For the fourth consecutive year, the top eight players of the year will compete for the Masters in London this week. A very private club...   ...The ATP changes the name of its annual little party on a...

For the fourth consecutive year, the top eight players of the year will compete for the Masters in London this week. A very private club...

  ...The ATP changes the name of its annual little party on a regular basis to wake up sleepy heads: the Masters, the ATP World Tour Championships, the Tennis Masters Cup and the ATP World Tour Finals, now. Even if no-one really cares and calls it "The" Masters... ...You can go shopping at Harrods and are spoiled for choice to see a football match on your day-off. ...You might be pushing on your legs and engaging with your shoulders, but your serve is stuck at 105mph. Can't wait for the holidays… ...You lose a game or two and you're still in the race. Not dead, meet the same player and try again. Better, sometimes you even qualify for the semi-finals. ... For the first time of the year, it's dark when you wake up and when you go to bed. Except for the aurora borealis in Lapland, you've never seen this before. ...You have to get the slide rule out for the borderline participants: four Grand Slams + nine Masters 1000 (including a non-mandatory one in Monte-Carlo) + 3 ATP 500 tournaments + two 250 minus Nadal's knee, all this divided by the possible last minute injuries, plus two luxury, duly paid, substitutes, equal to Djoko, Roger, Andy, Ferrer, Janko, Tsonga, Del Potro and Berdych. As for Gasquet, Almagro and others Monaco, they still have a headache about it. ...The list of withdrawals, like your kids Christmas list, gets longer every day. ...Rafa never wins in the end... ...We play at who loses wins more than half of the time. Eight times out of fifteen, when two players meet again in the final, it's the one who got beat in the first match who wins the title. ...Your pharmacy is full: anti-inflammatory, analgesic, aspirin, creams, anti-everything... ... It looks like the Academy Awards except that, in the end, there is only one statuette. And more importantly, it’s not L.A. ...Your other half is stalking you to finally go on holiday. And in February, April, mid-July and at the end of the summer, what was it? Commando training? ...There’s no Englishman on the horizon. Oh, Murray? Try telling the Scots that it’s the same thing... ...There are substitutes, just like in any boring team sport. ...Your Cyclo-tennis tan of the entire year is finally peeling off. ... An unlikely Argentine, Brazilian or Russian tennis player arrives unannounced to pocket the trophy. ...A week after the girls and their ceremonial gowns, the eight masters put on their favourite designer suits. The transition from the swoosh or the three stripes to the classy suits is not always easy. Yeah, remember Ferrer's shabby dark blue Paul Smith...? ... Your elbow swells on a regular basis, your joints creak, and you can't keep the ball in anymore. So, you quietly throw away the second game. Christmas came early... ...The win/loss Ratio of clay's experts (Clerc, Bruguera, Muster, Coria, Costa, Solomon, Gaudio, etc.) just like the one of the grass' aces (Cash, Tanner, Ivanisevic, Krajicek...) is proven disastrous: between 0 and 40%. ... An unknown Canadian looking like a Quebec singer has been squatting the court-side seats of the ceremony for more than ten years and, furthermore, he's winning. Four times between 2003 and last year. Everyone sees him but nobody really knows this Daniel Nestor winner of... the doubles with Mirnyi (twice), Zimonjic and Knowles. Guys more famous than him, that's to say… ...The Moët & Chandon people treat the stands full of people in their Sunday best for charities’ parties. ... Roger Federer beats all the records (six, soon to be seven victories?). Before it has even started, he's already sure to match the records of Lendl, Becker and Sampras with 49 matches in the Masters. Waiting for better ... ... It's raining, it's freezing, it stinks of greasy fish and chips, it even smells like Christmas tree and the seven beaten in London leave with a smile on their face. Holiday time!   By Rico Rizzitelli