On facing Djokovic first up, he said: "I'm up against it for sure".
But it is hard to see anybody other than Federer or Djokovic prevailing. The conditions at the season finale in London are expected to be slightly heavier, but being indoors, with the elements not playing a part, the setting is ideal for Federer's precisely directed weaponry. I know this is the biggest yearly event they have here at the O2. "And, of course, I'm very, very happy and proud about it".
"It turned to out to be a flawless five months of the year, with two Grand Slam titles", he added. At this stage, Federer would be delighted simply to get to 100, which would make him the second man in the 50-year Open era to reach triple figures in singles titles. In 2009, Nishikori didn't play any of the Grand Slam events due to a persistent elbow injury. Kevin Anderson and John Isner, who have qualified on the back of their career-best years, are long shots. He reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Toronto, and won his first title in Stockholm, as well as reached the fourth round at Wimbledon. Thiem has recorded two wins in two editions so far. "Djokovic, Zverev, Cilic, Isner is a pretty rough one".
He is the youngest player ranked in the top 20 by the ATP and has a career-high ranking of No 15 in the world. "We've always been proud of our ability to bring some of the world's best talent to New Zealand, and having players go on and qualify for the Finals just emphasises that" said Budge.
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After starting the year off with wins in the Australian Open and the Rotterdam Open, where he became the oldest No. 1 in tennis history, the Swiss underwent a poor run of form that saw him drop down the rankings.
"I look at this next generation, Nishikori, Raonic and Dimitrov, as the one which came after Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi".
Since then Wayne Ferreira and Amanda Coetzer have reached Slam semi-finals but never a final, while Liezel Huber and Wesley Moodie have won major doubles titles. "It just shows you how good Connors was for so long and how much of a great competitor he was", said Darren Cahill, the ESPN analyst who coached the former men's No. 1 Andre Agassi and now coaches the women's No. 1, Simona Halep. "So that's what we are going to see and a great star will come through".