Londoners don’t have to wait long for another Federer fix. Or for more of Novak Djokovic. Or to possibly see Rafael Nadal, missing from the Olympics, in the city again (there is considerable doubt, because of the state of his knees, whether he will be in town).
In the history of the modern game, has there ever been as much world-class tennis in London in one year as there is this season? We are in the middle of a golden age for the men’s game – if not THE golden age – and London gets three of the six biggest tournaments on the calendar; tennis is truly an global game, but this year there are plenty of chances to see the world’s best without dropping off the Tube map.
If you went west on the District Line this summer, you would have seen the grass-court double-header of the Wimbledon Championships and the Olympics at the All England Club, and already thoughts are turning to November’s season-ending showpiece. Go east on the Jubilee Line for more. Roger Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have already qualified to compete at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena, leaving five places in the eight-man field. One of those spots is expected to go to Andy Murray, the Olympic champion and world number four. That would be Murray’s fourth event of the year in London, since he also prepared for Wimbledon by playing at Queen’s Club. Barring injury or an extraordinary slump in form – and that is highly unlikely after the endorphin rush of winning the gold medal – you will see Murray walking through dry ice this winter.
We will have a clearer picture after the US Open has been played about who is well-placed to compete at the year-end championships, but David Ferrer is currently in fifth place in the race for London, followed by Juan Martin Del Potro, Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Should those players fill the draw-sheet, you can imagine that the ATP would be pleased with their field, but there are other interesting characters just behind who can could end up qualifying. The next in line, based on the current standings, are: Janko Tipsarevic, Nicolas Almagro, Juan Monaco, John Isner, Richard Gasquet, and Milos Raonic.
Apart from the interest in who the final eight will be, people will be keeping a close watch on the world number one ranking. For the tournament, the ideal scenario is that two, three or possibly even four players arrive in Greenwich with the chance to end the year as the world number one. Everything could be decided in tennis’s first city.