ATP World Tour Finals Facts and Trivia
When the regular tennis season draws to a close we tennis fans have one more treat in store; the ATP World Tour Finals. This competition is contested only by the very top players in the game for that year. As such, it gives said players one last chance to strut their stuff before the off-season break. If you’re interested in this prestigious event, keep reading for some ATP World Tour Finals facts and trivia.
On this page you will find various interesting (I think) facts about this end-of-year extravaganza. So, without further adieu, let’s get started.
ATP World Tour Finals Facts
The World Tour Finals kicked off in 1970, and was called the Masters Grand Prix. This original incarnation was purely a show piece event, and did not grant any ranking points to the competitors.
It’s [Not] a Knockout
Unlike almost every other tournament in the tennis calendar, the ATP World Tour Finals use a round robin system. Players are split into two groups which play against each other for points. The top two players from one group then progress to play the top two players from the other group. From then on it’s back to the more familiar knockout style.
The current system for the tournament awards players 200 ranking points for each win in the round robin stage. 400 points go to the winners of the semi finals, and 500 points for the winner of the tournament. This means that a champion who wins all three of their round robin matches will pick up 1,500 ranking points.
Given that a player winning the tournament will almost certainly have collected at least 1,300 ranking points, the ATP World Tour Finals are the second highest scoring tournament after the four Grand Slams.
The first two editions of the Finals in 1970 and 1971 featured a round-robin-only format. The winner being decided by who performed the best.
In 1990 the ATP took over the tournament and immediately put their stamp on things by renaming it the ATP Tour World Championships and putting some ranking points on the line. Initially, the ranking points granted to the winner were equal to that of the Grand Slam tournaments.
The Finals have had a few rivals throughout its history. When it first came to be in 1970, it was directly competing with the WCT Finals—the year-end tournament for the World Championship Tennis Tour. Later on, when the tournament became an ATP event, the ITF set up a rival tournament called the Grand Slam Cup.
This rivalry ended in 1999 when the ATP and ITF came together, scrapping their individual tournaments and starting a new joint event called the Tennis Masters Cup.
Grand Slam Privilege
During the run of the Tennis Masters Cup, the eighth slot did not necessarily go to the eighth ranked player that year. If a player who had won a Grand Slam that year finished outside of the top eight, they were granted the last slot for the Tennis Masters Cup. If more than one Grand Slam winner finished outside the top eight, only the top ranked player would be allowed to compete.
In 2009 the tournament took on the name and format we recognise today; The ATP World Tour Finals, and moved to the O2 Arena in London. Originally the O2 Arena was only intended to be the venue until 2013, however the contract was extended to 2015, and then again to 2018. This is something of a contentious issue for some who believe one of the defining characteristics of the Tour Finals is that it periodically moves to a new location.
Take It Inside
Though the Tour Finals have occasionally been played on outdoor courts, it has generally been an indoor tournament. As such, it is widely considered the most important indoor tournament on the tour.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Roger Federer is the holder of records at this tournament. The ATP World Tour Finals facts page couldn’t escape the Swiss maestro. He currently holds the record for most Tour Finals titles with six, and most times reaching the final of the Finals, with ten. Novak Djokovic (again, who else could it have been?) holds the record for most consecutive titles with four.
Federer also has the record for most consecutive appearances in the Finals. He appeared in the tournament a ridiculous fourteen times in a row between 2002 and 2015.
One of the more surprising ATP World Tour Finals facts. Only ten players have managed to win the tournament without suffering a loss in the round robin stage. This list includes John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl, however it should be pointed out that they both achieved this during years when the tournament was purely a knockout affair with no round robin stage (meaning it was impossible to win without being undefeated)
They did manage it a few times when there was a round robin stage, however, so we’ll let them off.
As of right now (there’s still time!) the ATP World Tour Finals are just about the only thing Rafael Nadal hasn’t won. He’s managed all of the Grand Slams, Olympic Gold (singles and doubles), set numerous records for titles won (mostly on clay), but has never managed to capture this one.
That’s your lot for now. This page, like all the facts and trivia pages on Ad Court Ramble, will continue to be updated as new facts come to light (or someone points out a mistake). So if you have something you think should be on here (or you’ve noticed something that shouldn’t), please leave a comment below!