London - He has won the year-end finals six times and qualified for it on 11 consecutive occasions, but with a few days to go before the tennis elite descend on the O2 Arena, Roger Federer is still not guaranteed his place there.
For the great Swiss it is faintly embarrassing that he is still waiting for confirmation, but he hopes that will change on Wednesday at the Paris Masters, where victory over South African Kevin Anderson will end all speculation about him turning up in London.
However, a place at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals is no longer up for grabs for British doubles hopefuls Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot who, with different partners, saw their hopes of a surprise appearance at the elite season climax end in defeat.
There will be no Murray at all on view next week after Jamie and Australian colleague John Peers went down 6-4, 6-4 in the French capital to Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky, bringing their late surge to an end alongside Inglot and his partner Treat Huey.
So, it will be like the old days in tennis, with London playing host to the world with precious little input from any home player.
Being without the colossal presence of Federer would seriously undermine the event, but that remains the remotest prospect.
He is comfortably the best placed of the contenders for the three spots to be filled for a tournament that rewards the top eight singles players and doubles pairs of the 2013, beginning on Monday.
That should assure his army of supporters and in pole position to join him there are Stanislas Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet.
Assuming the 32-year-old Swiss does make it then he would equal the record of Ivan Lendl in making the year-end jamboree.
Lendl is another absentee as his charge Andy Murray continues his recovery from back surgery, which is said to be going satisfactorily.
Federer received a vote of confidence from his old rival Rafael Nadal - also in action on Wednesday - with the Spaniard knowing that the now world No 6 is never more dangerous than when playing indoors.
‘I am sure that he is not finished,’ said Nadal. ‘He had a very positive week in Basel and I have no doubt that he will be playing better now than what he has been doing this year.
‘His goal will be to finish the year strongly and be ready to start in Australia.
‘If that happens he will be one of the candidates to win the first Grand Slam of 2014. His talent allows him to keep being one of the favourites.’
What has been a career-reviving season for Jamie Murray - reaching the Paris final would have got him into London - met with a low-key end, but he was not despondent.
‘We’ve been on the road for seven weeks and were maybe a little flat on Wednesday,’ he admitted. ‘It’s been a good season, starting it ranked 90 in the world and finishing in the top 30.
‘We knew we had a chance of making the O2, but it was always going to be difficult. We probably missed the odd chance in the last couple of weeks and that left us with a bit too much to do.’
Inglot and his Filipino partner needed to win this tournament to make it into next week, but arrived with some belief having won the Swiss Indoors title on Sunday.
In the event they went down 7-6, 6-3 to Italians Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi, but it has also been a strong year for the Chiswick-based player.