Six-time champion Roger Federer and British favorite Andy Murray headline the opening day Group B play of the 2014 ATP Finals Sunday in London.
Murray, winning of three titles this falls, is featured in the first singles match of the event. The three-time semifinalist begins his ATP Finals against US Open finalist Kei Nishikori. Despite making his first appearance at the ATP Finals, Nishikori isn’t just happy to be there.
“This is my first experience here” said Nishikori. “I am really excited to be here for the first time. We all play one another so many times. Mentally I need to be ready for the first match against Andy and his home crowd. I have to imagine I have played on the stadium court.
“I want to win the whole thing. But it will be a tough tournament. If I can play good tennis for five matches, I will have a chance to win the whole thing. I just need to believe in myself. Next year, I want to be Top 5 all the time and maybe rise to No. 3 or No. 2. I hope to reach a Grand Slam final again and win one of the Masters 1000s next year.”
Murray’s won all three meetings with Nishikori taking all seven sets, but this will be their first collision of 2014.
In the late singles, Federer opens his bid for a seventh ATP Finals title against the man who knocked him out of Paris last week, Milos Raonic.
‘You definitely don’t want to lose the first one, as the pressure increases,” said Federer. “You go out with the mentality of being in a knock-out system. If you do lose one, you feel like it is the end of the world… and it is to be honest! I have never felt good in losing but still be in the tournament. It feels very odd, because in tennis you lose you leave. You go round-by-round clearly, but the first one is crucial.
“You can catch guys in spells. You can play one another very often. I don’t feel badly. I lost because he played well. So you just need to react to it. It is more up to me, than up to him.”
Like Nishikori, Raonic is also making his ATP Finals debut. The Canadian broke an 0-6 spell against Federer when he beat the Swiss last week.
“It’s a brand new match,” Raonic said. “The last three times we have played, we have both played a lot of matches coming into the event. This time it is from the get-go. We have to find our form. Roger has done it many times. I am going to have to find a way to find my game quickly.”
SUNDAY ATP FINALS SCHEDULE
AFTERNOON SESSION 12:00 PM
Benneteau / Roger-Vasselin vs. Granollers / Lopez
Nishikori vs. Murray
EVENING SESSION 6:00 PM
Nestor / Zimonjic vs. Dodig / Melo
Federer vs. Raonic
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