The ATP Tour Finals has been on my doorstep now since 2007. I have attended multiple times each year and it took the birth of my son for me to miss it for the only time last year. It feels a sad end this year with no spectators. There was clearly no option for that to materialise and nobody can argue with that. You just feel the event deserved a proper send-off and that what makes it feel wrong.
It has been emotional as they say. When I look back on it I think my only gripe has ever been you cannot exit the arena for a smoke when in it. If that’s as bad as it gets it must have done alright in my eyes. I can’t say I found ticket prices too expensive (when shopping around) and the atmosphere was decent in the big contests. The view was always good and food and drink were always nearby. The British tennis calendar will lose more than a little as we say goodbye.
I think by and large that British tennis fans will miss it, I for one will when it moves to Turin. For others, it will be a case of you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. We have been pretty blessed to stage it. I always remember as a kid, the event in Hannover, where Pistol Pete was dominant. It has been an event we have seen Brits qualify for over the years. Tim qualified several times, Greg also made the showpiece and Murray was a given to make it in the latter years. It was always seen as a huge event so I was buzzing to have it over here.
We have seen all the best players of the last decade play in London and even when some have missed it through injury, there has always still been a prestige about the event. As there should be. The winner’s enclosure has seen Nikolay Davydenko, Federer (twice), Djokovic (four times), Muzza, Dimitrov, Zverev and Tsitsipas all lift the trophy.
One of the final questions on a lot of people lips here will be can Rafa win the event for the first time? He has gone close before but it has always eluded him. With Novak, Zverev, Thiem, Tsitsipas and Medvedev all travelling, there looks to be plenty of danger on the surface. It would also be stupid and naive to put a line totally through him. The early loss to Thiem proves once again that you can get at him on indoors, as has always been the case. As I write this though he has just beaten Tsitsipas in a winner takes all contest and now progresses to the last four.
Andy Del Potro.