Murray on course for home riches

Chance to be sport's top dog on offer when London hosts World Tour Finals

Pierre the caniche poodle will be the most pampered pooch in Britain if he joins his master, Novak Djokovic, at the World Tour Finals in London in November. Organisers of the end-of-season finale at the O2 Arena are promising five-star treatment for the world's top-eight players and their entourages, including Pierre, who sometimes joins Djokovic on his travels. "Whatever he needs we'll supply - premium dog food, a special kennel, you name it," Phil Anderton, the tournament chairman, said at the launch of the finals in London yesterday.

More than 150,000 of the 250,000 tickets available have been sold for a tournament that is being promoted as the "biggest and best indoor tennis event in the world". With Andy Murray up to No 3 in the world rankings, and having a decent record on fast indoor courts, the prospect of a home victory should certainly help shift the remaining tickets.

The tournament has been going since 1970 under a number of different guises. In recent years the event has been called the Tennis Masters Cup, Djokovic having won the 2008 edition six months ago in Shanghai, where Andy Murray was knocked out in the semi-finals after eliminating Roger Federer from the group phase. It has been staged in 13 different cities, but this is the first visit to London.

The tournament offers massive prize money, great prestige and, with more ranking points at stake than at any event outside the four Grand Slam tournaments, the chance to finish as the year's No 1 player.

"The players see this as a very special event," Anderton said. "It's the top eight singles players and the top eight doubles teams in the world and I think they have every right to be given special treatment. Not only that but all the top players travel with big entourages these days, so we'll want to look after them as well."

It will be the biggest tennis event ever staged in Britain outside Wimbledon. Rafael Nadal has already qualified thanks to his Australian Open win, while Federer, Murray and Djokovic are on the way to securing places. Juan Martin del Potro, Andy Roddick, Gilles Simon and Fernando Verdasco currently fill the other positions as the next four players in the rankings, though much can change between now and the end of the year.

There had been concerns that it would be hard to fill the 14,500-capacity O2, but ticket sales are exceeding expectations. Tickets costing as little as £20 and children paying half-price, has helped, while the format, with everyone playing at least three matches, guarantees a top-quality field every day. "Everyone will be seeing at least the equivalent of a Grand Slam quarter-final," Chris Kermode, the tournament's managing director, said. There are only 65,000 seats left. Tickets went on public sale yesterday.

Fewer than 10 per cent of the seats will be occupied by corporate clients, who will be placed at the rear of the lower section of the arena. The places nearest the side of the court will be filled by the general public, which should mean that organisers will not have to explain to television viewers the empty seats at certain times of the day in the corporate areas. Empty spaces were particularly visible last week at the Masters event in Madrid, where the seats nearest the court went to corporate clients.

*Maria Sharapova, who is making her comeback from a shoulder injury in Warsaw this week, has entered the Aegon Classic grass-court tournament at Edgbaston from 8-14 June.

Finals countdown: Tournament details

World Tour Finals: Venue O2 Arena, London.

Date: 22-29 November.

Singles: Top eight male players of 2009, split into two round-robin groups of four, from which four players emerge to contest semi-finals and final.

Doubles: Top eight of the year, playing in same format as singles.

Sessions: 12.30 and 19.00, both featuring one doubles match followed by one singles match.

Total prize money: $5m (£3.2m).

Ranking points for winner: 1,500 (compared with 2,000 at a Grand Slam and 1,000 at a Masters Series).

Tickets: Between £20 and £70 for adults, with children at half-price.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz