October 7, 2015

Wawrinka Qualifies for ATP World Tour Finals

Stan Wawrinka

(September 9, 2015) LONDON – Stan Wawrinka has qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the third year in a row after beating Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 on Wednesday in New York to reach the US Open semi-finals.

The Swiss is the fourth player to book his place in the elite eight-man field. He will join World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer at the prestigious season finale, to be held at The O2 in London from 15-22 November.

Kei Nishikori, Tomas Berdych, two-time former finalist Rafael Nadal and 2007 runner-up David Ferrer all feature in the Top 8 of the Emirates ATP Race To London standings, with four singles spots left up for grabs.

“I can’t wait to return to The O2,” Wawrinka said. “I reached the semi-finals the last two years and love playing there. The competition will be very tough as usual but I hope to go further this year.”

Wawrinka reached the semi-finals on his first two appearances at The O2 in 2013 (l. to Djokovic) and 2014 (l. to Federer).

Wawrinka opened his 2015 campaign with victory at the Aircel Chennai Open (d. Bedene) and reached the semi-finals on his title defence at the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic). After capturing the Rotterdam title in February (d. Berdych), Wawrinka would go on to claim his second major title at Roland Garros in May, denying Djokovic the career Grand Slam with victory in the final in Paris. One month later, he reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals (l. to Gasquet).

The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals has welcomed more than 1.5 million fans to The O2 arena over the past six years, establishing itself as the biggest indoor tennis tournament in the world since moving to London in 2009. Tickets can be purchased at: www.BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com.

ATP News Release


Roger Federer Qualifies for ATP World Tour Finals

News Release www.BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com
8 September 2015


LONDON – Roger Federer has punched his ticket to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals after reaching the US Open quarter-finals on Monday night in New York. Federer, who will break his own record with a 14th successive appearance, joins Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in the elite eight-man field at the season finale, to be held at The O2 in London from 15-22 November. He will be looking to win his seventh crown.

The 34-year-old Swiss is the most successful player to compete at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, compiling a 48-11 record and claiming a record six titles in 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2010-11.

Stan Wawrinka, this year’s Roland Garros champion, Kei Nishikori, Tomas Berdych, two-time former finalist Rafael Nadal and 2007 runner-up David Ferrer all feature in the Top 8 of the Emirates ATP Race To London standings, bidding to join Djokovic, Murray and Federer with five singles spots left up for grabs.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to qualify so early,” Federer said. “I can’t believe it has been 14 years in a row and I look forward to returning to London in November.  The atmosphere there is truly amazing.”

Federer is through to the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows for the 11th time after defeating John Isner 7-6(0), 7-6(6), 7-5 and next will face Richard Gasquet. The Basel native is bidding to win his sixth US Open crown and 18th Grand Slam championship this week.

Federer has captured five ATP World Tour titles this season, including victory at the Western & Southern Open, an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Cincinnati two weeks before the US Open, where he beat Djokovic in the final. His other four trophies came at the Brisbane International (d. Raonic), the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (d. Djokovic), the TEP BNP Paribas Istanbul Open (d. Cuevas) and at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle (d. Seppi).

The right-hander was also runner-up to Djokovic in the Wimbledon final and at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells and Rome.

The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals has welcomed more than 1.5 million fans to The O2 arena over the past six years, establishing itself as the biggest indoor tennis tournament in the world since moving to London in 2009.


Novak Djokovic Qualifies For 2015 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals

228 Djokovic being interviewed-001

From the ATP World Tour: LONDON – ATP World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will bid to become the first player in history to capture four successive Barclays ATP World Tour Finals singles titles after sealing his qualification for this year’s prestigious season-ending tournament, held from 15-22 November at The O2 in London.

Djokovic became the first player to secure his spot after defeating nine-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal in the Paris quarter-finals on Wednesday. The 28-year-old Serb is looking to become the eighth man in history to complete the career Grand Slam by triumphing at Roland Garros this week.

Djokovic has a 23-9 record at the season finale and has not been beaten in his past three appearances, lifting the trophy as the undefeated champion in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The Belgrade native also triumphed on his second tournament appearance in 2008, when the event was staged in Shanghai.

Anticipating his ninth successive appearance at the Final Showdown, Djokovic said, “I had a great start to 2015 so I am really happy to have qualified so early. I hope I will have a great finish to the year too; I love playing at The O2 and have had great results there.”

ATP Executive Chairman and President, Chris Kermode, said, “Novak is having another incredible season on the ATP World Tour and fully deserves his place as the first qualifier for this year’s season finale. He continues to set the benchmark at the top of the game and it will be fascinating to see him going for a historic fourth successive crown at The O2 in London. We look forward to welcoming him back in November.”

Djokovic is currently on a 27-match winning streak heading into the Roland Garros semi-finals, where he will face Andy Murray on Friday.

Since finishing runner-up to Roger Federer at the ATP World Tour 500 event in Dubai in February, the Serb has swept four of the first five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments of the season in Indian Wells (d. Federer), Miami (d. Murray), Monte-Carlo (d. Berdych) and Rome (d. Federer). He did not play in Madrid. Djokovic began the season by claiming his eighth Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open with victory over Murray.

The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals has welcomed more than 1.5 million fans to The O2 arena over the past six years, establishing itself as the biggest indoor tennis tournament in the world since moving to London in 2009. Tickets can be purchased at: www.BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com.


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:



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.


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.


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.


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


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.


Federer and Nishikori reign supreme in Group B at ATP World Tour Finals

Roger Federer photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Roger Federer photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Chalkdust Chronicles: Federer and Nishikori reign supreme in Group B at ATP World Tour Finals

(November 13, 2014) LONDON – Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori qualified from Group B to advance to the knockout stages of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.


The Japanese player had to wait for his confirmation, but his win over alternate David Ferrer pushed Federer into the semi-finals. Nishikori was scheduled to face Milos Raonic, who was 0-2 already in the competition, but despite practicing earlier, he pulled out with a quad injury a couple of hours before the match was due to start.

The Canadian explained: “It was just something I sustained during my last match. Through extensive sort of research with the doctor’s team here, we found that I have a slight tear on the vastus medialis on my quad.”


On medical advice he was told that taking to the court could mean putting himself out of action for a considerable amount of time.


“Losing six to eight weeks of solely rehab sort of means you lose 12 weeks of getting back into shape and everything, those are definitely significant factors in my decision. At some points I didn’t want to accept it and listen to it. But it is what it is. I, alongside my team, all the staff with the ATP, made the best decision I believe.”


So it was left to David Ferrer to step in with the scenarios changing, and for the first time the crowd were treated to a three-set match as the Spaniard took advantage of a lapse in Nishikori’s level to edge the first set, but an early break at the start of the second sent the momentum back Nishikori’s way, as he ran away with it in the third set claiming th amtch 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.


“It’s never easy playing against David because he’s very consistent from the baseline,” said Nishikori. “If I want to win, I have to do something to break his tennis. From the second set, I was more aggressive. The final set was almost perfect.”

The final match alas did not live up to its promise, as Roger Federer blasted Andy Murray off the court 6-0, 6-1. After holding his first game, Federer went on a tear to win 10 games in a row before the battered Brit finally got a game on the board, only for Federer to wrap up the set in less than an hour.


After the match Federer said: “I think if there’s a slight difference of the level from the baseline, hard to get out of it. We’ve seen it all week. The serve doesn’t have that much impact. I didn’t even necessarily serve so well. But you got to play the right way here, use the court to your advantage as much as you can.


He continued: “But I had the upper hand from the baseline, which hasn’t always happened against him. But I definitely was able to play on my terms. For me, things went very well. I was able to put Andy under pressure very often, and I think the match couldn’t have gone any better for me really.”



Coming straight into his post-match news conference Murray admitted: “He played exceptionally well. I can say I’m disappointed with my level tonight. But if I played well, he probably still would have won anyway. He was striking the ball very, very clean. Made very few mistakes. Was hitting the ball off the middle of the racquet on serve, returns.”


Murray is on best-man duty for best friend Ross Hutchins next week and has just 14 days before the start of the International Premier Tennis League, where he will be playing in a series of exhibition events, before playing in the Mubadala World Tennis Championships and the Hopman Cup ahead of the start of the season.


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


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.