­nals, but he may not be too con­cerned if he makes an early exit on home turf this year as he has made the Davis Cup his num­ber one pri­or­ity in re­cent months.

Mur­ray has led Great Bri­tain in their first Davis Cup fi­nal in 37 years and his coun­try will bid for a first ti­tle since 1936 when they face Bel­gium in Ghent less than a week af­ter the end of the Tour Fi­nals.

Af­ter pre­vi­ously hint­ing he might pull out of the Tour Fi­nals to give him more time to adapt to the clay sur­face cho­sen for the Davis Cup fi­nal, Mur­ray has de­cided to par­tic­i­pate, but it will be in­trigu­ing to see how he re­acts if his trou­ble­some lower back in­jury flares up over the com­ing week.

Federer, mind­ful of Switzer­land’s loom­ing Davis Cup fi­nal ap­pear­ance, pulled out of last year’s Tour Fi­nals fi­nal against Djokovic due to in­jury. “I feel fresh and hope­fully I can play some good ten­nis this week,” Mur­ray said.

“I feel good about the Davis Cup fi­nal. I have been practising at Queen’s on clay for the past four days.” DRAW: Group Ilie Nas­tase Andy Mur­ray, Stan Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal, David Fer­rer Group Stan Smith No­vak Djokovic, Roger Federer, To­mas Berdych, Kei Nishikori. — AFP

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