© 2016 Peter Staples/ATP World Tour

The Top 8 participate in the launch of the 2016 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Thursday.

Storylines To Follow At The 2016 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals

The season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals features many compelling storylines for fans to follow throughout eight action-packed days

NO. 1 ON THE LINE: The season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals is headlined by eight players from as many countries. This is the first time since the 1974 Masters in Melbourne the year-end championship features eight players from eight different countries. New No. 1 Andy Murray is trying to finish the season as the top player in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time while reigning four-time champion Novak Djokovic is attempting to regain the top spot and end the year No. 1 for the third season in a row and fifth in six years. This is the eighth year the season finale is being held at The O2 and this will be the third time in the past four years the year-end No. 1 player will be determined in London. Murray leads Group John McEnroe and is joined by three-time semi-finalist No. 3 Stan Wawrinka, No. 5/2014 semi-finalist Kei Nishikori and No. 7 Marin Cilic. Djokovic is joined in Group Ivan Lendl by No. 4 Milos Raonic and first-time participants No. 6 Gael Monfils and No. 8 Dominic Thiem. Djokovic is the only player in the field who has reached the final/won the title.

THE GROUPS:

GROUP JOHN McENROE PLAYER FINALS RECORD BEST RESULT APPEARANCE
1. Andy Murray (GBR) 11-11 SF 2008, 2010, 2012 9th
3. Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 6-6 SF 2013-14-15 4th
5. Kei Nishikori (JPN) 3-4 SF 2014 3rd
7. Marin Cilic (CRO) 0-3 RR 2014 2nd

GROUP JOHN McENROE NOTES: Three former semi-finalists are in this group (Murray, Nishikori, Wawrinka) with the World No. 1 leading the way with three semi-finals. Murray is 5-2 in openers, Wawrinka 2-1 and Nishikori 1-1. Murray has a 27-12 combined record against his RR opponents.

GROUP IVAN LENDL PLAYER FINALS RECORD BEST RESULT APPEARANCE
2. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 27-10 W 2008, 2012-13-14-15 10th
4. Milos Raonic (CAN) 0-2 RR 2014 2nd
6. Gael Monfils (FRA) 0-0 Debut 1st
8. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 0-0 Debut 1st

GROUP IVAN LENDL NOTES: Djokovic is 8-1 in opening round matches and has won eight in a row since losing in 2007 debut (l. to Ferrer). He is 18-1 over the past four years, losing only to Federer in last year’s second round robin match. Thiem and Monfils are making their debut while Raonic returns for the second time in three years. Thiem (23) and Raonic (25) are the two youngest players in the field. Djokovic has a 23-0 career head-to-head record against other three players in the group.

NOVAK EYES SIXTH TITLE: Djokovic is attempting to join Roger Federer as the only players to win the season finale six times in tournament history. Last year Djokovic became the first player to win four year-end titles in a row. Djokovic is 5-0 in finals, earning titles in 2008 (d. Davydenko), 2012 (d. Federer), 2013 (d. Nadal), 2014 (W/O vs. Federer) and last year (d. Federer). He is one of four players to win the tournament at least five times, joining Federer (6), Pete Sampras (5) and Lendl (5).

NO. 1 AT STAKE: After ending Djokovic's 122 consecutive-week stay on top in men's tennis, Murray finds himself in a fight with the Serb for the coveted year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking. Djokovic is looking to take that honor for the fifth time in the past six years while Murray is looking to become just the fourth player since 2004 and 17th overall to finish the season No. 1. There are several scenarios that could see either player finish the year No. 1. But both have destiny in their own hands. Murray will finish No. 1 if he wins the title regardless of how many of his three group stage matches he wins. To guarantee a No. 1 finish, Djokovic must win two group stage matches and take the title to upstage Murray. The last time the No. 1 ranking changed hands in the season finale was in 2001 Sydney as Lleyton Hewitt overcame Gustavo Kuerten to finish No. 1.

YEAR-END NO. 1 DOMINANCE: For the past 12 years, the year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings has been held by one of three players - Djokovic, Federer or Nadal. Federer has finished No. 1 five years (2004-07, '09), Djokovic four years (2011-12, 2014-15) and Nadal three years (2008, 2010, 2013). No other trio in the history of the Emirates ATP Rankings (since 1973) has held No. 1 for 12 straight years. Murray is trying to become the first player other than this trio to finish No. 1 since Andy Roddick in 2003. Of the 26 players to hold No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, 16 have finished No. 1. Murray is trying to become the 17th player on the prestigious list.

NO. 1 IN LONDON: The No. 1 player has reached the final of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals the past four years, with Djokovic winning the title in 2012 and 2014-15 and Rafael Nadal finishing runner-up in 2013. In the history of the year-end championship, the only other time the No. 1 player reached the final four consecutive years was from 1984-87 with John McEnroe winning the title in 1984 and Ivan Lendl from 1985-87. The No. 1 player has won the season finale title 18 times since 1973 when the Emirates ATP Rankings began with Djokovic, Federer, Lendl and Sampras winning three times each, Borg won twice and Nastase, Connors, McEnroe and Hewitt once each.

CAREER INDOOR RECORDS: Djokovic and Murray lead the way among the eight participants with the best career indoor match winning percentage and most finals reached:

Player Career W-L Pct. 2016 W-L Career Finals
1) Novak Djokovic 129-36 .782 4-1 12-2
2) Andy Murray 130-37 .778 11-1 13-3
3) Kei Nishikori 60-22 .732 10-3 5-2
4) Milos Raonic 58-23 .716 3-2 5-3
5) Marin Cilic 100-44 .694 16-5 8-4
6) Gael Monfils 105-51 .673 4-3 4-8
7) Stan Wawrinka 75-60 .556 6-4 1-2
8) Dominic Thiem 19-18 .513 6-3 0-1

COACHES CORNER: Six of the eight coaches have participated in the year-end championship at least once with two former champions and two finalists. Here is a look at the coaches and their player:

Coach (Player) Qualified W-L Best Result (Year)
Ivan Lendl (Murray) 12 39-10 Champion (1981-'82, '85-'87)
Boris Becker (Djokovic) 11 36-13 Champion (1988, '92, '95)
Michael Chang (Nishikori) 7 7-16 Runner-up (1995)
Carlos Moya (Raonic) 5 10-9 Runner-up (1998)
Jonas Bjorkman (Cilic) 1 # 2-2 SF (1997)
Magnus Norman (Wawrinka) 1 0-3 RR (2000)

Note: Also qualified eight times in doubles, winning title in 1994 (w/Apell) and 2006 (w/Mirnyi)

FIRST-TIME SUCCESS: There have been five players to win the year-end championship in their tournament debut, with Alex Corretja the last to accomplish the feat in 1998:

1998 - Alex Corretja (d. Moya)
1978 - John McEnroe (d. Ashe)
1974 - Guillermo Vilas (d. Nastase)
1971 - Ilie Nastase (round robin)
1970 - Stan Smith (round robin) +
+ First year of tournament

30 & OVER DEBUTS: Gael Monfils, at 30 yrs., 2 mons., is the sixth player in the history of the season finale, to make his tournament debut at the age of 30 or older, the first since 1972. Here are the players 30 & over make their debut:

Age Year Result
Gael Monfils 30 yrs., 2 mos. 2016 ???
Andres Gimeno 35 yrs., 3 mos. 1972 0-3 in round robin
Bob Hewitt 32 yrs., 10 mos. 1972 0-3 in round robin
Pierre Barthes 30 yrs., 2 mos. 1971 3-3 in round robin
Rod Laver 32 yrs., 3 mos. 1970 Runner-up
Ken Rosewall 36 yrs., 1 mo. 1970 3-2 in round robin

NO. 1 DOUBLES RANKING AT STAKE: Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, the winners of five titles this season – including Wimbledon and three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns, lead Group Fleming/McEnroe alongside Marc Lopez and Feliciano Lopez, the recent Paris titlists Henri Kontinen and John Peers, and Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram. Mahut will attain year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings with one round-robin victory at The O2. He would become the first Frenchman to finish No. 1 in the history of the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings (since 1976). Herbert/Mahut have a 575-point lead over Murray/Soares and they are trying to become the first French team to finish No. 1.

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, who are in contention to become the year-end No. 1 team, lead Group Edberg/Jarryd with four-time season finale winners Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, who recently passed 1,000 doubles team match wins. Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo and first-time qualifiers Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi make up the group. Mirnyi is making his 10th appearance in the season finale with a sixth different partner. He has won titles in 2006 (w/Bjorkman) and 2011 (w/Nestor) and reached finals in 2009 (w/A. Ram) and 2010 (w/Bhupathi). Murray is trying to join his brother Andy to become the first brothers duo to finish No. 1 in singles and the doubles team rankings in the same year.

DOUBLES GROUPS

GROUP FLEMING/McENROE TEAM FINALS RECORD BEST RESULT APPEARANCE
1. Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut 1-2 RR 2015 2nd
4. Feliciano Lopez/ Marc Lopez 0-0 Team Debut 1st
5. Henri Kontinen/John Peers 0-0 Team Debut 1st
7. Raven Klaasen/Rajeev Ram 0-0 Team Debut 1st
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