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Nadal seals spot for ATP season finale in London

Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot to Switzerland's Roger Federer during their final match at the Madrid Open tennis tournament May 17, 2009. REUTERS/Francisco Seco

LONDON (Reuters) - World number one Rafael Nadal has booked a place in the end-of-season ATP World Tour finals being staged in London for the first time, organizers said on Tuesday.

Nadal, the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon champion, will be joined at the November 22-29 event by the world’s seven other leading players.

The Spaniard, who won this year’s first grand slam in Australia and also cleaned up three of the prestigious Masters Series events in Indian Wells, Monte Carlo and Rome, missed last season’s finale in Shanghai because of tendonitis in his knee.

Despite qualifying for the tournament for the past four years, Nadal has twice withdrawn through injury and has never reached the final, having lost to Roger Federer in the semi-finals in 2006 and 2007.

“History shows us that players love playing in this event and I’m very confident that everybody who qualifies will want to be here,” tournament director Brad Drewett told reporters at Tuesday’s launch next to the River Thames.

Tournament organizers said 150,000 of the 250,000 tickets had already been snapped up with another 65,000 going on sale to the general public on Tuesday.

“Our goal is to make this the biggest and best indoor sporting event in the world,” the ATP’s chief marketing officer Phil Anderton told reporters.

“The depth of talent in men’s tennis at the moment, with the likes of (Roger) Federer, Nadal, (Andy) Murray and (Novak) Djokovic means that fans can expect to see some epic tennis.”

The round-robin event, which this year will have a prize pot of $5 million with 1,500 ATP world ranking points going to the winner, will be held at London’s 02 Arena, formerly known as the Millennium Dome, for five years.