Anyone else thinking this Barclays ATP World Tour Final will be theater of the highest order (read: EPIC?)
Here's how the boys have been grouped:
Roger Federer (SUI)
Andy Murray (GBR)
Juan Martin del Potro (ARG)
Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Novak Djokovic (SRB)
Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)
Robin Soderling (SWE)
Of course the big story here is the down-to-the-wire showdown for the year-end top ranking (and the strangely titled ATP World Tour Champion honors) between Roger Federer + Rafael Nadal.
The Matador trails Fed by 945 points and could usurp the top spot in three ways (via ATP):
1. If Rafa is an undefeated champion at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (winning all-three round-robin matches, a semi-final and final) he will earn the maximum 1,500 points. If that happens, the Swiss would need to either win all three round-robin matches OR reach the final to beat out Rafa for the 2009 ATP World Tour Champion title.
2. If Rafa goes 2-1 in round-robin play and wins the title he will earn 1,300 points. If that happens, Fed would need to either win two round-robin matches OR win one round-robin match and reach the final to beat out Rafa for the 2009 ATP World Tour Champion title.
3. If Rafa goes 3-0 in round-robin play, wins his semi-final but loses the final he will earn 1,000 points. If that happens, Fed would need only to win one round-robin match to beat out the Spaniard for the 2009 ATP World Tour Champion title.
Novak Djokovic will be a big obstacle in their way. He's been playing like the top baller for a few weeks now capturing Basel, the Paris Masters and defeating Fed + Rafa in consecutive weeks. Andy Murray is looking to put an exclamation point on his best year and remove some of the disappointment of going Slam-less this season.
Juan Martin del Potro hasn't been playing well since shocking Fed to capture his maiden major at Flushing Meadows so he'll be hungry for a strong end to his career season. Last year's finalist, Nikolay Davydenko, and first-timers Fernando Verdasco + Robin Soderling (who got in after and injuryed Andy Roddick pulled out) round out the elite eight.
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(image via Julian Finney/Getty Images, CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)