By Barry Newcombe
The ATP World Tour tennis finals ended in triumph for Roger Federer at London’s 02 Arena when he stormed to the title with a three set win over Rafael Nadal in just short of 100 minutes on Sunday.
It meant a triumphant, £1 million finish to the year for Federer, who had witnessed Nadal win three Grand Slams in the year and become the unchallenged No1 in the world. Federer ended Nadal’s run of ascendancy with victory by 6-3 3-6 6-1.
It was Federerer’s first win at the O2 and his performance followed Nadal’s semi-final win over the British No1 Andy Murray which took a gruelling three hours-plus on Saturday.
This was the second tennis showdown at the O2 Arena – and it had begun with a capacity crowd of 17,500 on the opening Tuesday. There was a continuing challenge to the arena itself, its facilities and its accessibility to a continuing stream of sell-out crowds. In all aspects, it seems to have passed the tests and that must weigh heavily in the O2 Arena’s favour when the Association of Tennis Professionals decides on its chief staging post when the five-year deal in London ends.
As last year, the media came in droves. There were 680 reporters, photographers, and radio and TV personnel from 30 countries covering the event. The written press alone totalled 200, 80 photographers and 34 radio journalists from 17 radio stations and 280 TV broadcasters.
“This tournament is absolutely perfect, it really is,” said Leo Schlink of the Herald-Sun in Melbourne. “You have all you need in the media area from access to players onwards. I have no issues at all. The Australian Open is the next Grand Slam in January and I can do so much of my preparation here – that’s why my company wants me to come.”
“The tennis media of the world is here,” said ATP press operations chief Hilary Peck. “It also gives people the chance to look at one of the London 2012 venues. “