Novak Djokovic has been crowned the ATP World Tour Finals champion for a third successive year, though he didn't have to work very hard for it at all after Roger Federer withdrew from their final at late notice.
Excitement was building inside the O2 Arena as the finale approached, but Federer announced via his Facebook page and addressed the waiting crowd that he was unable to take part in the match after hurting his back in a hard-fought semi-final clash with Stan Wawrinka.
Less than half hour before their eagerly anticipated final was due to take place, the 33-year-old published the following message: "I am sorry to announce that I cannot play the finals tonight vs. Novak. I hurt my back late in the match yesterday against Stan. I am very disappointed and I hope to be feeling better soon.
'It’s been an extremely difficult decision because I love playing in London and the ATP World Tour Finals have been an absolute highlight of my career. Unfortunately, my back problem does not allow me to play right now. I hope all tennis fans and those involved in the event will understand.'
Issues were first detected when the 33-year-old showed up late for media commitments after his semi-final and then missed a Sunday practice along the banks of the River Thames.
DID BIG CROWDS GET VALUE FOR MONEY?
Despite the cancellation - something of a PR nightmare for the ATP, fans were told they wouldn't go without a match of tennis as Andy Murray agreed to step-in and face the Tour Finals champion, Djokovic, in an exhibition match for one set.
Nonetheless, this is a disappointing end to a tournament that, by and large, has failed to get off the ground.
Competitive matches with close scorelines have been few a far between in London this week. Furthermore, in a cruel twist of irony, the one match which did cause excitement - the semi-final between Federer and Wawrinka which lasted almost three hours - is the very match that has led to this defaulted final.
Of course that doesn't mean that Djokovic doesn't deserve to be the Tour Finals champion for a fourth time. The world no.1 has been utterly dominant at the Finals and was already the favourite to triumph.
CHAMPION, SORT OF
"It's clearly not the way I wanted," he said as he reluctantly lifted the trophy. "It's an incredible achievement, but at this moment it's hard to talk about it. I'm not one of the players that celebrate this particular type of win.
"I have to reflect on the whole season and this trophy is the crowning moment for the efforts this year. I'm very happy to be able to stand here and finish off with a trophy."
Aside from one set of disrupted concentration in the last four against Kei Nishikori - bought on by his own anger against the O2 crowd for their support of his opponent - the 27-year-old has barely needed to flick into top gear.
Wawrinka, Marin Cilic, Tomas Berdych and eventually Nishikori; the Serb dismantled all of his challengers in the English capital as he continued a two-year unbeaten spell indoors which spans over 30 matches now.
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