Highlights - Federer beats Nadal in London
By Piers Newbery at the O2 Arena
Roger Federer described beating Rafael Nadal to claim a fifth year-end title as "amazing" and said that winning in London made it extra special.
The 29-year-old Swiss saw off world number one Nadal 6-3 3-6 6-1 at the O2 Arena to win the ATP World Tour Finals, reclaiming the title he last won in Shanghai three years ago.
"It's fantastic, I'm really thrilled the way I played all week," said Federer. "To win a fifth time is obviously amazing, for the third time in a different place. Like I said before, it would be great to win in Houston, Shanghai and also now here in London.
"I'm just really happy the way I was able to finish the season in style, playing some of my best tennis, really saving the best for last. Obviously, beating Rafa in the final makes it extra special because of the year he had."
Federer dominated the first and third sets of Sunday's 97-minute final and looked much the fresher man after making it through the draw without dropping a set.
He also felt that his naturally attacking game was more suited to the conditions.
"This is indoor tennis, this is the way I grew up playing, so maybe it played into my hands but I always believed in a plan from start to finish," he said.
"Even though I lost the second set, I'm really happy the way I stayed positive throughout the match today. I thought it was clearly a very high level. I don't know if I could have played any better so I'm really pleased."
Federer began the year with victory at the Australian Open but failed to make another Grand Slam final, and saw his record run of 23 major semi-finals end at the French Open before a shock quarter-final loss to Tomas Berdych at Wimbledon.
His form has returned in the autumn with indoor titles in Stockholm, Basle and now London, and he paid tribute to long-time coach Severin Luthi and new addition to the team, Paul Annacone.
"I guess I had to regain some confidence," said Federer. "That only comes through winning matches.
At the moment I have no plans at all stopping, quitting, whatever you want to call it. I hope I can play for many more years. I think it's possible
"After having somewhat of a disappointing clay, Halle, Wimbledon stretch, where I wasn't able to win any tournaments and maybe didn't play some of my best tennis, played a bit passive, it was important once the hard-court season came around that I was able to pick up my game, start moving better, start feeling well physically and mentally.
"I'm sure Paul has helped in this regard. So has Severin. That's why I'm very happy with my team at this stage of the season, I can obviously thank them for their great work."
And the perennial question of how long the 16-time Grand Slam champion plans to continue playing met with the expected response.
"As long as I'm healthy, eager, motivated, which clearly I am," he said. "I've played 10 full seasons in my career, nine of them I made the World Tour Finals, so I've always had long and exhausting seasons.
"But I seem to enjoy it and take pleasure out of travelling the world, playing against the best, challenging myself in practice and so forth.
"So it's been an amazing career. At the moment I have no plans at all stopping, quitting, whatever you want to call it. I hope I can play for many more years. It's a goal anyway, I think it's possible."
Nadal missed out on the one significant title that remains absent from his CV and admitted he had been outplayed by Federer in the first and third sets of the final.
"He played unbelievable," said the Spaniard. "I think in the beginning he was unplayable, the first set. I was still having chances in the second set and the beginning of the third, so-so.
"My thought is he played better than me, he beat me. I can just congratulate him for his victory and another great tournament for him.
"He played unbelievable all week, without losing a set, being in the final, so his level was very high. I tried my best this afternoon but he was better than me."
I lost the match because I played against a very good Roger Federer on one of his favourite surfaces, and when he's playing like this it's very difficult to stop him
And the 24-year-old refused to be drawn on just how much his three-hour semi-final win over Andy Murray 24 hours earlier had taken it out of him.
"I think it's not the right moment to talk about that," said Nadal. "The thing is everybody saw the match yesterday, so everybody's free to think his own opinion. I don't want to say I lost the match because I was tired.
"What I'm going to say and what I feel is I lost the match because I played against a very good Roger Federer on one of his favourite surfaces, and when he's playing like this it's very difficult to stop him."
Nadal could at least look back on one of the all-time great years in tennis after winning the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, and becoming only the seventh man to have won all four Grand Slam titles.
This time last year he was struggling with his fitness and in the middle of an 11-month barren spell in terms of tournaments wins.
"When you spend 11 months without a victory, when you pass some difficult moments, you really know how difficult it is to win tournaments and to be competitive every week," he admitted.
And looking ahead to 2011, Nadal refused to see anything negative in the commanding lead he has in the world rankings, which means a huge amount of points to defend.
"It's going to be the same pressure for me to play in Australia as it was at the US Open," he said. "It doesn't matter if I have to defend 2,000 points or 350 points because the goal is the same, to try to play well, compete against everybody and be in the final rounds."