Wimbledon may be the grandest jewel in the British tennis crown, but it’s by no means the only blue-ribbon event held on UK shores. Beyond The Championships at SW19 and the three other Grand Slams, there are few titles more coveted than the ATP World Tour Finals, which are currently being contested at London’s O2 Arena.
The leading lights of men’s tennis – those without injuries at least – have descended on the capital this week, hungry for valuable ranking points and the kudos that comes with outgunning their leading rivals. This is a tournament with few hiding places, as the eight best-performers of 2016 battle it out in front of a huge global audience.
Home favourite Andy Murray has rarely had things his own way at finals week, failing to progress from the group stage since 2012. But with his recently acquired world number one status to defend, and a wounded Novak Djokovic breathing down his neck, the Wimbledon champion needs no additional incentive to deliver in Greenwich.
All the signs were positive in Murray’s opening win over Marin Cilic on Monday, but any relaxation against US Open champ Stan Wawrinka or Japanese starlet Kei Nishikori – who also started with a victory - could put pay to his chances. As far as tennis round robins go, this is the group of death.
By contrast, Djokovic – still smarting from only winning two Majors in 2016 – appears to have an easier passage to the semi-final stage. The Serb started with a win against Dominic Thiem and will surely fancy his chances against Milos Raonic and Gael Monfils. The 405-ranking point gap to Murray will soon close should the Scot buckle under pressure.
Of course, recent history suggests Murray thrives in front of a partisan crowd - two Wimbledon triumphs, a Davis Cup victory and Olympic gold are testament to that. One of the few accolades missing from his résumé is success at the O2, and a show of strength here will position him as the man to beat in 2017.
There’s nothing Murray would like more than to break his Australian Open jinx in the spring, having lost in an incredible five finals down under, but Djokovic and the ever-improving Wawrinka will have other ideas. The French Open has also proved elusive thus far, but with perennial winner Rafael Nadal in decline, everyone now fancies their chances at Roland Garros.
First things first - there’s still one of the most prestigious tournaments of the year to play for before goals can be reset for 2017. Sportsworld, as the provider of VIP hospitality packages for the leading tennis championships, is present in London this week, as we will be in Paris next May and at Wimbledon in June and July.
We can’t wait for this week’s final, or for next year’s Grand Slams. To secure your place at these world-class sporting events, contact us today on 0208 971 2966. We’re ready to take your call.