This Sunday marks the start of the season-ending event for the best singles players and doubles teams in tennis, as the 2016 ATP World Tour Finals begin inside the O2 Arena in London, with both the new World Number 1 Andy Murray and his brother Jamie in action.
The tournament pits (barring withdrawals) the best eight singles and doubles players against each other in two groups of four for round robin matches, with the top two from each group going on to contest the semis, and then the finals.
Andy Murray enters into the tournament as the newly ranked World Number 1, after a superb season that has included victory at Wimbledon, a final spot in the Australian and French Opens, 3 victories and 2 final appearances in ATP World Tour Master 1000 events, and 3 titles in other ranking events.
The Scot has been grouped in with third seed Stan Wawrinka from Switzerland, fifth seed Kei Nishikori from Japan, and seventh seed Croatia’s Marin Cilic.
The good news is that due to the seedings Murray has avoided the five-time defending champion Novak Djokovic. The Serbian who beat Murray in both the Austrlian and French Open finals is in a group with the fourth seed Milos Raonic from Canada, French sixth seed Gael Monfils, and eighth seed Dominic Thiem from Austria, who is actually the ninth seed, but qualified for the tournament due to actual eight seed Rafael Nadal withdrawing through injury.
Murray fans will no doubt be out and in force again to back their man all the way, and he does have an encouraging head-to-head record against his three group opponents on the World Tour. He is up 9-7 up against this year’s US Open winner Stan Wawrinka, 7-2 up against Nishikori, and 11-3 up Cilic, although strangely the last time he met each of them he has tasted defeat.
Murray however has yet to make it past the semi-finals at the ATP's showpiece season-ending tournament but will arrive in confident mood after winning the Paris Masters title on Sunday, 24 hours after confirming his new number-one status.
Murray has yet to make it past the semi-finals at the ATP's showpiece season-ending tournament but will arrive in confident mood after winning the Paris Masters title on Sunday, 24 hours after confirming his new number-one status.
Taking the Tour Title is sure to be first and foremost on all the players thoughts but with the winner potentially taking home a potential £1.7 million in prize money it would be hard to say it is irrelevant, with the runner up banking the measly sum of just under £950,000.
Last year’s final saw Novak Djokovic defeat Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4.
In the doubles last year the team of Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau came out on top in straight sets against the eighth ranked team of by Rohan Bopanna and Florin Merga, but neither team are in this year’s tournament.
The British representation in this are the second seeds which consist of Andy’s brother Jamie Murray and his partner Brazilian Bruno Soares who have won both the US and Australian Open doubles titles this year.
And with an attendance expected of over 260,000 fans this year’s event is shaping up to be just as special - if not more - than previous Tour Finals.
For more information on the event please head on over to the official website here.