Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are two of the most decorated winners at the ATP Finals. While Federer has won the season-ending tournament on a record six occasions, Djokovic is one of three players (also Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras) to have triumphed at the ATP Finals five times.
At the 50th edition of the ATP Finals this year in London, Federer is making his record-extending 17th appearance. The Swiss maestro beat tournament debutant Matteo Berrettini in straight sets to record at least one win in each of his appearances at the tournament, and in the process remain in contention for a semifinal place.
After Djokovic kicked off his 12th ATP Finals appearance with a straight-set defeat of Berrettini, the recently deposed No. 1 fell to Dominic Thiem in a deciding set tiebreak. In the process Thiem, who beat Federer in his first round-robin match. qualified as the group-winner with a match to spare. That result also eliminated Berrettini from the fray and left Federer and Djokovic to contest a winner-takes-all loser-goes-home 'virtual' quarterfinal scrap.
In 48 previous meetings Djokovic leads Federer 26-22, including wins in the pair's last five meetings stretching back to the final of the 2015 ATP Finals. That was the last time Federer met his 2019 Wimbledon final conqueror at the season-ending tournament.
The match against Federer would be Djokovic's 50th at the ATP Finals (36-13). Only the man he'll face on Thursday has played more matches (74) than the Serb at the season-ending tournament.
Along with Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray (five apiece), Djokovic is the only player to have played Federer at least five times at the ATP Finals. The 16-time Grand Slam champion and Juan Martin del Potro are the only players to have beaten Federer multiple times at the season-ending tournament.
On that note, let us re-live Federer and Djokovic's previous clashes at the ATP Finals.
#1 2010 Semifinals: Federer beat Djokovic 6-1 6-4
In the pair's first meeting at the season-ending tournament, four-time champion Federer faced Djokovic for the third time (Shanghai semis, Basel final) after squandering a pair of match points in the US Open semifinals.
In his fifth meeting of the season against Djokovic, Federer burst out of the blocks, wrapping up the opening set with two breaks of serve. Djokovic briefly reversed the momentum by effecting a break of the Federer serve early in the second set, but normal service resumed soon thereafter as Federer got back on serve in the fifth game.
Another break of serve in the ninth game sealed a 6-1 6-4 win and a place in his sixth final at the ATP Finals.
Federer would go on to beat Rafael Nadal in the title match to clinch a record-equalling 5th title at the season-ending tournament.