World champion Djoker now in Nasty and Superbrat's company
Novak Djokovic's demolition of top-ranked Rafael Nadal in the ATP World Tour Finals made him only the seventh player to win the year-end championship at least three times. Bikash Mohapatra takes a look at the players who preceded the Serb to the feat.
If Rafael Nadal dominated the year, it was his biggest rival who subdued him to finish 2013 on a strong note.
Novak Djokovic’s 6-3, 6-4 demolition of the top-ranked Spaniard in the ATP World Tour Finals ensured a perfect end to a year that started on a good note but lost the plot somewhere in between.
The win at the O2 Arena in London helped the Serb extend his winning streak to 22 matches since losing to Nadal in the final of the US Open. The streak included title triumphs in Beijing, Shanghai and Paris, with London providing the icing on the cake.
It was Djokovic’s seventh title in nine finals this year and improved him to a 41-21 record in title matches.
More importantly, it made him only the seventh player to win the year-end championship at least three times. Prior to his triumph on Monday, the 26-year-old also won the title in 2008 and last year.
Image: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates victory
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Nastase was a four-time world champion
Ilie Nastase (Romania)
Ilie Nastase was the first player to win the ATP World Tour Finals thrice.
In fact, Nasty, as he was referred to as, won three straight titles between 1971-73 and a fourth in 1975.
Nastase, the first ever player to be ranked No.1, was also a beaten finalist in 1974, losing to Arhentina’s Guillermo Vilas.
Image: Romanian tennis player Ilie Nastase
Photographs: Frank Tewkesbury/Evening Standard/Getty Images
McEnroe won it three times
John McEnroe (USA)
The legendary American won his first title in the season-ending event in the early years of his career, besting compatriot Arthur Ashe in the 1978 final.
However, John McEnroe’s best run in the tournament came in the early 1980s, when he won successive titles in 1983-84, beating Ivan Lendl in straight sets in each of the two years.
Superbrat, as McEnroe was nicknamed, was also a finalist (losing to Lendl) in 1982.
Image: American tennis player John McEnroe
Photographs: Steve Powell/Getty Images
Lendl dominated the tournament in the 1980s
Ivan Lendl (Czech/US)
Ivan Lendl dominated the tournament in the 1980s.
The Czech-born American first reached the finals in 1980, losing in straight sets to the legendary Bjorn Borg in New York.
He returned to win it the next year, beating American Vitas Gerulaitis in a five-set thriller.
In 1982, Lendl defended his title, beating John McEnroe in the final.
After losing successive finals to McEnroe in 1983-84, he won the tournament for three years in a row (1985-87) before Boris Becker, second-best to him in the 1985-86 final, ended his glorious run, winning a thrilling five-set final in 1988.
Lendl won the prestigious title five times in nine final appearances.
Image: Czech tennis player Ivan Lendl celebrates
Photographs: Trevor Jones/Getty Images
Becker won three titles in eight final appearances
Boris Becker (Germany)
One of the best players indoors, Boris Becker dominated the tournament in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Having made the final in 1985-86, losing to Ivan Lendl on both the occasions, the German finally got the better of the Czech in 1988, winning a five-set thriller.
Becker failed to defend his title in 1989, losing to his great rival Stefan Edberg in the final.
However, he did win the tournament on two more occasions, beating Americans Jim Courier and Michael Chang in the final in 1992 and 1995 respectively.
The German also finished second best to Pete Sampras in 1994 and 1996.
Overall, Becker won three titles in eight final appearances at the season-ender.
Image: German tennis player Boris Becker
Photographs: Bob Martin/Getty Images
Sampras was a five time winner at the event
Pete Sampras (US)
Pete Sampras dominated the tournament for a large part of the 1990s.
A four-set win over fellow-American Jim Courier handed Sampras his first title at the year-ender in 1991. He lost in the final to German Michael Stich two years later.
However, between 1994 and 1997, Sampras won three of the four finals, beating Boris Becker in two of them.
The American’s final title came in 1999, at the expense of compatriot Andre Agassi.
Image: Pete Sampras of the USA lifts the trophy after winning the ATP Tour World Championships in Hannover
Photographs: Clive Brunskill /Allsport
Federer won the title an unprecedented six times
Roger Federer (Switzerland)
In the context of this tournament, Roger Federer was in the 2000s what Sampras was in the 1990s, Lendl in the 1980s and Nastase in the 1970s.
The Swiss won the title an unprecedented six times.
A straight sets win over Andre Agassi in Houston handed Federer his first title in 2003. In the subsequent four years, he won the tournament three times, only losing to David Nalbandian in a five-set thriller in 2005.
Federer’s final two titles came in London in 2010-11 and he was beaten to the title by Djokovic last year.
The Swiss maestro has an impeccable 36-10 record in the tournament.
Image: Roger Federer of Switzerland displays the trophy at Qi Zhong Stadium in 2007
Photographs: Andrew Wong/Getty Images