History of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
Men's professional tennis has always featured a year-end championship ever since Jack Kramer, the first executive director of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), implemented the Grand Prix structure of a year-long series of tennis tournaments in 1969. Right from the first Masters in Tokyo in December 1970 it became a prestigious event, and was subsequently held in Paris, Barcelona, Boston, Melbourne, Stockholm, and Houston before the year-end championship had a 13-year association with Madison Square Garden in New York from 1977 to 1989.
The prestigious tournament has been contested in major cities around the world with a rich history dating back to the birth of The Masters in 1970 in Tokyo. The Masters, which was anchored at New York's famed Madison Square Garden from 1977 to 1989, evolved into the ATP Tour World Championships in 1990. German cities Frankfurt and Hannover shared the event through 1999 and in 2000 the event was rebranded Tennis Masters Cup.
Ilie Nastase won four titles from five consecutive finals appearances between 1971-75. John McEnroe won the first of his three titles in 1978 in his hometown of New York. Bjorn Borg won back-to-back titles in 1979-80 and Ivan Lendl reached nine consecutive finals from 1980-88 and shares the record for most circuit finale titles (5) with Pete Sampras.
From 1990-99 the tournament was known as the ATP Tour World Championships and was held in the German cities of Frankfurt and Hannover. Sampras' five titles during this period included an epic win in the 1996 final against home favourite Boris Becker. The American won 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4), 6-7(11), 6-4 in one of the greatest matches of the decade.
The Tennis Masters Cup was created on December 9, 1999. On that day, the Grand Slam Committee, the ITF and the ATP Tour announced that the ATP Tour World Championship and the men's Grand Slam Cup (1990-1999) would be discontinued and a new jointly-owned, year-end men's tournament to be known as the Tennis Masters Cup was created.
In a dramatic beginning to the Tennis Masters Cup in 2000 in Lisbon, Gustavo Kuerten became the first South American to rank year-end No. 1 after stunning Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi in the semi-finals and final. Lleyton Hewitt (on left) won on home soil in Sydney in 2001 and in Shanghai the following year. Roger Federer then clinched back-to-back titles in Houston (2003-04) before the finale returned to Shanghai for a four-year period. David Nalbandian upset Federer 7-6 in the fifth set to take the 2005 title before Federer again won consecutive crowns in 2006-07. Shanghai hosted its fourth consecutive and final Tennis Masters Cup in 2008 with Novak Djokovic lifting the trophy, before the event was reborn in 2009 as the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals to be held in the heart of London at the O2 arena from 2009 to 2012. Nikolay Davydenko won the 2009 edition, while Federer lifted his fifth title in 2010. Nikolay Davydenko won the 2009 edition, before Federer lifted back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011, becoming the first player to win the circuit finale six times.
Best Winning Percentage
|1||Roger Federer||6||2003-04, '06-07, '10-11|
|2||Ivan Lendl||5||1981-82, '85-'87|
|Pete Sampras||5||1991, '94, '96-97, '99|
|4||Ilie Nastase||4||1971-73, '75|
|5||Boris Becker||3||1988, '92, '95|
|6||John McEnroe||3||1978, '83-84|
Most Years Qualified
|1||Andre Agassi||14||1988-91, '94, '96, '98-03|
|3||Boris Becker||11||1985-92, '94-96|
|Jimmy Connors||11||1972-73, '77-84, '87|
|7||Stefan Edberg||9||1985-90, '92-94|
|John McEnroe||9||1978-85, '89|
|9||Guillermo Vilas||8||1974-77, '79-82|
All-Time Match Wins Leaders