In the end, the climax to the 2014 men’s professional tennis season was all a bit, well, anti-climatic.
Novak Djokovic took ATP World Tour Finals title for the third successive year after opponent Roger Federer withdrew due to a back injury.
It was not quite the crowning glory the Serbian ace would have wanted on what has been yet another remarkably successful year. Djokovic finishes the season with six titles and prize money totalling $11.6m.
More importantly, he’s world number one - a position he’s held since beating Roger Federer (in rather more dramatic circumstances) to become Wimbledon champion in July.
Djokovic was somewhat sheepish in collecting his trophy-by-default on Sunday night, saying “It’s clearly not the way I wanted...at this moment it’s hard to talk about it. I’m not one of the players that celebrate this type of win.”
Of course, every great champion wants to prove his or her dominance out on the court. Yet Djokovic will still struggle to stifle a smile when he considers the $2.1m he has earned from a week’s work at the 02 Arena.
Unsurprisingly, tonight’s would-be final between the world’s number one and number two featured the two biggest-earners of this year’s ATP tour facing up against each other. Federer’s back injury ultimately meant that he missed out on the final winners’ prize money of $980,000, yet the Swiss can’t be too annoyed after his year total of $7.7m (and a staggering career total of $86.7m).
Andy Murray, who graciously stepped in at the last minute to play the champion in an exhibition match, was well off the pace this season with three title wins and $3.3m in prize money. According to ATP executive chairman Chris Kermode, Murray did not demand a fee for his appearance.
2014 was in fact Murray’s worst performance in prize money terms since 2007 when he earned just $856,930. And despite Djokovic’s place at the top of the pile, he picked up his smallest winnings haul for four years. In three of the last four seasons, the 27-year-old has been the highest earner on the tour.
The ATP World Tour Finals represents a big end of season boon for the best performers of the year. An undefeated champion such as Djokovic will actually earn more from five three set games in the tournament that he would pick up by winning all eight five set games at Roland Garros.