'Lucky' Kei Nishikori set for ATP Finals

And once Federer was out of contention in the same tournament and Nadal had formally withdrawn from the World Tour Finals, Djokovic was assured of the year-end No1 for a fifth time. He won two slams and got back to the apex position.

If Kevin Anderson was one of tennis' "fringe players" 24 months, then his exploits throughout the past two years definitely saw him crack the big time, as he raised his profile and etched his name among the best players in the game.

"I'm sure their fellow commuters won't forget the night they boarded the same Tube carriage as some of the finest tennis players the game has ever seen", said Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman and President.

Six of Federer's 99 titles have come at the ATP Finals and he would raise the roof at the O2 Arena by reaching three figures.

I've played my best Masters 1000 hard-court event in Paris just last week and I'm feeling fresh. "I'm going to be No.1 tomorrow officially".

"I never thought it was impossible but I thought it might take more time". The second of the 2018 tennis season has been incredibly kind to the Serbian.

"I think it would prevent players from taking the towel after every double fault, mis-hit return because sometimes it gets a little ridiculous in my eyes", he said.

The season-ending event is crucial for the number of points the victor can make (1,500), and its importance in the ATP calendar is second only to the Grand Slams.

But the tournament, which starts on Sunday, lacks an element of star power without the injured Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro, both of whom were forced to pull out of the season finale. It's a very cool way to make an entrance.

Federer and Djokovic are the top seeds in London and are hoping to finish their respective seasons with a final piece of silverware. Nishikori was a fan of Shuzo, who would later go on to become Nishikori's mentor.

Alexander Zverev's no-socks appearance was one of the highlights of the fun evening with Marin Cilic decided that the style is "Sascha" and is not for him.

Group Lleyton Hewitt consists of Federer, Kevin Anderson, Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori while Group Guga Kuerten comprises of Djokovic, Zverev, Cilic and John Isner. If surprise successes in men's tennis are few and far between, London, hosting its 10th edition of the ATP Finals, may not provide one either, because Djokovic has moved on from a will-he-won't-he at the beginning of the year to becoming the man to beat at the end of it.

Nadal now has 80 singles titles to his name, including 11 French Open wins and, aged just 32, could conceivably move up the list in years to come.

  • Rosalie Stanley