The ATP World Tour Finals title and year-end, No. 1 ranking are on the line in London this week, with Tennis Channel and ESPN 2 covering all the action from the 02 Arena from Nov. 9-16.
Current leader Novak Djokovic is looking for his third straight ATP World Tour Finals crown, while No. 2 Roger Federer is eyeing a record seventh title in this event that could propel him to reclaim the No. 1 ranking.
It’s a long shot for the 33-year-old Federer, who not only has to win the event, but see Djokovic not make it out of the group stage in the eight-man round-robin tournament. Thereafter, Federer and fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka have to go to France and secure the Davis Cup later this month.
Whether things play out that way on the courts is why tennis fans watch, but the action at 02 culminates a transitional year in the men’s game that saw Wawrinka and Marin Cilic break The Big Four’s stranglehold on the Grand Slams by winning the Australian and U.S. Open, respectively. Djokovic won at Wimbledon, while Rafa Nadal, who is missing the ATP World Tour Finals as he recovers from an appendectomy, affirmed his stature as King of Clay with his ninth title at Roland Garros.
With Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro injured and David Ferrer slowing, the 2014 ATP World Tour Finals features newcomers in Cilic, the man he topped at the U.S. Open, Kei Nishikori, and hard-serving Canadian Milos Raonic.
In London, the competitors are divided into a pair of fours. Group A features Djokovic (1), Wawrinka (4), Czech Tomas Berdych (7) and Cilic (9).
Federer (2) is joined in Group B by Nishikori (5), Raonic (8) and Andy Murray (6), the Scot and 2013 Wimbledon champion who calls London home.
There is also doubles doings, with the top-seeded Bryan brothers looking to punctuate their 2014 with their 103 title overall and fourth ATP World Tour Finals title, which would be their first since 2009. Mike and Bob will compete against Alexander Peya-Bruno Soares (3), Jean-Julien Rojer-Horia Tecau (5) and Lukasz Kubot-Roberto Lindstedt (9) in Group A.
The No. 2 team of Daniel Nestor, Nenad Zimonjic leads Group B, where they will battle Julien Benneteau-Edouard Roger-Vasselin (4), Marcel Granollers-Marc Lopez (6) and Ivan Dodig-Marcelo Melo (7).
Tennis begins its 120 hours of coverage, including 50 live hours with the Nov. 9 doubles match between Benneteau-Roger-Vasselin and Granollers-Lopez , followed by Nishikori and Murray. The night session from London showcases Nestor-Zimonjic versus Dodig-Melo and Raonic-Federer. Brett Haber, Tracey Austin, Jimmy Arias and Justin Gimelstob will call the action for Tennis (see schedule below).
ESPN2 gets in the game on Nov. 13, picking up the ball from ESPN3 (see schedule below). The McEnroe Brothers, Patrick and John, will be aided by Darren Cahil from courtside.
Tennis Channel's 2014 ATP World Tour Finals Schedule: (All matches are live unless otherwise indicated.)
ESPN and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, London
* - Tape delayed from Saturday, live on ESPN3.
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