The Race to London is complete.
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, David Ferrer, Juan Martin del Potro and Tomas Berdych (along with Andy Murray, but he will miss the event after undergoing back surgery in September, as per the ATP's official website) all qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals before play at the Paris Masters started this week.
But there were still three more spots available for the prestigious year-end tournament, which pits the top-eight ranked stars against each other in London from Nov. 4 through 11.
Roger Federer qualified for the year-end final for an amazing 12th-straight year when he defeated Kevin Anderson in the second round, and on Thursday, Richard Gasquet and Stanislas Wawrinka grabbed the final two spots when Tomas Berdych defeated Milos Raonic in the third round.
Play in Paris is starting to heat up, but we can now look forward to London with the "Elite Eight" officially set:
|ATP Rankings (As of Nov. 2)|
|Rank||Name||Points||Race to London Status|
|5||Juan Martin Del Potro||5,055||Qualified|
Many wondered if Rafael Nadal would return from his knee problems as the same player, and he has answered those questions emphatically in 2013.
After missing the start of the year, Rafa dominated the clay season—winning six tournaments, including a classic performance at Roland Garros for his eighth French Open title.
He put forth his second-straight disappointing effort at Wimbledon, but responded with more transcendence on the North American hard courts. The Spaniard won at Montreal and Cincinnati before rolling to his second career U.S. Open victory and a return to No. 1 in the rankings.
Nadal lost to Djokovic in Beijing and Del Potro in Shanghai, so he may be slowing down to finish the year, but there's very little question he'll be a strong favorite in London.
Djoker won the Australian Open and made it to two other Grand Slam finals but still dropped to No. 2 in the world after being bested by Nadal in France, Montreal and New York.
Nevertheless, it was still hardly a year to balk at—in addition to his third-straight Australian Open victory, the Serb won two ATP World Tour Master finals and earned five titles in all. It may not have been as world-beating as his 2011 and 2012 seasons, but it has been an impressive year nonetheless.
Djokovic, the defending champ in London, is playing extremely well right now. He won in both Beijing and Shanghai and has looked good so far in Paris.
This is obviously an incredibly elite field, but anything besides Nadal and Djokovic in the final will serve as a slight surprise.