Novak Djokovic will bid to become the first player in history to capture four successive ATP World Tour Finals singles titles. The Serbian is spending his 172nd week ranked no.1, which is fifth-most.
Djokovic is the bona fide favourite for the tournament, with 10 Tour events and three grand slams under his belt.
‘This has been, by far, the most successful season of my life and I just try to better it,’ he said.
“In terms of the grand slams, this has been a better season than 2011,” Djokovic, who would have won all four but for an inspired Stanislas Wawrinka in the French Open final, said in an interview with Sport Magazine.
“It’s about the overall feeling of my game — the way I play and the way I feel on the court. I’m a more complete player physically; technically I’ve improved since 2011, and mentally I’m more stable.”
The Serb was drawn in the Stan Smith group with Roger Federer, Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori
“These groups were going to be tough regardless of who was going to be in the group,” said Federer. “But I’m excited to be back and can’t wait for it to start.”
Although both Kei Nishikori and Tomas Berdych can be dangerous when they get into a certain groove and form, Novak and Roger are the heavy favorites to advance to the semis of the event.
The Illie Nastase Group is led by British No.1 Andy Murray.
The Scot who had plans to skip the event in order to preparе for the Davis Cup Final against Belgium, will now go up against Rafael Nadal, Stan Warwinka and David Ferrer.
I haven’t played against Stan for a long time. All the matches are tough ones but there should be some tough ones too,’ he said. ‘I feel good, I feel fresh and hopefully I can play some good tennis this week. I feel good about it (the forthcoming final). I have been practising at Queen’s on clay for the past four days.’
This is a really balanced group and with in-form Nadal and always ready to surprise Wawrinka, the 2 who will advance further are pure mystery. Not to mention that Andy trains on 2 surfaces due to Davis Cup being held on clay and the Finals on Indoor Hard.
The winner of each group will be placed in separate semi-final brackets, with the top player in Group Stan Smith playing the runner-up in Group Ilie Nastase and vice versa.
For each Round Robin win players get 200 points, semi-final win brings 400 points, and the win in the finals is worth 500 additional points. Undefeated champion can earn 1500 points.
And while the Men will kick start the World Tour Finals on Sunday, another major competition will be happening a day earlier in Prague – The Fed Cup Final.
Czech Rep. will take on Russia in the O2 arena where the teams led by Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova respectively will be trying to take home the title.
“It’s a great way to finish off the year playing with two of the best players,” said Sharapova .
“It’s definitely a very new experience. I’ve been part of the team on different occasions but never in the final.”
“I know how difficult an opponent they are and it will be a great challenge for me,” said Sharapova.
“We are coming into these finals as the underdogs,” she added.
Russian captain Anastasia Myskina said she was excited to have Sharapova on the team.
“Definitely it’s very important to have Maria on the team and I want to say thank you” – said Myskina
“They have the highest-ranking player and a permanent doubles pair” of Vesnina and Makarova, said Czech captain Petr Pala, if the tie goes the distance and could be decided with the doubles 5-th match
“The chances are perfectly even – Pala added
“With Maria, it’s always a matter of the few chances she gives you,” said Kvitova
“Left-handed rotation will help, and of course you have to fight until the end. Sharapova doesn’t give up until the last point.”
The Czechs lead the h2h 3-2
The 5 matches are as it follows,with possible replacements and changes on Sunday
R1 P. KVITOVA v A. PAVLYUCHENKOVA
R2 Ka. PLISKOVA v M. SHARAPOVA
R3 P. KVITOVA v M. SHARAPOVA
R4 Ka. PLISKOVA v A. PAVLYUCHENKOVA
R5 L. SAFAROVA/ B. STRYCOVA v E. MAKAROVA/ E. VESNINA
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