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Champion Federer predicts 'classic' 2011

From Don Riddell, CNN
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Federer on Nadal win
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Roger Federer beat his rival Rafael Nadal to win the season-ending ATP tournament
  • Federer secured his eighth win over Nadal with a 6-3 3-6 6-1 triumph in London
  • The pair will next meet in two charity exhibition matches in December
  • Swiss star will defend his Australian Open title in January, 2011's first grand slam

(CNN) -- Roger Federer is looking forward to another season of intense rivalry with Rafael Nadal following his victory over the world No. 1 in Sunday's ATP World Tour Finals title decider.

Second-ranked Federer won the men's tennis season finale for the fifth time in his illustrious career with his 6-3 3-6 6-1 triumph over the Spaniard.

However, he still trails the 24-year-old by more than 3,000 ranking points ahead of 2011's first grand slam event, the Australian Open in January.

Nadal has won the past three majors, but Federer will be defending his title in Melbourne as he seeks to extend his record grand slam tally to 17.

Federer overcomes Nadal in London final

"I think we can really look forward to another classic season in men's tennis," the Swiss star told CNN.

I think we can really look forward to another classic season in men's tennis
--Roger Federer
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"I start with a lot of pressure, having to defend the Australian Open. Rafa doesn't have that, he's going in with pressure trying to win his fourth [grand slam] in a row, so I think there's a lot at stake."

Federer beat Nadal for just the eighth time in 22 career meetings in London, but has won all three of their indoor encounters.

"Obviously it makes it extra special, playing Rafa and beating him in the final. For me it is a great finish to the season," the 29-year-old said.

The annual event, which moved to the British capital in 2009, is contested between the world's top-eight male players.

Tennis aces 'feel like rock stars' in London

The top four reached the semifinals, with Nadal beating Andy Murray in an epic three-set struggle, while Federer crushed Serbia's third-ranked Novak Djokovic.

"To beat all my closest rivals Murray, Djokovic and Rafa in this tournament has been fantastic. We've had a couple of breakthroughs, with [Tomas] Berdych and [Robin] Soderling again proving his point. Djokovic and Murray both had another great season."

Federer hailed the atmosphere at the 17,500-capacity court in the former Millennium Dome and described it as the perfect end to a satisfying season.

"I thought the atmosphere was absolutely fantastic. This is another season I'm going to look back on and say 'I think I played another great season' and this gives me great motivation to do well again next year."

Nadal and Federer, who have won 25 of the last 30 grand slams between them, will next play two exhibition matches to promote their charity foundations.

The first will take place on December 21 in Zurich, Switzerland before the duo meet again the following day in the Spanish capital Madrid.