LONDON: Roger Federer won the ATP World Tour Finals for the fifth time after beating Rafael Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in Sunday’s final at the O2 Arena in London.
Federer takes home a cheque for 1.63 million dollars as well as 1,500 ranking points but, far more importantly, he ended the year by scoring a significant victory over his biggest rival and, in the process, emphasised that he is still as hungry for success as ever.
It was Federer’s first triumph in the prestigious end-of-season event since 2007 and his dominant form in the English capital this week suggests Nadal will face a renewed challenge for the sport’s top prizes next year.
Nadal has enjoyed the best season of his career over the last 12 months and he shone again this week, but even he had no answer to Federer, the world number two, at his breath-taking best.
Federer is now level with Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras on a joint-record five Tour Finals titles and he said: “I’ve really enjoyed playing here this week, it’s been a wonderful atmosphere once again.
“I haven’t spoilt Rafa’s vacation! He’s had an amazing year, one any player dreams of.”
Nadal added: “I want to congratulate Roger. He played unbelievable throughout the whole week. It was a fantastic year for me, probably the most emotional of my career.”
The old rivals’ showdown here was the perfect way to end a season in which Nadal had dethroned Federer as world number one and also regained the French Open and Wimbledon titles from the Swiss star.
Nadal had won 14 of their previous 21 meetings, of which 18 had been finals, and the most famous of those was also their last in London, back in 2008, when Nadal triumphed in five sets to win his first Wimbledon title in a match widely regarded as the best of all time.
But Federer has played all week like a man with a point to prove and he looked in the mood as he held serve to love in the opening game.
He had promised to take the attack to Nadal and the 29-year-old’s forehand was proving an impossible weapon to subdue. He used it to finish off the best rally of the first set in emphatic fashion in the fifth game.
Nadal recovered from the loss of that point to hold serve but he was broken in the eighth game as Federer finally shattered the Spaniard’s resistance.
Once again it was Federer’s forehand that caused the problems as he unloaded another winner to bring up break point before converting the chance with a perfect backhand that left Nadal groping in vain for a return.