I’m very motivated. I’ve been trying to find this level and fortunately I’ve been able to do so this week. Milos Raonic, after beating Roger Federer in the Paris semi-final
It’s the final major tournament of 2014 and arguably the toughest. The Barclay’s ATP Tour Finals are played indoors, and some call it the fifth grand slam.
The top eight men play a round robin in two groups and the top four go on to contest the semi-finals. In the recent Paris Masters there was just one spot up for grabs and Canadian Milos Raonic had to make the final to qualify. He did just that.
A 23 year old with great potential
When Raonic met Federer in the Paris semi-final it was his fifteenth match against one of the big three. He had never pull off a win, but this time he prevailed 7-6, 7-5. Like many of the contenders for a place alongside the elite three – Djokovic, Federer and Nadal – Raonic has a powerful serve, but lacks the consistency in his all round game.
Against Federer he hammered down 21 aces and this time his ground strokes were accurate and superbly placed. Unfortunately, he faltered in the final against the world number one. Novak Djokovic is a fine player, studies his opponent’s game carefully and is quick to exploit perceived weakness. He is also able to absorb pressure and often comes back from being down on points.
Djokovic… perfectly read the 7th seed’s serve to prevail in a one-sided encounter. Julien Pretot Toronto Sun. The Serb will take his excellent form into the Barclay’s and must be favoured to win.
However Raonic will have learned from the Djokovic master class and has everything to play for in London.
A fitting climax
~ Djokovic v Cilic (Djokovic is shown alongside winning the tournament in 2013)
~ Wawrinka v Berdych
~ Federer v Raonic
~ Nishikori v Murray
A loss in the first round is not a disaster, however two defeats in the round robin and you are out.
Having the best eight men on the planet battle it out in this final tournament, is a mouth-watering prospect for tennis aficionados.