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.
Their 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.
But Federer has played all week like a man with a point to prove and he looked in the mood.
Federer’s victory ensured that an inconsistent year by his standards was bookended by wins at the Australian Open in January and now the ATP World Tour Finals in November.
Nadal had been hoping to land the only significant title to so far elude him but a three-hour semi-final against Andy Murray on Saturday looked to have taken the edge off his game, and Federer proved the stronger in the closing stages.
And while Sunday’s final never quite matched the heights of their last meeting in London - Nadal’s epic 2008 Wimbledon final victory - it proved beyond doubt that Federer will be chasing hard on the world number one’s heels next year.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2010.