The ATP year-end World Tour Finals Championships held in London’s O2 arena concluded Sunday with Roger Federer withdrawing in the final against Novak Djokovic due to a back injury that was re-aggravated during the semifinals while playing countryman Stan Wawrinka. The year-end tournament is one of the most competitive of the year, with only the top eight players in the world invited. Ultimately, the undefeated Djokovic walked away with the No. 1 ranking and a check for $2.075 million.
Federer’s decision to withdraw from the ATP final may have been a strategic one with the Davis Cup finals in France less than one week away. The Swiss Davis Cup team, led by Federer and Wawrinka, will play against a dangerous French team for the title of best tennis country in the world. Had Federer competed in the ATP tournament, he might not have been healthy enough to play against the French Davis Cup team.
Despite the grueling and dramatic match between Federer and Wawrinka in the semifinals in London, the two have been elected team captains for the finals of the Davis Cup. This comes as a shock because of the “extensive discussion in the locker room later that evening between Federer and Wawrinka.” Federer’s former coach Paul Annacone thinks it is unlikely that there will be any tension in France.
The Davis Cup is the only tennis title missing from Federer’s trophy cabinet. He has won every other title possible, including: 17 Grand Slams, 23 Masters and six Masters Cup/World Tour Finals among a total of 82 titles, plus Olympic gold and silver medals. At this point, money isn’t his only motivation, it is completing his career and cementing his brand as one of the greatest champions in tennis history. Federations can pay its players for playing on the team and bonuses may be available, but it’s up to each federation to decide.
Since the first tournament in 1900, the Davis Cup — also known as the World Cup of Tennis — has been won by only 13 countries. Switzerland has yet to win one, creating even more excitement for this weekend’s final. It is a very unique year-long annual tournament because it is one of the only “team tournaments” in professional men’s tennis. This year, Team Switzerland looks to capture their first Davis Cup title versus the nine-time champions France.