Federer, Djokovic win year-end ATP awards

Nishikori was ranked outside the Top 200 in January

Nishikori was ranked outside the Top 200 in January

Djokovic has finally overtaken Rafael Nadal to regain the No. 1 spot, and will be the outright favorite going into this tournament. Nadal cited an abdominal injury to close his season early - he hasn't played since the US Open.

ASB Classic Tournament Director Karl Budge says having players involved in the prestigious end of year event is a real boost for the tournament. If the Serb can win his first ATP Finals title since 2015, he will equal Federer's record of six crowns.

"I think if they stay (in London) it's definitely a good choice", the 37-year-old 20-times Grand Slam champion told a new conference on Friday as he prepared for his 16th appearance.

'I feel like he's very quickly played a top 30 level, ' said Federer of what he saw from Murray this summer.

The world No 3 has won four titles this year, including a second consecutive Australian Open, and stands on 99 career singles titles - second only to retired American Jimmy Connors, who amassed 109. He reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Toronto, and won his first title in Stockholm, as well as reached the fourth round at Wimbledon. In fact, the trio of Cilic, Zverev and Thiem collectively won two matches out of nine at the 2017 Finals and crashed out in the round-robin stage. Though both the players have had their moments on the tour, they weren't till recently been real threats at Grand Slams.

Perhaps the match most indicative of this was his straight-set demolition of Federer on the high-speed courts at the Cincinnati Masters in mid-August.

The two met heads-on in the Wimbledon semi-final.

The ATP Finals, as it is now known, began in Tokyo in 1970 and spent six years on the road before a 13-year stint in NY and a six-year stay in Frankfurt before spells in Hanover, Lisbon, Sydney, Houston and Shanghai.

Djokovic is set to end the season at the top spot after Nadal made a decision to withdraw from the London event. "I've learned that I need to be 100 per cent from the very first ball".

The ATP, the governing body of men's professional tennis, announced in August the opening of an global tender process to determine the future location of the season finale featuring the world's best eight qualified singles players and doubles teams. "You don't get any presents when you're playing against the Top 8".

It has been another long, draining season for these eight men standing. The battle royale will begin in London on Sunday, with Anderson and Thiem playing the opener.

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