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Federer & Nadal Battle To Be Crowned 2009 ATP World Tour Champion

London, England

Roger Federer© Getty ImagesRoger Federer is chasing a fifth Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who have built one of the greatest rivalries in the history of tennis, are locked in a two-man battle to be crowned 2009 ATP World Tour Champion at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

The player finishing No. 1 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings at the conclusion of the circuit finale, which begins Sunday, will clinch the prestigious 2009 ATP World Tour Champion title. Federer ruled as ATP World Tour Champion for four years between 2004-2007 before Nadal snapped the streak last season.

Federer’s quest to win the battle has historical significance. Only one player in the history of the South African Airways ATP Rankings has ever held, lost and then regained the ATP World Tour Champion title. Ivan Lendl held the year-end No. 1 South African Airways ATP Ranking between 1985-87 and finished second behind Mats Wilander in 1988 before reclaiming top spot at the end of 1989.

That Nadal remains in contention to challenge Federer for the 2009 ATP World Tour Champion title is stunning. Playing his opening match at last week’s BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, Nadal’s hopes of staying within reach of Federer looked all but gone when Nicolas Almagro led his fellow Spaniard by a set and 5-4, 40/0. But Nadal rallied and eventually saved five match points in the game before breaking Almagro’s serve. Nadal somehow conjured a victory (after again trailing in the third set) and then saw the 2009 ATP World Tour Champion battle with Federer re-ignite later the same day when the Swiss suffered a shock opening-round loss to Frenchman Julien Benneteau.

Nadal, who eventually fell to defending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals champion Novak Djokovic in the Paris semi-finals, now trails Federer by 945 points. It sounds like a lot of ground to make up, but with 1,500 points on offer to any undefeated champion in London, it’s not an insurmountable gap. 

As the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the world, Federer and Nadal will not meet in the round-robin stage, as they will be the highest seeds in their respective groups (which will be drawn Wednesday). But if they meet in the semi-finals, then that match could go a long way to determining who will be crowned 2009 ATP World Tour Champion.

Here are the key scenarios in the battle for the 2009 ATP World Tour Champion title:

1. If Nadal is an undefeated champion at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (winning all-three round-robin matches, a semi-final and final) he will earn the maximum 1,500 points. If that happens, Federer would need to either win all three round-robin matches OR reach the final to beat out Nadal for the 2009 ATP World Tour Champion title.

2. If Nadal goes 2-1 in round-robin play and wins the title he will earn 1,300 points. If that happens, Federer would need to either win two round-robin matches OR win one round-robin match and reach the final to beat out Nadal for the 2009 ATP World Tour Champion title.

3. If Nadal goes 3-0 in round-robin play, wins his semi-final but loses the final he will earn 1,000 points. If that happens, Federer would need only to win one round-robin match to beat out Nadal for the 2009 ATP World Tour Champion title.

Working against Nadal’s chances are the respective Barclays ATP World Tour Finals records of both players. Federer boasts one of the greatest records at the season finale with a 27-5 match record, including four titles from five straight finals between 2003-07. Nadal, however, is yet to play his best tennis at the event. In two appearances in 2006-07 he went 2-1 in round-robin play but fell in the semi-finals.

More than 250,000 tickets have been sold and only a limited number of tickets remain. The O2 will host the eight-day singles and doubles tournament. Tickets are available online through Ticketmaster or by calling 0844 847 2495 within the UK. Overseas customers should call +44 161 372 0025. For more information please visit www.BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com.

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