SEven people with expertise are sometimes wrong. When the ATP Tour returned to Europe ten years ago with their season finale, London, Britain's best was skeptical. "I do not think," said Andy Murray at the time, "that the interest will be as it was at Wimbledon. The tournament will take place for the first time in London, and I guess it will be necessary to teach the audience how important it is. "But the new venue has had a remarkable track record, from day one. The huge, blue-lit O2 arena was sold out on many matchdays, after the first five years planned, the contract was extended, and so this Sunday they can celebrate a decade of elite tennis on the Thames at the start of the finals.
With a tournament that is geographically unilaterally occupied like never before in the nearly 50-year history with changing names. First, from 1970 onwards, was the Ding Masters Grand Prix, followed by the Decade of the ATP World Championships in Frankfurt and Hanover, from 2000 it was the Masters Cup, from 2009 to 2016 the World Tour Finals, and now it's time for the third Time for the title of the ATP Finals. With eight candidates in singles from Europe – from Spain, Serbia, Switzerland and Russia, from Austria, Greece, Germany and Italy. Without the United States or Canada, without South America, without Japan.
And it's a comparatively youthful combination with four players, none of them over the age of 23: Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, defending champion Alexander Zverev and Italy's best Matteo Berrettini, who finished last last week. Dominic Thiem from Austria is in midfield with 26, the big three at the top are already known to be a bit older: Novak Djokovic is 32, Rafael Nadal 33, Roger Federer 38th As the champion from Switzerland in 2003 anno on the slightly downhill Center Court The Westside Tennis Club in Houston, Texas won the first of its six titles in the tournament of the best, the boys' quartet had just started school. Federer landed ten times in the Final of the Finals, once more than Ivan Lendl in the eighties and twice more often than Boris Becker between 1985 and 1996.
Alexander Zverev did the trick of winning Saturday night's semi-final against Roger Federer and Sunday night after an irresistible appearance in the final against Novak Djokovic, and even with the gap of a year comes one of those coups, the biggest of his career to date unbelievable. But on a slightly different level, it's almost as remarkable that Zverev is back for the third time, after ten changeful, often confusing, and stuffed-up months.
In this year's penultimate year in the O2 Arena – from 2021 on the tournament takes place in Turin – the German contribution is, however, not to be overlooked anyway. For the first time in the history of the tournament, a German doubles qualifier – Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, the winners of the French Open in Paris, for the fantastic year in just as gorgeous way in the blue lagoon in the penultimate round. The last one will follow in Madrid the week after, at the final round of the new Davis Cup with Team Germany. But now it's London's turn; with his great audience, who knew from the start what it was about this tournament.