Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic putting paid to sporting action around the world, with many prestigious tournaments either completely cancelled or postponed, tennis fans were treated to the French Open at the end of September, and now the ‘fifth Grand Slam’ as it is monikered, the ATP Finals are underway.
In the men’s singles, Roger Federer holds the record for the most titles, with six, but hot on his heels is Novak Djokovic, who has won five times. The Serbian is up against Daniil Medvedev next in the Round Robin, and is the favourite to win the title amongst betting exchange sites.
This is the last year that the tournament will be held in London, with Turin being the host city as of 2021. After winning his first title in 2008, when the competition was known as the Tennis Masters Cup and held in Shanghai, Nole has had plenty of success in London, winning a record four consecutive times. Let’s take a look back at those victories.
Djokovic was the number 1 seed, and was placed in Group A, alongside Andy Murray, Tomáš Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Played three, won three, and the Serbian finished top of the standings, facing Group B runner-up Juan Martín del Potro in the semi-finals. The Argentinian took the first set, before Djokovic produced a wonderful comeback to win the second and third – setting up a final against the 2011 winner, Roger Federer. While the first set went to a tiebreak, Nole defeated the Swiss ace in straight sets 7-6 (8-6), 7-5 to record his second ATP Finals title and end his season on a high.
A year later, Djokovic defended his title with victory over the other of tennis’ ‘big three’, Rafael Nadal. This time the second seed, Djokovic was drawn in Group B, and faced old nemeses Del Potro and Federer, recording victories over both. His third win came against Richard Gasquet. In the semi-final, the Serbian came up against Stan Wawrinka, who had finished runner-up to Nadal – and a dominant straight sets victory, 6-3, 6-3, saw him face the Spaniard in the final. Again, it took just two sets for Nole to retain his title, as he won 6-3, 6-4. It topped off a great year, in which Djokovic won the Australian Open for a second season running, as well as reach two major finals.
Djokovic’s 2014 victory was marred by injury to his opponent, Federer. The Swiss ace was forced to withdraw from the final with a back injury, the same one that had blighted much of his previous campaign. It was the first walkover in the tournament’s 45-year history, and remains the only one to this day. The edition saw a number of injuries, including Milos Raonic in the Round Robin, who had to be replaced by David Ferrer, due to a thigh strain. But Nole topped group A with three wins, over Wawrinka, Berdych and Marin Čilić. After winning each group match in straight sets, he came up against Kei Nishikori, who put up a challenge, which Nole overcame: 6-1, 3-6, 6-0, to reach the final.
2015 was a truly successful year for Djokovic. He had won three major titles: the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open – as well as reaching the final of the French Open at Roland-Garros. His season ended with another victory, as he won the ATP Finals for a fifth time, but a fourth successive year. The number 1 seed faced Federer, Berdych and Nishikori, but faced a defeat and finished runner-up in the group. Nadal was thwarted in the semi-final, before the two foes came up against each other once more. Djokovic won when it mattered, recording a 6-3, 6-4 win over Federer to secure the title and sit one behind the Swiss ace in the all-time standings.