LONDON, November 10, 2018 (ATP Press Release)
Eight of the world’s best singles players and doubles teams gathered at the Houses of Parliament in London on Friday night for the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals Official Launch, presented by Moët & Chandon, ahead of the prestigious season-ending tournament getting underway on Sunday.
World No. 1 and five-time former Nitto ATP Finals champion Novak Djokovic, six-time former winner Roger Federer and fellow tournament contenders Alexander Zverev, Kevin Anderson, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem, Kei Nishikori and John Isner, as well as all doubles teams, travelled to Westminster by the London Underground from North Greenwich stop at The O2.
The players mixed with commuters on the busy Jubilee Line route – the first time that these global superstars had collectively travelled on London’s iconic Tube Network. The players posed for photos with fans on the journey, before getting out at Westminster Underground Station and making the short walk to the Houses of Parliament. While in Parliament, the players were pictured in the iconic political setting alongside statues of some of the great figures from British history.
John Isner said, “Although we’ve probably all ridden on the Tube a time or two, this was very different. It’s a very cool way to make an entrance. There were quite a few surprised looks on the faces of folks, especially when Roger and Novak walked by. It was a pretty cool treat for them.”
The Reception, hosted in the State Rooms by kind permission of The Rt Hon John Bercow MP, saw guests enjoy a Moët & Chandon Champagne reception before witnessing the official welcome of this year’s elite singles players and doubles teams by the evening’s presenter Andrew Castle.
Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said: “The Nitto ATP Finals bring the world’s best players to London for an epic, season-ending finale. There has been some incredible tennis played the season and our Official Launch is a great way to recognise the achievements of these world-class players.
“Over 250,000 fans will be travelling to The O2 to watch the action in the coming days – the vast majority by public transport – so it’s great that the players had the chance to experience the journey for themselves. I’m sure their fellow commuters won’t forget the night they boarded the same Tube carriage as some of the finest tennis players the game has ever seen.”
Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, said: “The way with which these guys play and more particularly, the way these guys act on and off the court makes them the most magnificent ambassadors to the estimated 1.2 billion people who pick up a tennis racquet around the globe. We are in the company of the giants of the game, some literally in terms of height, and others in terms of prowess. We all look forward to watching you play this week.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, added his support to the tournament. “Over the last decade the Nitto ATP Finals at The O2 have become a highlight of both the international tennis calendar and London’s sporting year. I’m delighted that some of the world’s best tennis stars were able to experience Londoners’ enthusiasm for the sport as they travelled on the Jubilee Line to Westminster.
“Our great city stands ready once again to welcome tennis fans for another brilliant tournament, which will boost the capital’s economy and prove that London is open to visitors from all over the world.”
As part of the Official Launch in the Houses of Parliament, winners in the 2018 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon were honoured. Djokovic and his coach Marian Vajda received their trophies respectively as Comeback Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, while 16-time recipient Federer and the first-year pairing of Mike Bryan/Jack Sock accepted their awards as ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon.
Spaniard Tommy Robredo, a former World No. 5, received the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award, while his compatriot Rafael Nadal, who was unable to attend the Gala, was the recipient of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the second time (also 2010).
Djokovic, who has compiled a 31-2 record since the start of Wimbledon, and the top duo of Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic, were also recognised for clinching the year-end singles and doubles No. 1 ATP Ranking, respectively. They will receive their ATP World Tour No. 1 trophies during on-court ceremonies at the prestigious season finale.
The Nitto ATP Finals begins on Sunday at The O2, with Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares playing the opening doubles match against Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus. Wimbledon finalist Anderson makes his tournament debut against three-time qualifier Thiem in the day session, while Federer begins his bid for a seventh season finale title against Nishikori.
The tournament welcomes more than 250,000 fans to The O2 arena annually, as well as generating global viewership figures reaching an average of 95 million each year, as the ATP’s best eight singles players and doubles teams compete over eight days at the biggest indoor tennis tournament in the world.