Murray and Djokovic in same group for ATP finals

ANDY Murray has been drawn against world No 1 Novak Djokovic in the group stages of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which start at the O2 Arena in London on Sunday.

The 24-year-old world No 3 will also take on Spaniard David Ferrer – who he beat in the Australian Open semi-finals earlier this year – and Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in Group A.

The latter provides a chance for revenge for Murray, after Berdych ended the Briton’s 18-match-winning run at the Paris Masters last week. Berdych defeated Murray 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 in an enthralling semi-final clash in France.

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Murray has won five tour titles so far this season – in Shanghai, Tokyo, Bangkok, Cincinnati and at Queen’s.

Rafael Nadal is the top seed in Group B alongside Roger Federer – who won a record-equalling fifth circuit finale title in London last year – plus Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France and American Mardy Fish.

Djokovic has had a stunning season which has seen him claim the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles among a total of ten tour successes, however he is struggling at present with a shoulder problem which forced him to withdraw from the Paris Masters. “I have pushed myself to the limit by playing, and after the match yesterday my shoulder got worse,” said the Serbian world No 1 last week. “My season has been long and tiring, I played all of my matches at my highest level, and now my body is aching for recovery.”

Nadal and Federer meet in a repeat of the 2011 French Open final, the Swiss superstar’s only grand slam final appearance of the season. The 30-year-old comes into this tournament fresh from victory in Paris however, and can surpass Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras with a sixth finals title with victory in London. “Anyone can beat anyone,” said Federer before yesterday’s draw ceremony in London. “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a strong year.”

Federer will have the chance to gain revenge on Tsonga after the Frenchman came from two sets down to eliminate him at the quarter-final stage of this year’s Wimbledon championships, while Fish equalled his best-ever grand slam performance by reaching the last eight at Wimbledon 2011, where he lost to eventual runner-up Nadal.

Tsonga will be facing Federer for the seventh time this year but is looking forward to the challenge.

“Obviously it couldn’t be an easy draw but it’s a very good group for me, I’ll be playing against Roger once again,” the Frenchman told a news conference in Paris.

“I’ll play Rafa on a [hardcourt] surface that suits me really well and I’ll be expecting to beat Mardy Fish. Having played there three years ago will help me because I won’t be looking around telling myself ‘oh it’s great to be here’. I’m not going there just to participate.”

Last night the ATP put an early order of play on its website. Federer will face Tsonga in Sunday’s afternoon session, while Nadal plays Fish later that night. Murray and Ferrer clash in the afternoon session on Monday 21 November, while Djokovic plays Berdych that evening.