Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev Net Opening Match Wins at ATP World Tour Finals
(November 12, 2017) Second and third seeds Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev won their opening round-robin matches in Boris Beck group play at the ATP Finals on Sunday at the O2 Arena in London.
Federer, the oldest to ever qualify for this event, who is going for his seventh year-end title, defeated ATP Finals newcomer American Jack Sock 6-4, 7-6 (4) in his first match.
“Sure, I had a tactical plan with my team,” the 36-year-old Swiss said. “But very often in a first match like this, it gets thrown overboard because at the end you’re just happy to be serving well. Focus on that first, and then on the return game sort of try your best, try to keep the ball in play, and go from there.”
Federer broke Sock’s serve just once during the match -in the first game of the match.
“I missed one first serve in the first game,” Sock said. “I had my chances. He put me in some awkward positions on some of those forehands.”
In a funny moment during the match, Sock hit a shot which should have produced an easy winner for Federer. Sock stuck his rear end out and the Swiss hit the ball in the net.
“It was a big distraction, I’ll tell you that, because it was very big.” Federer said joking to media with laughter. “That’s what I should have aimed for. That target was bigger than the down-the-line court that I had.
“It’s happened sometimes in the past, but not on a big stage like this.”
After the Federer match, Rafael Nadal received his No. 1 trophy for 2017. Nadal will play his first match on Monday night against Davi
Federer was asked about the top ranking and if he had any regrets about not achieving it in 2017. “All the players were playing for maybe world No. 1,” he said. He was better throughout the year. He played more tournaments. He was incredibly successful throughout. So, no, I don’t have any regrets because I feel like in my stage of my competition, my age, either it comes to me or it doesn’t.
“He had more, you know, gas left in the tank than I did. I couldn’t play as much as I’ve wanted, or I overplayed anyway. My only regret was I would have loved to be in contention through the Montreal finals, Cincinnati, US Open. But things evaporated very quickly after he won the US Open. That’s when he made his final push, was in Asia. That was it for me really.
“In some ways I’m happy he clinched it because he deserves it. And like this, I can focus on playing the tournament, and not having to talk about that at the same time.
“But, sure, I would have loved to be it, but you can’t be it with that many tournaments, so it’s no problem for me.”
In the night session, 20-year-old Zverev ralled from 1-3 down in the third set to beat 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Zverev is the youngest participant in the ATP Finals since 2008, when Novak Djokovic qualified.
“It is different walking on here than any other stadium. The crowd, the atmosphere is amazing,” Zverev said.
“There were a lot of nerves involved in my first match. Obviously I‘m happy that’s behind me. I‘m happy that I won.”
Zverev will play Federer on Tuesday. “I think anyone beating Federer in this group has a good chance of passing (reaching the semifinals) he said. “But he’s the favorite definitely in all of the matches he plays.
“I played him a few times this year now. I played him three times, if you count the Hopman Cup match we played. Obviously, all of them were great matches. Hopefully it can be another one.”
“But he’s the favorite definitely in all of the matches he plays. But I enjoy playing in front of big stages, big crowds.”
Zverev defeated Federer in the final of the Montreal Masters back in August.