Behind the scenes with Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Co. at ATP Finals launch party - Diary

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Some lucky daily commuters were dealt a surprise on the London Underground on Friday when they were joined by Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and the rest of the ATP Finals singles and doubles fields on the tube.

All suited and booted for the tournament’s official launch at the Houses of Parliament, the players took the Jubilee line from North Greenwich station to Westminster, avoiding London’s dreaded rush hour traffic.

I was invited to the ATP Finals launch party for the first time this year and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check out the Houses of Parliament and enjoy one last function with the tennis community before the season comes to an end.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, is a massive tennis enthusiast and particularly a Federer fanatic. In 2014, he said he watched Federer play 65 times that season alone, and he was of course thrilled to hang out with the Swiss in person on Friday.

Let’s just say he did not hide where his allegiances lie one bit at the launch.

Andrew Castle was the MC during the event and enjoyed some fun banter while presenting the players.

“Did you arrive on the tube as well?” Castle asked Federer.

“No I took the helicopter,” Federer responded in the most believable tone. After a long pause he added: “No I’m kidding. I took the tube and enjoyed it.”

Castle admitted he struggled to come up with questions Federer hadn’t answered a million times before so he took the simple route and asked him how he’s been hitting so far at the O2?

“I’m losing every match I’m playing in practice,” confessed Federer.

Words the Speaker no doubt did not want to hear from the No. 2 seed just two days before the start of the tournament.

Djokovic took the stage with his fellow Group Guga Kuerten members, Marin Cilic (198cm), John Isner (208cm) and Alexander Zverev (198cm).

“Do you like playing tall players?” Castle asked the 188cm Djokovic bluntly.

“Thanks for bringing that up, because it feels like I’m in a basketball group or something. I’m by far the shortest guy,” laughed Djokovic. Lucky for the Serb, his height never stopped him from amassing a combined 25-5 win-loss record against his group rivals.

The night was not free of scandal as Zverev turned up for the event sans-socks. Dominic Thiem, who was filming a vlog for the ATP website made sure to call him out on it.

Zverev’s explanation: It’s “Zegna-style”. Too bad his sock-less look gave him a blister!

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