By Ros Satar
- ATP – Roger Federer chases the World No. 2 spot as Novak Djokovic & Andy Murrray remain at Nos. 1 and 2 respectively
- WTA – Serena Williams remains at No. 1 as WTA Finals start in Singapore
- Andy Murray remains at World No. 2, Johanna Konta closes out her season at 47, with Heather Watson at 60.
Roger Federer leads the big hitters in action this week in Basel as he chases down Andy Murray for the No. 2 spot, while Simona Halep leads the WTA elite in Singapore.
Tennis: Full Draws, Schedules and News
While World No. 1 Novak Djokovic & Murray sit out tournaments running this week, the spotlight will be on Federer as he competes in his home tournament in Basel. Already qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Final, Federer can afford to coast through the season while all around him players scrabble for the remaining places, and he spoke to ATPWorldTour.com about his tenure at the very top of the game.
“We were a good generation,” he said. “We were in the transition of becoming really professional, understanding that we need to change our life around to become more physical.
“The end of the season was always a grind, you just felt tired thinking about it. A lot of players would check out. I don’t feel that’s the case anymore.
“So a lot has happened and now it will be interesting to see the next two-three years. I think there’s a good wave of players coming through and that will be a true test for our generation to see how we’re going to handle it.”
As Tomas Berdych and Rafael Nadal secured their spots in London, David Ferrer put himself firmly in the frame after beating Steve Johnson in the Vienna final.
ATP Rankings – 26 October
- Novak Djokovic
- Andy Murray
- Roger Federer
- Stan Wawrinka
- Tomas Berdych
- Kei Nishikori
- Rafael Nadal
- David Ferrer
- Milos Raonic
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
- Richard Gasquet (+1)
- Kevin Anderson (-1)
- Marin Cilic (+1)
- John Isner (-1)
- Gilles Simon
- Feliciano Lopez (+1)
- David Goffin (-1)
- Bernard Tomic
- Dominic Thiem
- Gael Monfils (+1)
WTA Rankings – 26 October
Top seed at the WTA Finals Halep set down a marker that last year’s run to the finals (and a drubbing of World No. 1 Serena Williams en route) was not a fluke as she despatched US Open champion Flavia Pennetta with ease, in Sunday’s opening match.
Even so, and coming into Singapore carrying an Achilles injury from Beijing, Halep looked to be hitting free and playing solidly although would admit that there was still some areas to improve.
She said on court, after her match (as reported in WTATennis.com): “I started the match really well. I played my best in the first set, fast, smart and aggressive. I was really enjoying the match today. I was really happy to be back here.”
Meanwhile former champion Maria Sharapova returned thankfully to winning ways for the first time since Wimbledon. She toughed out another three set marathon against Agnieszka Radwanska and was visibly relieved to have come through with all limbs intact after a year disrupted by injury.
“This is my first completed match since July, so it’s a pretty big deal for me!” Sharapova said, on court (via WTATennis.com).
“Coming into this event I did everything I could to be healthy. I just didn’t quite know how my results would go. Even though I didn’t play my best tennis today I still got through, and that’s what matters, especially against such a tough competitor like Radwanska. We always have such close matches here.
“To fight hard and be able to win the match in the end means so much to me.”
WTA Rankings – 26 October
- Serena Williams
- Simona Halep
- Garbiñe Muguruza (+1)
- Maria Sharapova (-1)
- Petra Kvitova
- Agnieszka Radwanska
- Angelique Kerber
- Flavia Pennetta
- Lucie Safarova
- Timea Bacsinszky
- Venus Williams (+2)
- Carla Suárez Navarro (+2)
- Karolina Pliskova (+2)
- Belinda Bencic (+2)
- Roberta Vinci (+2)
- Ana Ivanovic (-4)
- Caroline Wozniacki (-6)
- Sara Errani
- Madison Keys
- Elina Svitolina (+1)
Tournament Weekly Watch
ATP 500 Basel
Top Seeds: Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal, Kevin Anderson
Defending Champion: Federer
Ball-boy done good Federer returns to his old haunt, and ready to launch an onslaught for the World No.2 spot ahead of the final Masters of the year in Paris. He has a chance to overtake the incumbent World No. 2 Murray, who will be keen to rest up/prepare for the Davis Cup final at the very end of the season as best he can.
Federer famously was a ball-boy at this event before going on to at least one or two greater achievements. He made his debut at the tournament in 1998, beaten in the first round by Andre Agassi, and he talked about how his life evolved since then, on ATPWorldTour.com.
“[At first], let’s say winning maybe five or six games in the first round was going to be a good result,” he said. “Then it was maybe if you win a set, it would be great. Winning a round would be great. Next thing you know, I was defending titles. It would be nice [to do that] again. That’s changed obviously a lot in the approach and with experience, I’m less nervous and less anxious.
“I still enjoy it as much as ever. It’s true that the routines now are easier. I know how to handle ticketing. I know how to handle having friends here and family. In the beginning there was just so much going on that it was kind of crazy, but in a good way. I remember I was always very nervous on court because I always wanted to do so well here.
“I grew up here. I played soccer just behind the stadium. I came here on my bike as a ball boy. It feels like it was yesterday. This is what makes the tournament so special.”
ATP 250 Valencia
Top Seeds: David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, Bernard Tomic, Fabio Fognini
2014 Champion: Andy Murray
With Murray sitting this out after his six week tournament blitz last year to secure his place for London, the way is clear for Vienna champion David Ferrer to try and secure his place in London after giving himself a big boost.
Currently occupying the seventh slot in the race, his nearest competition (Richard Gasquet in 10th) is doing battle in Basel as Ferrer will hope he can keep his momentum going. One of the most hardiest competitors on the tour,
Top Seeds: Simona Halep, Garbiñe Muguruza, Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova
2014 champion: Serena Williams
The final tournament for the top eight women takes place and despite the absence of World No. 1 Serena Williams, it could already set the scene for those who seek to replace the veteran, and arguably one of the game’s greatest players as they bid for the title.
With just two former champions in the field (Sharapova, 2004 and Kvitova, 2011) there certainly is the opening for the new generation to start staking their claim to rule the WTA in the coming years. With many of the field having the usual niggles and injuries coming into the tournament, it’s the last push to close out the year on a high.
Follow the action from ATP Basel and Valencia, and the WTA Finals from Singapore at Britwatch Tennis.
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