8 players to have successfully defended their ATP Finals title
The ATP Finals is the crown-jewel of the ATP calendar, pitting the season's best eight players in a round-robin format followed by a semifinal and a final. The 2019 ATP Finals in London would be the 50th edition of the season-finale, which started in 1970 in Tokyo and has since been held in 12 other cities over the years.
23 different players have won the ATP Finals, with Roger Federer (6) leading a group of 9 players to have won the tournament twice.
In 48 previous editions of the tournament, barring the inaugural one in 1970, the defending champion returned to defend his title the next year on 39 occasions but was successful only 15 times. 2018 champion Sascha Zverev's appearance at the 2019 ATP Finals would mark the 40th occasion of the previous year's winner returning to defend his title.
Let us meet the select group of eight players in chronological order (last one first) to have successfully defended their title at the season-finale tournament.
#1 Novak Djokovic (Successfully defended titles in 2013-15)
Novak Djokovic is a five-time winner at the ATP Finals. Since his maiden triumph at the tournament in 2008, the Serb became the 9th and latest multiple time winner at the season-ending tournament when he beat two-time defending champion Roger Federer in straight sets in the 2012 final.
The Serb went undefeated in 2012, 2013 (beat Nadal in the final), and 2014 (had a walkover over Federer in the final) to become the first player since Ivan Lendl (1985-87) to win the ATP Finals three years in a row.
Djokovic returned to the ATP Finals in 2015 where his 15-match win streak ended at the hands of Roger Federer in the round-robin stage of the tournament. But he went on to beat the Swiss maestro in the final to become the first player to win 4 consecutive ATP Finals titles.
In the process, the Serb became the third player in tournament history to successfully defend his title on 3 occasions (2012-14).
#2 Roger Federer (Successfully defended titles in 2004, 2007, 2011)
Roger Federer has made the most appearances (17), played the most matches (72), won the most matches (57), made the most finals (10), has had the most number of perfect group-stage campaigns (10), and has won the most ATP Finals titles (6) in the tournament's history.
To add to his impressive resume at the tournament, Federer has successfully defended his title at the season-finale tournament on 3 occasions.
The Swiss maestro beat two-time champion Lleyton Hewitt in the 2004 final to successfully defend his title at the tournament for the first time in his career. Further successful defences followed in 2007 (beat David Ferrer in the final) and in 2011 (beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final).