The top eight men in the world (barring injuries) line up against one another in round-robin format to see who will lift this prestigious trophy. This year battling it out are: In Group A Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Tomas Berdych and Andy Roddick. In Group B Roger Federer, Robin Soderling, Andy Murray and David Ferrer.
But this is more than just a tennis event, it's a bit of a show too, with a lot of razzmatazz inside the O2 Arena where the players are introduced, amidst smoke and music (I believe) and their best achievements detailed to the crowd - in some ways it's rather like a Davis Cup match.
However, it's not just that, the players arrive several days ahead of the event and do publicity stuff and other fun stuff (a couple of them have been to football matches this year). Last year they were all dressed up as top London bankers in pin stripe suits with umbrellas and the works - you can imagine it's quite daunting for some of them, especially if they've never really hit the large finals before.
This year they went to Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister - it didn't surprise me they were invited as both David Cameron and Nick Clegg are keen tennis players and fans. There were pictures and a reception and it was during the latter something amusing happened - it was on the radio this morning. And I've found links to it on the web as well.
David Cameron decided the wanted to trade a few shots with Andy Murray so he borrowed a racket from Rafa and they hit back and forth in the dining room - yes, the dining room. Murray reported it was rather scary especially when David Cameron his a shot that missed the chandelier by a mere inch or two. And I find it very easy to believe that our Prime Minister would indeed do that. Now that I would have loved to have seen. They had hoped to play outside, but the weather was too bad. Murray says he was more scared than embarrassed, even though the likes of Rafa and Federer were on the side lines cheering him and David Cameron on, as he didn't want to break anything.
The next time they appeared for a photo shoot someone had provided David Ferrer with the 'obligatory' black suit.