The ATP Finals opened play Sunday with two the lone two former champions in action, and both enjoyed easy wins.
Novak Djokovic began the day demolishing Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1 to improve his with streak to 23 straight, 38 in a row indoors and run his record at the ATP Finals to 15 straight.
“I think I was at my best,” said Djokovic. “Undoubtedly it’s been an incredible performance that I was hoping I can have coming into the match, coming into this tournament where I’ve had a great record in last couple of years. Reflecting back on those memories of course gives me more confidence, more comfort coming into every single match.
“Today I’ve had for an opponent one of the quickest tennis players, somebody that possesses a lot of talent and loves to play aggressively. But I didn’t allow him to dictate the play. I mixed up the pace. I was feeling very comfortable on the court, feeling like I could get most of the balls back. I served efficiently. I mixed up the second serves as well. Didn’t give him the same look twice. I always tried to change it. The tactics worked very well.”
Six-time champion Roger Federer was on in the evening. The Swiss got down a break 2-0 to Tomas Berdych but then got into gear winning 6-4, 6-2.
“Clearly it was not the best start,” said Federer who hit 20 aces in the win. “It was a bad start. One of the worst starts I’ve had in years. No first serves, two double faults, nothing coming from the baseline. It was rough.”
Federer also commented on the slowness of the surface.
“The surface does play slow here,” said Federer. “If you get to see too many second serves, clearly you can crawl back into the match. You can get your chances from the baseline to find rhythm quickly.
“It’s hard to blast through an opponent here in London, which I think helps for me now against Berdych in this case because I can make the match athletic. As the match went on, I definitely started to play better, started to serve better. I think what I underestimated a little bit in some ways was that it was a first round. I think I was playing very well in practice. I had a very good idea with Severin and Stefan how I should play the match.
“It was a good lesson for me to learn. But now I’m in the second round, so that’s a good thing.”
Federer and Djokovic will square off in a much-anticipated match on Tuesday. Nishikori and Berdych also will battle.
On Monday, Andy Murray begins his bid for a first ATP Finals title against David Ferrer. In the evening the last two French Open winners, Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka, meet in a crucial Ilie Nastase Group showdown.
“My level has been even better this year,” said Wawrinka. “I’ve been more than happy with what’s been happening for myself and my career and I’m really excited to be back here [in London]. It’s always been something special for me to play the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.”
Murray and Ferrer have split two prior meetings at the O2, though the Brit has won four straight matches in their series and leads the Spaniard 11-6 overall.
Nadal is 13-3 against Wawrinka but the Swiss has won three of their last four encounters after losing the first 26 sets in their history.
MONDAY ATP FINALS SCHEDULE
CENTRE start 12:00 noon
 J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs  M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB)
Not Before 2:00 pm
 A. Murray (GBR) vs  D. Ferrer (ESP)
Starting at 6:00 pm
 I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) vs  P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA)
Not Before 8:00 pm
 S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs  R. Nadal (ESP)
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