Roger Federer, Marin Cilic And Others Debate Court Conditions At The ATP Finals
On the opening day of the ATP World Tour Finals, there was one topic that all players agreed on. That was the speed of the court was quick and they all liked it.
In recent years the season-ending tournament has been marred by a series of one-sided matches occurring. Last year 17 out of 27 matches played at The O2 Arena was decided in straight sets. To prevent another occurrence, officials have increased the temperature inside the venue. Enabling the speed of the court to increase.
“From what I was told, they changed the speed last year a little bit. I do feel it’s a bit faster than in previous years.” Said Federer, who won his opening match on Sunday.
The decision to increase the speed should play into the hands of the players with the quicker serve. Six-time champion Federer has praised the increase in the pace and expects this year’s tournament to be a closely fought contest among players.
“I think it’s going to keep the results closer to one another. It’s going to be tougher to break. I do believe if you protect your serve well here, you’re in good shape.” The world No.2 predicts.
Marin Cilic is also a fan of the conditions, but admitted that he would have liked the court to be even faster. The Croat has 17 ATP titles so far in his career, including the 2014 US Open. Despite playing in London on two previous occasions, he has only managed to win one out of seven matches played.
“I was even expecting to be just a little bit quicker.” Cilic told reporters.
“For the speed of the court, it’s playing a little bit slower than Paris. But it was, I think, playing quite good. I like the conditions here.”
Contradicting Cilic’s comments is Jack Sock, who is making his debut in the event. Providing his own assessment, the American world No.9 believes the court is similar to the ones in Paris. In Paris Sock won his first Masters 1000 title. For him, the only change that occurs is due to the crowd.
“I think the sound is different. Practicing all week, the ball really feels dead in there when there’s not one person in the stands. When the people come in, the ball feels a little bit livelier.” He explained.
“Pace-wise on the court, I actually think it’s pretty similar to Paris, would be my guess.”
There debate continues about how much of an impact this year’s surface will have on the competition. 20-year-old Alexander Zverev, who outlasted Marin Cilic in his opening match, has played down the significance.
“The Court conditions were fine. All of us, we practiced here the whole week. We’re quite used to it.” Zverev stated.
“Obviously a match is still different. A lot of nerves come in. I felt a little bit nervous coming out for the first time here. I think that’s normal for anyone that is playing here for the first time.” He added.
It is estimated that the speed of the court at this year’s tournament is 40.6 on the Court Pace Index (CPI). The CPI measures the effect of ball-surface interaction. This makes the event faster than eight out of the nine Masters 1000 events played this year with Shanghai being the exception.
At the nine Masters 1000 events this year, the three fastest tournaments have been won by different players.
Court speed of all nine Master 1000 events. There are no tournaments with a “Fast” surface (CPI) pic.twitter.com/x0f19rhDsL
— Ubitennis (@Ubitennis) 2 November 2017