Rafael Nadal withdrew from the Paris Masters at the quarter final stage last week
13 November, 2017, 03:30
Tournament favourite and six-time victor Roger Federer has meanwhile enjoyed a far more tranquil build-up having missed the Paris Masters after winning the Swiss Indoors, to ensure he was fully fit for the London showcase. He's taken his time and has proven to be a person that makes pretty good decisions.
Roger Federer was in a jocular mood as he answered a question about Jack Sock's backside in a news conference after his 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory against the American on Sunday.
The 31-year-old, forced to pull out of the Paris Masters last week with a knee injury, is painfully aware that the ATP Finals is the one major piece of silverware missing from his trophy cabinet and he wants to put that right. "Just accept that and just find different ways to approach the match".
The German took the first set 6-4 but looked to be struggling as he conceded the next 6-3.
Zverev possesses huge power off the ground, yet it was his finesse at the net which earned him a break in the opening game, picking off a low drop volley that gave Cilic no chance.
And Nadal said although he welcomed the opportunity to finish the year with another high-profile clash against Federer, he was not fixated on the need to defeat the Swiss after four straight losses to his old rival in 2017.
That was the only break point for either player in the first set.
More stoic resistance by Sock saw him fend off more danger at 5-5 but Federer remained untouchable on serve and won 29 of 32 points on his delivery in the second set.
The Swiss star has triumphed at the season ending event, which features the top eight men's players, on six previous occasions. But Federer had plenty more in the second set - five, to be exact.
"It's been a fantastic season, a very emotional one after what I've been going through with injuries. That's what I should have aimed for", he joked. He didn't quite get the better of his 25-year-old opponent's serve again until the second-set tiebreaker, but that was enough to win the match.
Nadal pointed out on Friday that the fact the tournament is always played on indoor hard courts has been a factor in him never winning the title.