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Inside Men's Tennis By Brad Drewett - October Edition

Chairman's Message

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic clinched the year-end No. 1 South African Airways ATP Ranking.

The culmination of the ATP World Tour season is always an exciting time. The best tennis players in the world are making their final push to earn a place at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. Over the last few weeks, we have seen David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin del Potro earn their way into the elite 8-man field for the ATP’s season-ending tournament. They join Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray who reserved their places earlier in the year. 

The last regular tour event, the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, will determine the final two players. In close contention are Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Janko Tipsarevic, Richard Gasquet and several other players who are still mathematically in the running. You can be sure any player still in contention (as well as media and fans), will be counting every point they make and watching every win or loss of their closest competitors. This time of year, everyone has their calculators out!

Roger deserves special mention. He has now qualified 11 straight years for our year-end finale and won the tournament six times, including the last two years in London. At 31 years old, he still has seemingly unlimited reserves and will be looking to make it three successive wins at The O2 in London. 

It’s disappointing that Rafa Nadal will not be able to play this year in London in November and join the other players who have been the best in 2012. Rafa has played every year-end event since 2006 and is always one of the favourites with his engaging personality and exciting playing style. His first six months of the year were incredible, winning four tournaments -- Roland Garros, ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Monte-Carlo and Rome, as well as Barcelona -- and reaching the final of the Australian Open. We all look forward to 2013 when we will see him return to the ATP World Tour, fresh and ready to play.

Another fight to the finish which has also taken place in the last few weeks, is the battle for the year-end No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. In the history of the ATP Rankings (since 1973), only 16 players have ever held this position at the end of the season: Ilie Nastase, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Gustavo Kuerten, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. It is a list that reflects the greatest champions in the history of our sport and shows how the year-end World No. 1 ranking is the greatest test of a player’s physical and mental talent.  

Novak Djokovic recently secured the year-end World No. 1 for the second consecutive year after his last two impressive results in China, winning both the China Open in Beijing and the Shanghai Rolex Masters and also due to Roger being unable to successfully defend his titles at the Swiss Indoors in Basel and the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.  What an amazing achievement to finish on top of the South African Airways ATP Rankings in such a competitive season, probably the toughest achievement in tennis.

In doubles, Bob and Mike Bryan have also already wrapped up the year-end No. 1 ATP Doubles Team Ranking, their fourth time in a row and eighth overall after winning Olympic gold, the US Open and five ATP World Tour titles – a huge year. They are now also looking to win their fourth Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title. As far as the history books go, it will be very difficult for any team in the future to surpass the Bryans who have now won more titles together (82) than any other doubles team. 

With so much still on the line, we are set for some amazing tennis in the last two weeks of the ATP World Tour season. Don’t miss the action of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2, from November 5-12.  I can’t wait!

Best wishes,

Brad Drewett

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