ATP World Tour Finals – this weekend!

Two tough losses for Rafael Nadal at the O2 in London this week – an hour-long spanking from Roger Federer, followed by a tough three-set loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga yesterday. For the second time in five appearances, Rafa is out before the semi-finals at the ATP World Tour Finals in London…and questioning his passion for the game right now – something he’s struggled with since losing to Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open Final.

Andy Murray’s out, too – if you didn’t hear…he bailed from the tournament with a groin injury. Janko Tipsarevic took his spot in round-robin play…and Novak Djokovic will have to defeat his countryman again to join Roger Federer, David Ferrer (or Tomas Berdych) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semi-finals. The match Novak and Janko played on center court at the U.S. Open was epic…in the first two sets. Janko won the sets in tie-breaks; but Novak’s conditioning proved too much, and after a tough-fought third set, Djokovic was able to eliminate Tipsarevic easily. With the physical struggles Djokovic has faced since the U.S. Open, and the fact that these matches are the best two out three bodes well for Tipsarevic – we’ll see what happens today!

Bob and Mike Bryan play Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes today, as well.

After the final this weekend, most will be on vacation – with the exception of the elite players from Spain and Argentina…who have the Davis Cup Final Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Early December will also feature some tennis – though not widely reported. I’ll be working the tennis venue at the 2011 Arab Games in Doha as the English Announcer. I’m looking forward to seeing some new talent!

Good news from Venus Williams this week…she was back on the court for an exhibition match with Serena in Columbia – and defented her sister in two sets. You remember she retired from the U.S. Open this year after an auto-immune disease diagnosis…Venus appears to have that under control with changes to her diet. Serena also hadn’t played since losing to Sam Stosur in the U.S. Open final.

The sisters play again in Italy next week – this time as doubles partners against Flavia Pannetta and Francesca Schiavone…