Champion | Novak Djokovic stopped Roger Federer making it three ATP World Tour wins in a row at the O2 Arena. (Image | The Times)

World number one Novak Djokovic reclaimed his place at the pinnacle of tennis with a straight sets win over Roger Federer last night in a magnificent final lasting more than two hours.

The Serbian, who despite his ranking has had an altogether disappointing year, reminded fans everywhere just why he is its leading light in the (7-6, 7-5) triumph.

For there had been some debate after he went to the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open and returned empty-handed having set the pace early on in Australia.

The ATP World Tour finals may be more of an exhibition tournament than the illustrious Grand Slams, and is after all the end-of-season closer, but this was Djokovic laying down a marker to his opponents – you know where I am, now come and get me.

It came after Federer had blitzed into an early lead in the first set, winning the opening nine points after destroying Andy Murray in the semi-finals. With both sets going to a tie break, the second was more a case of the Australian Open winner grinding down Federer, while the first was all about a stupendous comeback.

Overjoyed | The Serb was delighted to claim some silverware again, after winning the Australian Open earlier this year. (Image | Yahoo)

In sport we all dream of the finals and big games being contested by the world’s greatest players and teams. Well that was the case here. Not that any of those competing at London’s O2 Arena could be described as anything but exceptional tennis players.

I was fortunate enough to witness Thomas Berdych spring a nasty surprise on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the crowd favourite, on Wednesday. The Czech showed his quality and shrewd understanding of how to take on the French man-mountain, and stunned the stadium with a series of smart winners and break points.

So what does this mean for the coming year? It is hard to escape the feeling, as a tennis fan in the UK, that Andy Murray winning the US Open has somehow transformed the sport and will pave the way for a flood of titles and trophies for the Dunblane player.

While this probably is not the case, it is worth noting that there have been four separate winners of this season’s Grand Slams: Djokovic in Australia, Rafael Nadal in France, Federer at Wimbledon and Murray in the US. This all bodes extremely well for next year, for the sport is really only as powerful as its leading lights, which fortunately, happen to be brilliant competitors of the highest calibre.

Retired | American Andy Roddick called it a day having won one Grand Slam during his twelve year career. (Image | Ball71)

We have also seen the departure of veteran Andy Roddick, who retired from tennis after the US Open. The 30-year-old, a former world number one, sadly won just one Grand Slam title, in the States in 2003, but his powerful serve and charming on-court demeanour, particularly during his three Wimbledon final defeats to the master Federer, won him many admirers.

Further to this, Brits have been awoken from their slumbers not only by Andy Murray winning across the pond, but also his success at the London 2012 Olympic Games, where the Scot dispatched his great Swiss rival, as well as the emergence of Laura Robson as a genuine contender.

With Djokovic and Federer having played out the final act of 2012, the former winning his first ATP World Tour title, in a dramatic match capped by several moments of stunning individual brilliance (such as Djokovic’s diving winner down the line to break Federer), hopes are high that 2013 can much what has truly been a vintage year for the sport. At least from a British perspective anyway.

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