Tennis

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Sporting royals gallery Members of the world's royal families often compete in sports, occasionally at very high levels. /tennis/lists/royal-family-members-competing-in-sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/10/20/kate_20131020023241179_136_102.JPG
Biggest choke jobs in sports Infamous chokers gallery /nhl/lists/Infamous-sports-chokers http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/09/26/New-Zealand-sailing-fan_20130926040909882_136_102.JPG
Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam wins Take a look back at all of Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam wins. /tennis/lists/rafael-nadal-grand-slam-wins http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/06/24/Rafael-Nadal-of-Spain_20130624132446484_136_102.JPG
Serena Williams' Grand Slam wins Serena Williams' Grand Slam wins /tennis/lists/tennis-serena-williams-grand-slam-wins http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/09/09/Serena-Williams_20130909121659181_136_102.JPG
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Tennis 199 43 ATP World Tour Finals Player Preview 22055961 Meet the players Meet+the+players Tennis

The ATP World Tour Finals kick off at London's O2 Arena on Sunday with the world's top eight men competing in a round robin contest. Of the eight men in the field, only No. 2 ranked Roger Federer and No. 3 Novak Djokovic have won the title before and only one other, No. 7 David Ferrer, has ever reached the final.

Group A consists of No. 1 Rafael Nadal, Djokovic, No. 6 Tomas Berdych and No. 8 Andy Roddick. Group B consists of Federer, No. 4 Andy Murray, No. 5 Robin Soderling and Ferrer. Here's a look at what's at stake for the eight contenders.

- Matt Cronin
 

Julian Finney - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/19/GYI0062533862_20101119101556_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/19/GYI0062533862_20101119101556_107_80.JPG
Tennis 199 43 ATP World Tour Finals Player Preview 22030244 Rafael Nadal Rafael+Nadal+ Tennis

If the ATP Finals are considered the fifth most important tournament of the season, than this is the only major crown that the top ranked Spaniard hasn't won.

But after a fairly restful fall where he chose not to play after a three-tournament swing through Asia, Nadal should be raring to go and will certainly want to play far better than he did last year in London, when exhausted and still a bit injured, he didn't manage to win a set in three matches. Nadal has never been a great indoor player, but he's conquered every challenge on every surface before and must be expected to make a hard charge toward the title. To do so, he's going to have to serve and crack forehands with the same authority that he did at the U.S. Open and make sure to stay aggressive in his return game. Despite never having reached an ATP World Final, he's earned the right to be called the favorite until someone knocks him off.

Nick Laham - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/17/111710-Tennis-ATP-World-Finals-Preview-Gallery1-JW_20101117163234_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/17/111710-Tennis-ATP-World-Finals-Preview-Gallery1-JW_20101117163234_107_80.JPG
Tennis 199 43 ATP World Tour Finals Player Preview 22039071 Roger Federer Roger+Federer Tennis

The Swiss all but owned this tournament from 2003-2007 when it was played in Houston and Shanghai, winning four of five titles. But he's stumbled the last two years and this time around, he could really use another substantial title to solidify a year in which he's only won one major (the Australian Open), one Masters Series event (Cincinnati) and two other fall titles, Stockholm and Basel. There's only one man in the field that Federer fears a little and that's clearly Nadal, who owns a 14-7 record against him.

What much of the world wants is another Federer vs. Nadal match up as they've only played once this year (a win for Nadal in the final of Madrid). If Federer wants a piece of the Spaniard, he's going to have to focus early and often in this difficult group.

Lionel Cironneau - AP Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/17/111710-Tennis-ATP-World-Finals-Preview-Gallery2-JW_20101117163234_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/17/111710-Tennis-ATP-World-Finals-Preview-Gallery2-JW_20101117163234_107_80.JPG
Tennis 199 43 ATP World Tour Finals Player Preview 22027807 Novak Djokovic Novak+Djokovic Tennis

After a so-so season, Djokovic took the bull by the horns at the U.S. Open, fighting off match points to upset his tormenter Roger Federer in the semis and then giving Rafael Nadal all he could handle in the final.

He's had a very respectable fall, winning Beijing and reaching the semis of Shanghai and final of Basel, where on both occasions, Federer took a measure of revenge on him. More than any other player in this event, Djokovic has to pace himself, as he's the only one who won't be going on vacation next week as Serbia is hosting the Davis Cup final against France. He knows he'll have to conserve some emotional energy for that event as he's his country's go-to player, so if he doesn't get off to fine start in London, don't expect Djokovic to fight to the death. He'll save that attitude for Belgrade.
 

Keystone, Georgios Kefalas - AP Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/17/111710-Tennis-ATP-World-Finals-Preview-Gallery3-JW_20101117162953_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/17/111710-Tennis-ATP-World-Finals-Preview-Gallery3-JW_20101117162953_107_80.JPG
Tennis 199 43 ATP World Tour Finals Player Preview 22027808 Andy Murray Andy+Murray Tennis

Britain's top player has become quite the tease for his legions of followers, often playing great at the Masters Series events and putting together some fine first weeks at the Slams before losing his way. Coming into this year, the question was, "When will Murray win a Slam?" Now the question for the 23 year old is, "Will he ever win a Slam?"

The ATP Finals is an opportunity for him to show that not only can he take down all the rest of the best players in a tournament that means a great deal, but also that he can do so at home under intense media pressure. The coach-less Murray (although his mother Judy does weigh in at times) is now in a put-up mode once again, and if he allows the matches to come to him like he did in successfully winning Shanghai then he'll have a great chance to win his first ATP Final and will go into Australia as one of the legitimate favorites once again.

Nick Laham - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/17/111710-Tennis-ATP-World-Finals-Preview-Gallery5-JW_20101117162953_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/17/111710-Tennis-ATP-World-Finals-Preview-Gallery5-JW_20101117162953_107_80.JPG
Tennis 199 43 ATP World Tour Finals Player Preview 22027814 Robin Soderling Robin+Soderling Tennis

Is the powerful Swede this year's Nikolay Davydenko, a less decorated player ready for a huge breakout? Perhaps, as Soderling just won his first Masters Series title in Paris over Gael Monfils and looked extremely sure of himself. With a huge serve and forehand that sometimes can break down in the wind, Soderling is an excellent indoor player, sporting a 20-4 record this year. He likes to gets a clean strike at the ball and be able to dictate without having to hustle too much, and the high bounces he should see in London should be just to his liking.

Matthew Stockman - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/17/111710-Tennis-ATP-World-Finals-Preview-Gallery4-JW_20101117163234_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/17/111710-Tennis-ATP-World-Finals-Preview-Gallery4-JW_20101117163234_107_80.JPG
Tennis 199 43 ATP World Tour Finals Player Preview 22035106 Tomas Berdych Tomas+Berdych Tennis

The Czech recently admitted that he all but collapsed under the pressure of being a targeted player after he upset Federer at Wimbledon and reached his first Grand Slam final, falling to Rafa Nadal. He's posted a sorry 8-11 record since, but says that he wants to prove that he wasn't just lucky to qualify for London. Certainly, the big Czech has the serve and fiery groundstrokes to do major damage indoors. The question with Berdych has always been about self-belief and he's lost a little of his hearty summer confidence. But if he can come out firing in his opening match against Djokovic and score a win, he could be very dangerous the rest of the tournament.

Lionel Cironnea - AP Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/17/111710-Tennis-ATP-World-Finals-Preview-Gallery6-JW_20101117163234_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/17/111710-Tennis-ATP-World-Finals-Preview-Gallery6-JW_20101117163234_107_80.JPG
Tennis 199 43 ATP World Tour Finals Player Preview 22027816 David Ferrer David+Ferrer Tennis

The veteran Spaniard had a fine season overall, winning two tournaments and reaching three finals. The 28-year-old continues to get every ounce of ability out of himself, constantly running down balls, whaling his groundstrokes, and trying to add new elements to what once was a fairly standard attack. But even though he did a terrific job in reaching the ATP Final two years ago before lost to Federer, he's going to have a very hard time getting out of his group. He's never beaten the Swiss, is 4-8 against Soderling and lost to Murray the only time they played on hardcourts (although he is 3-1 against him.).

Ferrer had to play a ton even to get into the event and is likely somewhat tired after a long season. He always gives it his all so he's sure to be a tough out, but it's also easy to see him going 0-3 in his group against a trio of men who have a lot more on the line than he does.

Remy de la Mauviniere - AP Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/17/111710-Tennis-ATP-World-Finals-Preview-Gallery7-JW_20101117163346_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/17/111710-Tennis-ATP-World-Finals-Preview-Gallery7-JW_20101117163346_107_80.JPG
Tennis 199 43 ATP World Tour Finals Player Preview 22027815 Andy Roddick Andy+Roddick+ Tennis

This is the eighth time that the American has qualified for the year-ending tournament, an admirable feat in sport that chews up some of its stars physically and emotionally. Roddick has always been a warrior, but has been surpassed by better athletes and technicians. Somewhat surprisingly, he's never reached the final. But whenever he appears to be turning the corner, he seems to run into Federer who clearly has his number, owning a remarkable 20-2 record against the former No. 1.

Roddick is capable of making a major showing in London and he's landed in a good group with two guys he has good records against (Djokovic and Berdych) and another he feels like he can play with on hardcourts, Nadal. He'll get the first crack at Rafa and hopefully can catch the Spaniard while he's still feeling rusty. Roddick should have the tools and the motivation to take down Djokovic and Berdych and reach the semifinals, where it's quiet possible he'll meet Federer (ugh).

Julian Finney - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/17/111710-Tennis-ATP-World-Finals-Preview-Gallery8-JW_20101117163345_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/11/17/111710-Tennis-ATP-World-Finals-Preview-Gallery8-JW_20101117163345_107_80.JPG
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http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/09/26/New-Zealand-sailing-fan_20130926040909882_136_102.JPG Biggest choke jobs in sports Infamous chokers gallery Infamous chokers gallery You've really got to work to get sailing onto this website. And you've <i><font color="#0000">REALLY</font></i> got to blow it for people to refer to a yacht race as the biggest choke in the history of all sports. Take a bow, Emirates! Sep 26, 2013 12:02 PM ET 1 4 /nhl/lists/Infamous-sports-chokers
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/06/24/Rafael-Nadal-of-Spain_20130624132446484_136_102.JPG Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam wins Take a look back at all of Rafael Nadal's Gra... Take a look back at all of Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam wins. Monday's US Open win was the 13th Grand Slam victory of Rafael Nadal's career. Take a look back at each of his major triumphs. Sep 13, 2013 4:34 PM ET 1 4 /tennis/lists/rafael-nadal-grand-slam-wins
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/09/09/Serena-Williams_20130909121659181_136_102.JPG Serena Williams' Grand Slam wins Serena Williams' Grand Slam wins Serena Williams' Grand Slam wins Over 14 years of dominance has left Serena among the all-time leaders in Grand Slam triumphs. Take a look back at all 17 of the big ones. Sep 10, 2013 1:50 PM ET 1 4 /tennis/lists/tennis-serena-williams-grand-slam-wins