2014/12/17

ATP Announces Prize Money Increases Topping $100 Million in 2015

ATP

(December 12, 2014) ATP tour prize money will top $100 million for the first time in 2015. The ATP prize money will increase over the next four years and reach $135 million by 2018.

The Masters 1000 tournaments will see the biggest increases with an overall 14-percent hike over the next four years, while the 250 events will go up by an average of 3.5 percent.

The official ATP news release on the increases:

 LONDON — The ATP has announced significant increases over the next four years that will see overall player compensation on the ATP World Tour reach US$135 million by 2018. Player compensation at ATP World Tour events in 2015 will exceed US$100 million for the first time.

The increases at ATP events are a testament to the sustained success of men’s professional tennis, as well as demonstrating the ATP’s confidence in the strength of its product and projected growth in future years.

The biggest increases in player compensation come at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 category, with tournaments providing annual increases of 11%, and with the ATP contributing a further 3% increase, resulting in a 14% annual increase in that category through to 2018. Player compensation at the ATP World Tour 250s is set to increase at an average of 3.5% per year during the same period.

The latest decisions at Masters 1000 and 250-level mean that player compensation is now confirmed across all three ATP World Tour tournament categories for a four-year period. Player compensation for a five-year period for the ATP World Tour 500 category was decided at the end of 2013.

In addition to establishing player compensation levels on the Tour, the ATP will soon be releasing its 2016-18 calendars, meaning both these key issues will be accounted for over the next four-year period.

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Federer Withdraws from Year-End Final with Back Injury

Federer on changeover

Chalkdust Chronicles – Sad end to a low-key tournament

 

(November 16, 2014) LONDON – After semi-finals that finally set the tournament alight, there was an audible gasp from the crowds who had gathered for the Finals as Roger Federer wandered out in a cardigan and trousers to announce that he was pulling out of the ATP World Tour Finals with World No. 1 and two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic.

 

The rumors had already been circulating when he had not shown up for practice, having opted for one of the courts in the public area and not on the main court.

 

As the announcement was made to media to take to the court for the announcement, it seemed a fitting end to one of the strangest tournaments, with the only shining lights being the semi-finals.

 

“Unfortunately I’m not match fit,” Federer said to the crowd at the O2 Arena. “I tried everything I could last night, also today: painkillers, treatment, rest, so forth, warm-up, until the very end. But I just can’t compete at this level with Novak. It would be too risky at my age to do this right now and I hope you understand.”

In a muted on-court presentation, for his third consecutive title, Djokovic said:

“I feel really sorry for Roger. If he could have come out and played, he would have done.”

 

People who had paid good money for the tickets over the entire week have been disappointed over the week with heavy one-sided matches in the singles until the semi-finals.

 

However the gasping audience were partially mollified with the news that Djokovic would be playing Andy Murray in a pro-set followed by another exhibition match pitting Murray with John McEnroe against Tim Henman and Pat Cash.

 

Meanwhile Swiss thoughts must turn to how they mentally and physically prepare for the Davis Cup on French clay, as that had to have been part of Federer’s decision to pull out.

 

A further complication arises as John McEnroe hinted at a fall out with the Swiss team that went on well into the night. During the match Wawrinka had seemed to have an angry altercation with someone in Federer’s box, and with them being the mainstays of the Swiss team, could spell a mental triumph for the French team before they all even step on court.

 

The World Tour Finals of 2014 will not be known as one of the classics, and if next year should be its last year in London, hopefully it will go out with a bang, and not the whimper of this year.

 

 

Federer’s message on his Facebook page:

fedpullout

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Tournament thriller to set up World 1 Djokovic versus No. 2 Federer in the ATP World Tour Finals

Chalkdust Chronicles – Tournament thriller to set up World 1 Djokovic versus No. 2 Federer in the ATP World Tour Finals

 

(November 15, 2014) LONDON – After a week of sometimes lackluster performances at the ATP World Tour Finals, finally the crowds had something to shout about as Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka battled through an intense three-setter, with Wawrinka just being edged out by the most heartbreaking of margins 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(6), unable to take advantage of any of the four match points he held.

 

That Federer won is no surprise, but to come from a set down after being left standing as Wawrinka built up a double break was not in the script. Maybe nerves caught up with him the first time he tried to serve out the first set as the always dangerous Federer clawed back one of the breaks, and Wawrinka did the deed on the second time of asking.

 

The quality certainly did not diminish in the second set as Federer still failed to capitalize on his opportunities to push into a decider sooner rather than later.

 

Soon it would be Wawrinka’s turn to send a match-point begging, and beating each other up into the deciding set tie-break, Federer got the predictably more confident start. By the time Wawrinka got himself in the lead again, he was starting to feel the effects of the match, cramping up. With Davis Cup around the corner, Federer opted to go for the attack, finally saving four match-points and taking one of his own with a cutting drop volley to set up the final the organizers were longing for.

 

“For sure that game at the end I was nervous,” Wawrinka said in regard to failing to serve out the match. “You make some choice, especially when you’re tired, when you’re nervous. Just wanted to go for it and not wait for mistake.”

 

“I got lucky tonight,” admitted Federer. “Stan played better from the baseline and that usually does the job on this court. But I kept fighting. It’s tough but I’m thrilled to be in another final in London. Novak is playing great tennis. It usually brings the best out of me.”

 

Federer will face off against world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Federer is seeking his seventh year-end title, while Djokovic is looking for his third in sucession.

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Djokovic endures stormy weather to down Nishikori in three sets

Chalkdust Chronicles – Djokovic ensures stormy weather to down Nishikori in three sets

(November 15, 2014) LONDON – Two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic showed the first cracks to his super-human armor when he took three sets to halt Kei Nishikori’s bid to reach the title match of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals – winning 6-1, 3-6, 6-0.

 

At first it could not have looked more routine. The tournament has been almost plagued by one-sided matches, and after breaking the Japanese player in his second service game, Djokovic piled on the pressure as Nishikori seemed to struggle to get any purpose on his shots.

 

Nishikori has been struggling with a wrist injury all week, and with constant returns by the trainer to treat and tape the wrist, it looked as though this would all be over very quickly when Djokovic started the second set with an immediate break.

 

The semi-final crowds wanted to see a good contest and threw their support firmly behind Nishikori, gamely cheering on a Djokovic double-fault which earned Nishikori a break, and in return they were rewarded with a less than appreciated hand clap from Djokovic.

 

The immediate break back seemed to give Nishikori a new lease of life as Djokovic’s lapses in concentration and shot selection opened the door, and Nishikori wasted no time in leveling the match.

 

With two break points up on Djokovic at the start of the deciding set, the Serb dug deep and clawed back to register a vital hold and from there, Nishikori’s resolve left him as Djokovic raced through the set, leaving the final blow for Nishikori to deliver himself, with a double-fault on match point.

 

After the match, he believed he had the chances in the final set, despite the apparent one-sidedness of it all

 

Nishikori said: “The first set he played really good, too good for me. But second set I start playing well. He got little bit tight. I took some risk. Everything worked well in the second. I was playing well. Even first couple points in third set, I thought I had it. I think I start thinking too much about he’s No. 1 player, Novak. I think I risked too much. I think I did too many unforced errors first couple games. Then he start playing better.”

 

He continued: “You know, it’s very disappointing because I think if I little bit change I could be I think little more closer in the third set. But it was good one week.”

 

It has been an outstanding run for the Japanese player who has made history this year, reaching a Grand Slam final, reaching the highest rank for an Asian player and now reaching the World Tour finals for the first time, and making the semi-finals on his debut.

 

But it has been a long season and has been beset with injuries – so his plans for the new season have to take into account the pressure it will take to stay at the top of the game.

 

He explained: “Maybe mentally little bit tired because I had to fight couple tight moment, especially in Paris. I had to win couple matches to get in here. US Open was first experience to go final and play seven matches, five sets. But I think physically I show that I could, you know, play seven matches, play two times five sets. I think physically I’m getting strong.

 

“I think it’s going to be very important I do well this December, a lot of train, good practice, try to prepare for next year.”

 

It was a strangely subdued Djokovic who faced the press, cryptically refusing to answer why he opted to sign the camera with just a full-stop instead of his usual message, and why he reacted to the crowd cheering the double-fault break-point.

 

“Honestly, today I found it a little bit difficult mentally to stay concentrated throughout the whole match. After emotional three matches I had, especially yesterday when I achieved the goal to finish as No. 1 of the world, knowing that, I felt a little bit, I would say, flat emotionally today. I needed a little bit more time to kind of give myself a boost.

 

“I was fortunate because in the beginning of the third set, he had breakpoints. If he broke me, the match could have gone either way. I managed to find that little bit of strength and get a win today. “

 

There is a real sense that the end of the season cannot com quick enough, especially for the World No. 1 who was also low key in his press conference yesterday after reclaiming the World No. 1 spot.

 

“Tomorrow is the last match of the season. Of course, it’s one of the biggest tournaments in the world, aside of the Grand Slams. This is already the biggest possible motivation. I will try to give everything I have.”

 

Djokovic will face either Roger Federer or Stan Wawrinka in Sunday’s final.

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Wawrinka pushed after early qualification

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

Chalkdust Chronicles: Wawrinka pushed after early qualification

 

(November 14, 2014) LONDON – Stan Wawrinka qualified for the finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, but then had to battle past Marin Cilic in three sets.

 

For many it was maybe a foregone conclusion that there would be an all-Swiss semi-final as Roger Federer qualified at the top of his group on Thursday. But the US Open champion also had an agenda to try and finish his season strongly, as he leveled the match and even kept the momentum at the start of the second going up a break.

 

Maybe Wawrinka’s experience shone through, as he fought back to reclaim the deficit before going on to seal the victory 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Cilic, who had not really shown the style and consistency he proved he was capable of can feel happier with a win on his debut in London.

 

“I was eager to play better. That’s what I was focused on, to finish the season with a good matches, a good match. So it happened like that. So happy with my performance today.”

 

More importantly, it sets up Cilic for the forthcoming season, now just a few weeks away.

 

“To finish the year over here, it’s I think extremely important for me for next year, too. I am extremely satisfied, of course, where my game has developed. I feel that for next year it’s going to be also a bit easier considering the draws I’m going to be getting with the status of being seeded.”

 

Wawrinka faces an uphill task when he faces Federer on Saturday. He has beaten his Davis Cup team-mate just twice, both times on clay in Monte Carlo. Although he has more recently taken Federer to three sets on hard courts, playing him indoors is another matter entirely.

 

“It’s going to be a tough match for me, for sure. But I will have to play my best game if I have a chance to beat him. I know I can do it. I know it’s going to be very difficult.

 

“I have seen him play the first three match. It’s always the same. Indoor, if you don’t stay with him at the beginning, then it start to be really tough. He goes quick, putting so much pressure, serving well. The beginning of the match will be really important for me.”

 

Federer and Wawrinka will play in the night session on Saturday, as the crowds hope that the tournament is about to really catch light.

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Djokovic delivers killer blow to clinch the year-end No. 1 ranking

DjokovicYENo120142

Chalkdust Chronicles: Djokovic delivers killer blow to clinch the year-end No. 1

 

(November 14, 2014) LONDON – Novak Djokovic dispatched Tomas Berdych in short order 6-2, 6-2 to regain with year-end No. 1 spot on Friday, as he went 3-0 in the round-robin stage of the Barclays ATP World Tour Final.

 

Although Berdych has the slimmest of chances (Wawrinka has to only win three games to advance) but in a week where the scores have been bizarrely low to say the lest, Berdych seems intent on packing, answering a definitive “no” when asked if there was still a possibility he could win.

 

Djokovic was in devastating form right from the start of the match, breaking immediately to race out to a 3-0 lead in both sets. It was all that Berdych could do to get more than one game on the board, as Djokovic sealed his place in the semi-finals with the first set, before clinching the year-end No. 1 spot with his win, as well as finishing on top of the group.

 

Berdych, who was straight into press, praised Djokovic’s achievement.

 

“Well, definitely he deserves to win. There was no question about it. He just secure his spot for the No. 1 player in the world. I think it just show how great he is, how well he played during the whole season.”

 

He continued: “I find the court very tricky, very challenging. It doesn’t allow you for any mistakes. In my word, I think it’s very slow. You know, for us who wants to hit the serve and try to play aggressive, it’s very difficult. So that’s why we kind of struggle with that.”

 

For someone who had just regained the No. 1 spot, Djokovic was in contemplative move, with a job still to do as he bids for his fourth season-ending title.

 

He said; “It’s difficult to say what is more important. But both these goals are always my goals in the beginning of the season. So I’m glad I managed to achieve both. To win a Grand Slam in one season and be No. 1.”

 

Djokovic will face Kei Nishikori who qualified out of Group B in second place, and although they split their head to head, Djokovic lost to him in the US Open semi-final, before beating him handily in Paris.

 

He surmised: “It’s obvious that he’s experiencing the best season of his life. He’s top 5 of the world. He’s playing some great tennis. He’s one of the quickest players around. Deservedly he’s in semifinals only on his debut.”

 

Djokovic added: “I expect a tougher match than it was in Paris, that’s for sure. But, again, the conditions indoor and outdoor, where I lost to him in US Open, are quite different. I’m feeling pretty confident playing now, as well as he. So it’s going to be a good, high‑class tennis.”

Djokovic and Nishikori will play in the day session on Saturday.

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James Blake Hosts Foundation Event at Brooks Brothers; Discusses His Own Tennis Future

James Blake and Brooks Brothers CEO Claudio Del Vecchio

James Blake and Brooks Brothers CEO Claudio Del Vecchio

(November 13, 2014) NEW YORK, NY – Former top American tennis player and world No. 4 James Blake played host to a kick-off “Serving for a Cure” shopping event at the Brooks Brothers flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York City on Thursday night to benefit his foundation.

Blake’s foundation raises funds for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, specifically the Thomas Blake Sr. Memorial Research Fund, which supports early detection cancer research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Blake began “Serving for a Cure” in 2005 a year after he lost his father Thomas to cancer. The fund is named after his father.

Blake talked about the beginning of his foundation: “I wanted to do something one time as a memorial for him, and it turned out that the support I had that first year made me feel that I couldn’t stop at one. It’s been going strong ever since and now it feels like it’s never going to stop which is a really good thing and I’m proud of it. We passed the million dollar donation mark to Memorial Sloane Kettering.

“My father unfortunately was detected so late, but once he was a patient at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, he said it was like night and day. The treatment there was great, the research was unbelievable. They tried everything they could and we just want to give everyone a fighting chance. That’s why our research for early detection, we want give people a chance to beat the disease.”

In addition to his own philanthropic endeavors, the current Westport, Connecticut resident, commented on how dedicated players on the ATP Tour are to charity.

James Blake

“It’s kind of like the spirit of community,” said Blake. “We’re all in the same locker room together. We’re all not really part of the same team, like in team sports but it feels like it. We see what the others are doing and we see the example set at the top especially. Some of the older guys when I was growing up. -I saw (Andre) Agassi, I saw (Pete) Sampras, a lot of guys who were doing right by the rest of the world. It made me think that I’d want to do the same.

“Once something so personal hit my family, it made me realize I can make a difference in a positive way, because most of our lives as a tennis player are selfish. We’re playing tennis and doing it for ourselves.”

“I hope the young guys – the Sam Querrey’s , the John Isner’s, the Jack Sock’s, the Donald Young’s, they want to make difference too whatever way they can,” Blake continued.

Since Blake’s retirement from the tennis tour in 2013, he still is active in tennis in one form or another.

“Well I helped Jack Sock a little bit,” he said. “I also have stayed close with the USTA and with Katrina Adams becoming the new president. I’m proud of her and hopefully I’ll be able to be part of the staff soon if that comes to be we’ll see. But right now I’m mainly focusing on my family, being at home and spending a lot of time with two little girls, that definitely keeps me pretty busy.”

Blake admitted that he likes coaching but there are some drawbacks.

“I like it but I don’t like to travel, I don’t like being on the road 30 weeks out of the year like I was when I was playing,” he said.

“So in terms of Jack (Sock) I just helped him with some of the bigger picture stuff- to be able to talk to him on the phone and helping keep his mind set the right way, because he’s got a full time coach, I don’t want to interfere with that, I’m not dealing with the X’s and O’s, strokes and stuff. I’m more of a mentor and a friend, someone that’s going to be a sounding board for him.

“He’s going through a lot of stuff I was going through at his age, so I just want to be that resource that can help him. If I can do that for others, that would be something in the future that I’d be proud to be a part of. I went through it all and hopefully have others have that knowledge as well.”

Blake who was a member of the 2007 Davis Cup championship team told Tennis Panorama News that down the line he’d like to be the U. S. Davis Cup Captain. “I thought about it the first time I played Davis Cup,” he said. “I would love to have that opportunity and it’s something that’s such an honor. Jim’s (Courier) doing a great job. I know it won’t be for a long time to get a chance because I know Jim’s got a pretty good handle on it. There would be no reason to make a change anytime soon. Hopefully I have plenty more years to have that opportunity and if it ever comes my way, I won’t pass it up, that’s for sure.”

Blake had the opportunity to be in the broadcast booth for Tennis Channel as an analyst in February 2013 when the U. S. played a first round Davis Cup tie against Brazil in Jacksonville, Florida.

“I thought it was going to be much more natural than it was,” said of the transition to working on television.

“I worked with Brett Haber, who is a true professional ad he really helped me. I got better through the weekend.”

“The biggest thing was when to talk and when not to talk, because I felt like I needed to say more and he said it was ok to let the tennis do the talking, that actually made it easy for me to get better and just let the players do the talking on the court. I was getting better. It still feels there is a lot more work for me to get to anyone’s level like Bret Haber, John McEnroe and the people who have been doing it for years, but it’s something that’s fun and I think it helps me that I played again most of the guys I’m commentating on, so I don’t need to do as much work on the scouting reports I’ve already done that.”

 

Blake entertains doing more television work in the future. “It’s something that was fun the first few times I did it. I think it would be great to stay close to the sport. It may give me an opportunity to stay involved as it gets closer to a time if I have the opportunity to be Davis Cup captain but it is a good way to stay involved. It may be tough for me to stay objective. I maybe have a few favorites especially with the Americans. I like to see them doing well but I have to do my best to stay objective, just commentate on the facts.”

 

Brooks Brothers is a new sponsor for “Serving for a Cure.” “I’m really happy to be affiliated with a company with such a great tradition as Brooks Brothers. You see them at a lot of classic events, I know tennis and golf are known for that kind of classic feel and Brooks Brothers really brings that to the table.”

“When we met with James we were quite impressed with all that he’s accomplished,” said Claudio Del Vecchio, Chairman & CEO of Brooks Brothers. “It’s the same passion and dedication he shows on court that he brings to a cause that is so near to his heart.  Together we are helping to make a difference in the fight against cancer.”
Click here for more information on the James Blake Foundation.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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Djokovic supreme as he lays waste to Wawrinka

Djokovic applauds

Djokovic supreme as he lays waste to Wawrinka

 

(November 12, 2014) LONDON – In a week of strange matches, it was left to the two-time defending champion to make things interesting, by taking six minutes to be broken as Wawrinka continued his bullish approach in the second round robin match.

 

It took until the third game for Djokovic to get a handle on his service game, holding to love after the first two games involved being dragged up to deuce, and with a break to love, Djokovic rapidly brought things back to level pegging.

 

From there it went rapidly downhill for a couple of games for Wawrinka, losing the next eight points behind his serve. If it could be called a brief rally, Wawrinka managed to get another game on the board before Djokovic wrapped up the first set.

 

From there, though, Wawrinka’s game totally came apart, as errors were the only things flowing free from his racket. His forehand had let him down badly and his backhand followed suit, leaving Wawrinka nowhere to go, winning just seven points in the second set falling 6-3, 6-0.

 

He assessed his performance candidly after the match: “He put me in a position that I think a little bit too much. I’m not really clear what I’m going to do, because he’s doing everything well and he’s returning well.”

 

He continued: “The serve was not good enough. Then I start to do mistake because here the conditions are really low. His ball is always coming to me and I cannot really mix the spin and try to get higher ball to try to attack him.”

 

Djokovic is now in a commanding position not only to advance, as if that was in any doubt, into the semi-finals, but to also wrap up the year-ending No. 1 for the third time in his career.

 

He said: “I just played very solid from all over the court. I think I covered the court very well, got a lot of balls back, mixed up the pace, got him off the comfort zone. That’s something that was part of my game plan. After I lost the first two games, you know, obviously I didn’t start so great. I thought he played very well the first two games. But, again, I wasn’t frustrated. I kept my calm. After that, was a really amazing performance.”

 

Djokovic will face Tomas Berdych in the final round robin match on Friday.

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Berdych rekindles his chances he wins his second round robin match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London

Berdych applauds

Chalkdust Chronicles: Berdych rekindles his chances he wins his second round robin match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London

 

(November 12, 2014) LONDON – Almost like clockwork, Tomas Berdych put aside his very disappointing performance in the opening round against Stan Wawrinka, with a convincing win over US Open champion Marin Cilic.

 

In all five years he has played here, the tall Czech has always struggled in the opener, only to flourish later in the tournament, as he delivered a beat down on the Croatian in just an hour and a quarter, 6-3, 6-1.

 

Again, we see the uniqueness in the round-robin format perhaps come into play – where those have more experience with handling the second (and third) chance.

 

Berdych said: “I think that’s the beauty of this event. One day you can be swept out from the court like I did, or I’ve been actually, and in two days’ time you can come up and you can play a different tennis.”

 

The Czech is not out of the woods yet, as he tackles two-time defending champion up next, with the night session between Wawrinka and Djokovic to hopefully deliver the first three-setter of the tournament.

 

“I’m going to try to, you know, maybe three, four games,” he joked. “That would be better from the last time (laughter). You know, it’s always a huge challenge to play No. 1 player in the world. The way he’s playing, where are we playing, it’s pretty much all set up for him and for his game. That’s how it is.

 

“So for me it’s going to be great to play a match with him, maybe the last of the season, maybe not. But even if it’s the last one, it’s with the No. 1 player in the world. It’s really, as I said, huge challenge. I’m going to try to bring all I have what is left in me, challenge him.”

 

For Cilic, maybe mentally he had checked out of the tournament, admitting that the season has been long for him, and that he was feeling it a little.

 

“It’s, of course, a little bit disappointing to play like this. I was not expecting it. But sort of I feel a little bit tired, and body feels a little bit tired on the court. It seems that the things that I’m doing that are all basically going in a wrong direction. Especially with these guys at this kind of level, even small mistakes, or if you’re not at your best performances, the outcome is not going to be going in your favour. I haven’t also been playing last few weeks. Also the body, of course, is not at the best possible shape.”

 

He plays Stan Wawrinka in the final round robin, and after the Swiss’ fine return to form against Berdych, Cilic knows he can perhaps swing a little more freely.

 

“It’s going to be I think more pressure on Stan, that he has to win. I mean, we’ll see, I don’t know. But, anyway, I’m going to try to enjoy. I deserve to be here as a matter of having a great season. Of course, try to play well and to perform well on Friday.”

 

Cilic and Wawrinka will play in the last of the Group A round robin matches on Friday.

 

Tennis Panorama News is covering the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London.  Follow on twitter for live updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

 

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Murray on the board as errors do in Raonic

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

Chalkdust Chronicles: Murray on the board as errors do in Raonic

 

(November 11, 2014) LONDON – Andy Murray thrived with a raucous evening crowd to get his first win on the board at the Barclays ATP world Tour Finals, with a straight sets win over Milos Raonic 6-3, 7-5.

 

After a day of one-sided matches, and even the match-up between Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori earlier in the day not living up to its potential, it was down to Murray to address his head to head deficit over Raonic, who played pretty solidly in Paris before heading here.

 

Murray started with some very solid returning and was hitting with much more purpose than we saw in his first match against Nishikori, and was perhaps pressuring Raonic into rushing his shots. Certainly the Canadian was having a tougher time reigning in his first serve, and the flood of errors, especially on the forehand side over the match by far outweighed some sharp winners.

 

Raonic had little choice but to offer a frank assessment on his form, acknowledging that his first serve, a key foundation to his game, was not up to scratch.

 

“Whatever the reason is, I have 24 hours to solve it if I want to have any hope. There’s no way around that.”

 

He continued: “I’ve been too passive on the court. I’ve been trying to beat the two guys playing their tennis, and that’s going to work for me.”

 

Murray broke in the first set and kept his nose in front, but just when it seemed that the momentum was firmly with him with an early break at the start of the second, a lazy choice of drop-shot played onto Raonic’s hands to give him enough of an advantage to break straight back.

 

Murray was starting to rush a little and if anything Raonic was beginning to find that serve of his, banging down a couple of aces to threaten taking it to a tie-break or even a third set.

 

Twice Murray had to dig himself out of a 0-30 but again the Canadian was beginning to get carried away, going for too much, with Murray rewarded with another break.

 

Not that it was plain sailing at 6-5 for the Brit, with Raonic saving a match-point but Murray made no mistake at the second as yet another Raonic error gave Murray the match, but not before a cheeky little challenge by the Canadian before the inevitable.

After the match Murray said: “I obviously played better tonight. I hit the ball a lot cleaner than I did on Sunday from the beginning of the match. So that was pleasing. [I] started to try and use as much variation as possible on my second serve. So served more serves into his forehand. I wouldn’t serve like two or three serves to the same spot in a row. I would just try and use as much variation as I could so that he couldn’t be in as much of a rhythm.”

 

In a little bit of spice, Federer will have to qualify out of his third and final round robin match. He needed Murray to grind out a win in three sets to have guaranteed his place in the last four.

 

“For me it depends on the winner of the Nishikori/Raonic match. If Kei wins, then I need to beat Roger, it depends on the scoreline of that match with Kei and Raonic. If Raonic wins, then I know that all I need to do is win the match against Roger and I’ll be through.’

 

He concluded: ‘Hopefully I can get through the group and keep going. If not, playing against Roger is a good way for me to finish the year, as well.”

 

The final round-robin matches for Group B will be played on Thursday.

 

Tennis Panorama News is covering the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London.  Follow on twitter for live updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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