#360stats: History of ATP World Finals - Novak joining greats

Shyam Sundar 15/11/2015
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Can Novak Djokovic be the best of the rest for a fifth time?

The Barclays World Tour Finals, the ATP World Tour’s marquee event kicks off at the iconic O2 Arena in London on Sunday. The event, which features the Top 8 Singles Players and Doubles Teams in the Calendar ATP rankings, is played out in a round-robin format to round off the season.

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World No.1 Novak Djokovic will headline the 2015 edition, and the Serb has looked invincible this season. Such is his dominance Djokovic comes into this event on the back of a 22-match unbeaten streak. The 3-time defending champion has been drawn in the same group as nemesis Roger Federer, the 6-time former champ. The legendary duo have combined to win 10 of the last 12 events (since 2003).

The 2015 event promises to be a scintillating end to the ATP season. To get ourselves into the thick of things, Sport360 details the facts, figures and stats from this historic tournament with a rich history.

  • It all started in 1970 in Tokyo, when it was called the Masters Grand Prix. The event, which featured only the round-robin format, was won by American Stan Smith with Tennis Legend Rod “Rocket” Laver finishing as the runner-up.
  • The host cities of this spectacle:

  • The iconic “Madison Square Garden” in New York hosted the event from 1977 to 1989, giving us some of the best memories – the famous dead net-cord on match point in the final set tiebreak in the 1988 final; giving Boris Becker the title over Ivan Lendl.

  • The event has been staged at the O2 Arena in London from 2009 onwards and is expected to run there until 2018.
  • It is considered as the biggest and the most coveted indoor event on the tennis calendar (Played Outdoors – 1974 Melbourne & 2003-2004 Houston).
  • The event has had different names: 1970-1989 – Masters Grand Prix, 1990-1999 – ATP Tour World Championships, 2000-2008 – Tennis Masters Cup, 2009-Present – ATP World Tour Finals.

The Best of the Best

14 – By Qualifying for the 2015 event, Federer set the record for the most appearances at the World Tour Finals. He also holds the record for the consecutive appearances (14) at the event. Andre Agassi made 13 visits to the Tour Finals followed by Lendl (12).

14 – Consecutive match wins for Novak (active), Lendl and Federer. Expect Djokovic to improve on that number.

6 – Titles won by Federer, the record at the World Tour Finals. He won twice in Houston (2003-04), twice in Shanghai (2006-07) and twice in London (2010-2011). Lendl and Pete Sampras are second to Federer with 5 titles each.

9 – Finals reached by Federer and Lendl, the all-time record. Becker reached the final on 8 occasions, while Lendl also holds the record for the most consecutive finals reached – 9 (1980-88).

12 – Semi-final appearances by Federer and Lendl. The latter made the SF in each his 12 appearances at the championships whereas Federer has missed the SF just once (2008, lost in the RR stage).

3 – Consecutive titles won by Ilie Năstase (1971-73), Lendl (1985-87) and Djokovic (2012-14). World No.1 and defending champion Djokovic will be bidding to become the first man to win an unprecedented 4th title in a row at the O2.

4 – Players seeded lower than No.2 to win the championship in the 21st Century.

48 – Match wins (counting) for Swiss legend Federer, the most at the World Tour Finals. He is the only man to win 40+ matches at the event. Lendl (39) and Becker (36) are next in line behind Federer.

88% – Winning percentage for Romanian great Năstase (22-3), the best in the tournament history (for minimum 20+ match wins). Federer (48-11) has managed an 81% winning percentage.

76% – Games won (51-16) by Djokovic at the 2014 World Tour Finals, the best record in the event’s history.

92% – Winning percentage for Năstase (12-1) in decisive-set matches. Djokovic has won 83% of his decisive-set matches (10-2).

0 sets lost – by Lendl (1982, 85-86) and McEnroe (1983) in winning the championship, the only men to achieve this feat.

The undefeated champions list –

0 – No player in the history of the singles tournament has won the title after losing more than one round-robin match.

$2.28 million – Prize money on offer to the undefeated singles champion at the 2015 event.

$13.17 million – Prize money won by Federer at the World Tour Finals, the most in history.

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Cash: I'd help Nadal return to the top of tennis

Pat Cash 15/11/2015
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In need of help: Rafael Nadal.

Rafael Nadal will commence his ATP World Tour Finals campaign today in London and he will also be coming back to Abu Dhabi in December for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.

Some people say that next year will be make or break for him but I’m reluctant to ever say something like that about Rafa.

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This year he’s had a lot of problems with his consistency. Rafa’s biggest issue is because there’s so many movements going on in his groundstrokes, and he swings so fast at the ball, if something is slightly off, then it goes very off.

I’ll be very surprised to see him come back and have a year where you win two grand slams but he could win one and be right up there in the others.

He’s going to have to really build on the confidence he’s getting at the moment. I don’t think it’s make or break but he’s getting towards the end of his career and he’s put his body through everything so he hasn’t got many years left, but neither is Andy Murray, or Novak Djokovic, or Roger Federer.

Federer is a different beast altogether, I don’t regard him as normal by any means, but I think Rafa’s body and probably Andy’s as well won’t last as long as Federer. So they’ve got a couple of good years left in them.

Rafa’s form is the most talked about conversation in most locker rooms. Every player has a different opinion on what’s going on with his game.

I’ve looked at it from a completely different way – some say ‘it’s his confidence, it’s this and that’… I don’t see that, I see it as a technical issue. He’s got such a complex swing that is slightly off. He’s got to develop consistency and his way of developing consistency is by hitting a lot of balls and he feels that’s the way he can do it.

Whether his team have picked up the thing that I’ve picked up in his game, I don’t know, I’m not sure. I’ll have to have a closer look to see what he’s doing now. He’s got this whole thing he does in his game that nobody else can do. If you have a junior that does that you’ll tell him ‘you’ve got to completely fix that, that’s bad’. But in Rafa it works. That’s my opinion.

I was on the seniors tour the other day and you’ve got six different opinions on what Rafa needed to do, all from great people. To me I was really clear on what was going on. The other guys were all about it’s confidence, he’s got to do this, he’s got to do that, he’s got to hit the ball deeper, he’s got to be more consistent on his groundstrokes, he’s got to stop mis-hitting the ball, but how? That’s the question. How?

If they can’t work that out I think his team will need to look elsewhere. I would say, there’s a lot of good Spanish coaches out there, and I think it would be very arrogant for uncle Toni to think that he knows everything. He’s very open-minded, I’d be very surprised if he wasn’t at least listening to what some coaches had to say.

When things don’t go right, you have to look outside and make up your own mind. Is it necessary to bring somebody in? I don’t know if he needs to bring somebody in but he probably needs to have a listen to some people’s opinions.

Would I be willing to help him? Yes, I know what’s wrong. But nobody has asked me. I’m a real stickler with technique and there’s not many players’ coaches out there who can break it down. I’ve broken it down and I know what he does.

The ATP World Tour Finals will be staying at the O2 in London through 2018 and I’ve seen Rafa’s comments about it being unfair to him, considering indoor hard court is not his favourite surface.

I think the Finals need to be a big event first of all. I’ve always believed that the event should move around the world and give everybody a chance to have a look at it. It could come here to the Middle East. I don’t see any reason why that shouldn’t happen. But it’s such a massive success in London, so if it ain’t broke, why fix it? But I think Rafa’s right, I think it is a little unfair just to have it indoors. It’s clearly his weakest surface. Even if it was on outdoor hard court it would probably be better for him than the indoor surface they have, it just doesn’t suit his style.

Pat Cash is an ambassador for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and was speaking at the event’s launch on Saturday at Yas Mall.

This column was conducted as an interview and Cash was responding to questions directed to him.

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Petra Kvitova puts Czech Republic ahead of Russia in Fed Cup final

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Great performance: Petra Kvitova.

Petra Kvitova came back from a set down to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and hand holders the Czech Republic a 1-0 lead over Russia in the Fed Cup final in Prague on Saturday.

Kvitova, the world number six and the Czech number one, beat 28th-ranked Pavlyuchenkova on the hardcourt of Prague’s O2 Arena 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 in an hour and 44 minutes.

In Saturday’s second rubber, 11th-ranked Karolina Pliskova will face world number four Maria Sharapova in their first-ever encounter as the Czechs seek their fourth title in five years.

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Following a minute’s silence for the victims of Friday’s Paris terror attacks, Kvitova got off to a stumbling start, piling up unforced errors and losing her serve to love in game three.

With Kvitova able to place only four in 10 first serves in the court, Pavlyuchenkova broke again two games later and went on to take the first set in just 34 minutes.

“She came and she played well, I didn’t really feel that she was nervous but I was nervous,” Kvitova said.

“When I stepped onto the court, I was very nervous and I was so tired, my hands didn’t fly (as) I wanted, my legs were very heavy and I couldn’t really move well.”

But the first-set flop was a perfect wake-up call for the 25-year-old Czech who converted her sixth break point in game two of the second set and powered past her helpless rival for a 6-1 win.

“I was trying to hold my serve in the second set and then I had an opportunity to break her,” said Kvitova.

“I think that game was key for the second set and maybe for the match.”

Kvitova, the 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon champion, retained her pace in the decider, sweeping the 24-year-old Pavlyuchenkova 6-1 again.

The Czech team lead their head-to-head record with four-time Fed Cup champions Russia 3-2 — including three ties between former Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. In the most recent encounter, the Czechs won the 2011 final in Moscow.

The Czechs have won the trophy eight times, including five victories as Czechoslovakia which went on to split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

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