The Race to London
In only two weeks the top eight tennis players in the world will descend on England, and in particular East London, for the culmination of the 2010 ATP World Tour.
It's rare that three singles berths to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London remain up for grabs in the final week of the regular season, but that's the scenario at this week's BNP Paribas Masters just across the water in Paris.
Six players have an opportunity to clinch a spot in London but the trio of Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer and Andy Roddick - Nos. 6, 7 and 8 respectively in the year-to-date ATP Rankings, will be very difficult to dislodge from inside the Top 8.
No. 9 Fernando Verdasco must reach the semi-finals or better to have a chance to qualify while No. 10 Mikhail Youzhny must reach the final to have a chance. Austria's Jurgen Melzer, who has already booked a doubles spot at the season finale, would need to win his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title to have a chance of also making the singles line-up.
The five players that have already confirmed their attendance in the capital via their rankings are Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling.
Murray will obviously be the home favourite but it is the 24 year old Nadal who will begin the finals as the bookmakers favourite. Priced at 11/4, the Spaniard has enjoyed the best season in his professional career, winning three major titles at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows.
Rafa has been forced to withdraw from the BNP Paribas Masters this week due to tendinitis in his left shoulder but has assured his legion of fans that he will have recovered sufficiently to take his place at the tournament.
Barclays ATP Tour Finals Tournament Winner: Rafael Nadal 11/4, Roger Federer 11/4, Andy Murray 7/2, Novak Djokovic 5/1, Robin Soderling 14/1, Tomas Berdych 20/1, Andy Roddick 20/1, David Ferrer 25/1, Fernando Verdasco 50/1, Mikhail Youzhny 66/1, Jurgen Melzer 66/1, Marin Cilic 66/1.