Anderson defeats Thiem on his debut at age 32 in ATP Finals

Anderson defeats Thiem on his debut at age 32 in ATP Finals

Anderson defeats Thiem on his debut at age 32 in ATP Finals

"I think it was important, you know, going out there and getting off to a good start", Anderson said.

While we discussed that Anderson's 6-2 head to head lead has little relevance to his match-up with Thiem, Federer's 7-2 lead does merit consideration - he's won 67.7% of service points in these matches, with Nishikori's serve failing to threaten Federer, winning a mere 59.3% of points on serve - translating to a service hold percentage barely above the 70% mark. "For me (towelling) it's more of a superstition than something which has an actual use".

The stat is made even more incredible in that Federer has competed at the event for 16 consecutive years. "I've personally had phenomenal success here so I should be the last one talking about moving it anywhere because I enjoy it but I think as a general idea of this event, it should be moving around".

'He knows me very well apparently, or he thought so'.

"It started in 2009 when I won the French Open", Federer explained talking about when the questions of retirement started. "That was the key of the match".

Federer was far from his best as he made 20 unforced errors in the opening set which allowed Nishikori the chance to win the tiebreak.

They couldn't find the range since the very first point but the servers managed to keep things under control, sailing through their games to reach only one deuce and no break points in the opener.

"Now I'm angry because I lost, but I wasn't, so".

Roger Federer got the audience award and Rafael Nadal - award Stefan Edberg for "fair play". At that rate, if Federer is able to maintain the standard he continues to set, it would take another couple of seasons to get close to the 109 titles.

In the ATP Finals opener on Sunday, South African Kevin Anderson beat Austria's Dominic Thiem 6-3 7-6 (12-10) in the "Lleyton Hewitt" group, which also boasts Federer and Kei Nishikori.

Anderson, who reached a career-high ranking of number five in July, said he was getting more used to dealing with pressure situations.

The Wimbledon finalist, who stands at 2.03 metres (six feet eight inches) tall, established an early grip, dominating the early exchanges and securing the crucial break in the fourth game. Caused a Wimbledon sensation when he defeated first Federer and then in the second longest game in tournament history against Isner final at this level.

"The more I'm in those positions", Anderson said, "I definitely feel more and more comfortable".

Novak Djokovic, who returns to the O2 as world number one, won the title in London from 2012-15, and while the venue has served him well, he believes a move away from London in 2021 must now be considered by the men's Tour.

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