How great Federer stacks up as he eyes 100th title

May JohnsonNov 12, 2018

I'm not going to recommend something that my numbers don't advocate, and I'll be back tomorrow to preview the two matches in the Kuerten group, as well as all week as the tournament continues.

Zverev, who won three titles this year in Washington, Madrid and Munich, is very much seen among the next generation of tennis stars in the men's game but it is not just a changing of the guard he wants to see. Irrespective of whether he wins loses or doesn't play, people can not find a reason to hate him.

"Next to the Grand Slams and the ATP Finals, being No1 is probably the ultimate challenge in our sport".

The American has been virtually a fixture in the top 20 for the better part of a decade but finally secured a place in the final-eight showdown after making back-to-back slam quarter-finals and winning the biggest title of his career in Miami.

Roger Federer got the audience award and Rafael Nadal - award Stefan Edberg for "fair play". If the Serb can win his first ATP Finals title since 2015, he will equal Federer's record of six crowns.

"What I like about my career is that no one knows what's going to happen", the Swiss ace said.

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The title is contested by the eight players who have accumulated the most ranking points over the season and is in a round-robin format, with the best four players reaching the knockout semi-finals stage. Even now I preach to the younger players, "Take time off". Against Kevin and Kei, I've had matches this year, which went both ways. "I just thought at the time it might take more time than I wished it to be".

Nishikori qualified for the tournament, which starts at O2 Arena on Sunday, when Juan Martin del Potro withdrew due to a right knee injury. No.6 South African Kevin Anderson, enjoying the best phase of his career at age 32, makes his debut in the tournament and remains its most risky floater, while the presence of No.10 John Isner, Nadal's replacement, will increase the chances of at least one marathon match next week.

World No.10 Isner is set to face Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Marin Cilic in his pool and says it's a huge opportunity.

"I think it would prevent players from taking the towel after every double fault, mis-hit return because sometimes it gets a little ridiculous in my eyes", he said.

This evening's match features the tournament second favourite - and favourite for the Hewitt group - Roger Federer, as he meets Kei Nishikori.

Nadal now has 80 singles titles to his name, including 11 French Open wins and, aged just 32, could conceivably move up the list in years to come.

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