Ten­nis ti­tans in Lon­don tilt

Tempo - - Sports -

LON­DON (AFP) – Roger Fed­erer is aim­ing to com­plete a cen­tury of ti­tles at the ATP Fi­nals but will likely have to find a way past the ir­re­press­ible No­vak Djokovic, who is look­ing to round off his as­ton­ish­ing sea­son in style. The two men, with 34 Grand Slams be­tween them, are the twin ti­tans at the sea­son-end­ing event at Lon­don’s O2 arena.

But the tour­na­ment, which starts on Sun­day, lacks an el­e­ment of star power with­out the in­jured Rafael Nadal and Juan Mar­tin del Potro, both of whom were forced to pull out of the sea­son fi­nale.

For­mer cham­pion Andy Mur­ray, still mak­ing his way back from in­jury, and de­fend­ing cham­pion Grigor Dim­itrov are other star names miss­ing.

The ti­tle is con­tested by the eight play­ers who have ac­cu­mu­lated the most rank­ing points over the sea­son and is in a round-robin for­mat, with the best four play­ers reach­ing the knock­out semi­fi­nals stage. Fed­erer is ex­pected to emerge from Group Lley­ton He­witt, also fea­tur­ing Kevin An­der­son, Do­minic Thiem and Kei Nishikori, while Djokovic is highly fan­cied to top Group Guga Kuerten, which also in­cludes Alexan­der Zverev, Marin Cilic and John Is­ner.

Af­ter a stun­ning 2017 sea­son which saw the Swiss cap­ture seven ti­tles, in­clud­ing Grand Slam crowns at the Aus­tralian Open and Wim­ble­don, Fed­erer was clear that his 2018 sea­son has been a suc­cess de­spite a mixed run of re­sults in re­cent months.

The 37-year-old has won a record six ti­tles at the ATP Fi­nals – in­clud­ing two in Lon­don – but has not lifted the tro­phy since 2011.

“I don’t think it mat­ters re­ally where I win my 100th as long as it’s go­ing to hap­pen at one point,” said Fed­erer,who has 99 ti­tles in his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer.

“I love play­ing this event. I al­ways have, ever since I qual­i­fied for the very first time back in 2002.”

NO­VAK Djokovic

ROGER Fed­erer

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