Ready for the duel at the dome?

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The tennis season finale comes to London this weekend. Paul Newman looks at the form of the eight vying for a £1m prize

There have been times when it might have been more appropriate for the competitors to turn up at the men's end-of-season championships with crutches rather than rackets. Usually at this stage of the year there is hardly a player who is neither exhausted nor carrying an injury or three. When the tournament went to Shanghai for the first time in 2005, only one of the top four players made it to the start line.

Click here or click the image on the right to launch our guide to the eight players competing in the season finale.

This year, however, the top eight players in the world rankings – the places go to those who have earned the most ranking points through the year – are all set to head for London in time for the start of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on Sunday. Some are carrying injuries – most notably Andy Roddick, who has not played for a month since hurting his knee – but the good news for the 250,000 fans who have bought tickets is that a number of the players will be comparatively refreshed as they go into the biggest tennis tournament to be staged in Britain outside of Wimbledon.

Although Novak Djokovic has been competing throughout the year, three of the other top four players should feel the benefits of recent lay-offs, even if Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray were forced to take time off because of injuries. Roger Federer, who said he was exhausted after his summer exploits, returned recently after a six-week break, though with twin baby daughters to look after he might have found it more relaxing back on the circuit.

Murray, who will help make the draw on board the London Eye tomorrow, believes the tournament is wide open. "Novak has obviously been playing very well since the US Open," he said. "Roger for sure is going to play well in London. If Rafa is physically good, then he's one of the toughest competitors ever. All of the guys that are there are going to have a shot at winning it. That's why they're there."

Nadal is the only player for whom this will not be the final competition of the year. The world No 2, who missed the event last year because of knee trouble, admits that Spain's Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic in Barcelona next month is his major objective in the closing weeks of the season.

The tournament format in London – the players all play three matches in round-robin groups of four, the top two in each section progressing to knockout semi-finals – puts an emphasis on fitness as well as form. As well as prestige, there is a huge amount at stake in terms of both prize-money and ranking points. A player who wins all three round-robin matches and the semi-final and final would take home $1.63m (nearly £1m) and 1,500 ranking points (compared with 1,000 points for a Masters Series title and 2,000 for a Grand Slam event). There is $120,000 (£72,000) on offer just for taking part and the same for each round-robin win.

Suggested Topics
Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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.

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss