Andy Murray aims for first Barclays ATP World Tour title
The eighth Barclays ATP World Tour Finals started in London on Sunday and promises to be the most thrilling to date, as Andy Murray looks to retain his world no. 1 ranking.
The season-ending tournament – sponsored by Barclays since 2009 – runs from 13-20 November and is expected to attract more than 250,000 fans to The O2, with millions more watching on TV around the world.
Murray, 29, became the first Briton to reach the top of the world tennis singles rankings after Milos Raonic pulled out with an injury before the start of their semi-final match at the Paris Masters tournament. Murray went on to win the tournament, beating John Isner in the final.
It’s been a great year and I want to finish as well as I can... I just want to play well at The O2. I’ve not always played well there and I want to do myself justice.
If Murray wins the eight-day ATP World Tour Finals – a feat he has yet to achieve – he is guaranteed to finish the year as world no. 1 on home soil.
But he will face tough competition from some of the world’s best players. Among them is fierce rival and four-time defending champion Novak Djokovic – who previously held the no. 1 spot for more than two years and can take it back if he wins all five of his matches in London.
Murray said: “It’s been a great year and I want to finish as well as I can... I just want to play well at The O2. I’ve not always played well there and I want to do myself justice.”
He added: “It’s always great to be back playing tennis in front of a home crowd. This is one of the best tournaments on the tour and every night is a sell-out. It’s a great place to end the season and I’m looking forward to it.”
The Finals showcase the season’s eight best performing players and, over the years, have played host to some of the most exciting big-name rivalries between Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray. Alongside Murray and Djokovic, this year’s competition also features Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, Marin Cilic, Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils and Dominic Thiem.
As the event’s title partner since it first moved to London in 2009, Barclays has helped establish the ATP World Tour Finals as the biggest indoor tennis tournament in the world. This season will mark the end of a fruitful era for the tournament as Barclays’ sponsorship comes to an end.
Over the past seven years, almost two million people have attended the showpiece event hosted at the capital’s 17,800-capacity O2 Arena, making it one of Britain’s best-attended international sports events.
In 2014, TV audience figures broke the 100 million mark for the first time, cementing the competition’s place as a key event in the tennis calendar, as well as demonstrating its impact on the growing popularity and success of the sport as a whole.
Richard French, MD Brand, Insight and Sponsorship, said: “The tournament is a fantastic event, superbly organised by the ATP, and we are extremely proud of our part in helping establish it here in London.”