LONDON – The last three positions in the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals have been determined on Thursday with Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, David Ferrer of Spain and Andy Roddick of the U.S. rounding out the eight-man field in London.
All three players were guaranteed a spot in the year-end championship as a result of No. 9 Fernando Verdasco losing to Gael Monfils in the third round of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris on Thursday and by Roddick’s earlier singles win over Ernests Gulbis. Roddick, who is No. 8 in the year-to-date ATP Rankings, now has enough points to stay ahead of No. 11 Jurgen Melzer even if the Austrian wins the Paris title this week.
Berdych, Ferrer and Roddick join a blockbuster singles line-up featuring Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling as the world’s top eight players battle it out for the last title of the season in London.
In doubles, Lukasz Kubot and Oliver Marach became the fifth team to qualify following
their win over Nicolas Almagro and David Marrero in Paris on Wednesday. The final three doubles berths will be determined this week in Paris. Berdych, Ferrer and Roddick’s qualifications also mean that their self-portraits, created using paintcovered tennis balls, will be displayed as part of the ‘Art of Tennis’ exhibition at La Galleria Pall Mall in London until 18 November, as well as being displayed in the Fan Zone at The O2 during the tournament. Their original works of art are also being auctioned online for charity through: BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com/ArtofTennis. The first artwork open for bidding, Robin Soderling’s self-portrait, has already attracted a top bid of more than US$1,500 in the opening days.
Berdych, 25, is the lone player making his maiden debut in the season finale. He reached his first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon in July (l. to Nadal) and is currently a personal-high No. 6 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings. In addition to a runner-up at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami tournament in April (l. to Roddick), Berdych was a semi-finalist at Roland Garros and quarterfinalist in seven other tournaments. Berdych will finish in the Top 10 for the first time in his career and he made the biggest jump of any player in the Top 10 from last season, climbing from No. 20.
Berdych said: “Qualifying for London is the pay off for all the hard work during the year and I’m very happy to see my name among the best eight players in the world.”
Ferrer, 28, who previously qualified for the season finale three years ago when he finished No. 5, reached the title match that year in Shanghai, losing to No. 1 Roger Federer. He captured titles in Acapulco in February and in his hometown of Valencia last Sunday while reaching clay court finals in Buenos Aires in February and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome in May. Last month he was a finalist in Beijing. He also won the most clay court matches (31) during the year and second-most (60) overall, behind Rafael Nadal (67). Ferrer said: “It is great to qualify again. Last year I was watching the final on TV. I am so happy to be playing in London this year.”
Roddick, 28, who qualified for the eighth consecutive year, will be making his first appearance at The O2. Last year he qualified but had to withdraw due to a knee injury. Roddick is a three-time semifinalist in the year-end championship. He began the season with his first title in Australia in Brisbane and three months later he captured his fifth career ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown in Miami. He is the third active titles leader with 29 on the ATP World Tour, trailing only Federer (65) and Nadal (43). Roddick has won at least one ATP title for 10 straight years and he finished in the Top 10 for the ninth consecutive year. He is the last American ATP World Tour No. 1 in 2003.
Roddick said: “I think it’s a goal at the beginning of every year… It’s certainly an accomplishment every year. It’s an honor to qualify once and each time you realise how tough it actually is. You can’t just play well for one week. It’s the culmination of doing it week after week on tour.”