Nadal and Federer had never met in the US Open. They were on a collision course for the US Open 2017 semifinals which was prevented by Del Potro ousting Federer. and Rafa went on to lift the Major, overall the great Champion’s 2nd of the year and 16th of his illustrious career.
The world was waiting to see if these two amazing champions would meet in the Shanghai Masters. Once again Del Potro was in the way but this time Federer prevailed over him to set up a Final against Rafa which the Swiss won 6-4 6-3 to become the oldest ever champion of this tournament.
Next on the ATP tour is Basel and immediately after that the Paris Rolex Masters and the year ending Nitto ATP Finals. Will we see them thrice more in Finals ? Wont that be great?
Since the Paris Masters is an ATP 1000 event, i preview its 2017 edition.
The Paris Masters is the 9th and last of the 9 ATP 1000 events of the year. It is played on indoor hardcourt and is the only ATP 1000 Masters Tournament to be played indoors. The 2017 edition of the tournament is scheduled for 30th October to 5th November and is the 46th edition of the prestigious tournament.
Apart from being prestigious in itself the tournament is a big favorite among players as it gives them a last minute chance to enter for the year ending Nitto ATP Finals. It is an exciting tournament and has one of the fastest surfaces on tour.
The tournament was preceded by the French Covered Court Championships from 1895 to 1967. The most successful player was Jean Borotra who won as many as 11 times in the period between the world wars.
The current tournament debuted in 1968 with the inaugural winner being Czech player Milan Holecek who prevailed over Robert “Bob” Carmichael. For Holecek, it was his only tournament win and he is largely an unknown character on the circuit.
Bob Carmichael of course is one of the better known tennis players. A former carpenter and boxer he was a top ten singles player but more well known as a doubles player of repute. He featured in as many as 34 doubles finals on the circuit with 12 wins. Bob was a well known coach as well, having provided guidance to Rafter, Cahill, Hewitt and Leander Paes.
Since then the tournament has been held regularly every year barring 4 years namely 1983-85 and 1971. Some great players who have won here are Ashe, Nastase, Becker, Edberg, Goran, Agassi and Sampras. The player with maximum finals here is Becker. He won thrice and lost a Final each to fellow greats Sampras and Edberg.
Defending champion Andy Murray who had won last year by defeating John Isner will not be there to defend his title.
The most successful player here in recent times is Novak Djokovic who has won with 4 wins in 2009, 2013-2015 against Monfils, Ferrer, Raonic and Murray respectively. Novak has a 4 Nil record here in finals.Incredibly in the almost 50 years history of the tournament, Novak is the only player who has defended his title, and that too he did so twice. He too is not there this year.
What about Federer and Rafa
Federer has won here only once, which was in 2011 with a 6-1 7-6 win over Tsonga in the finals. Tsonga is the last French Player to win here with his win over Nalbandian in 2008. Interestingly for 4 straight years from 2008-2011 there was at least one Frenchman in the finals here. It was Tsonga in 2008 and 2011 and Monfils in 2009 and 2010.
Tsonga’s win in 2008 was especially creditable since Nalbandian was the defending champion, that too a stunning 6-4 6-0 win over Rafa. Nalbandian’s win was even more praiseworthy considering that in 2007 Rafa had not only won the French Open but almost won Wimbledon as well, with Federer winning in 5 sets.. 2007 is Rafa’s only Final entry at Paris.
The French open and the Paris Masters together constitute the Paris double and the 4 who have won both are Ilie Nastase, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. However Federer and Novak have not done it the same year while Nastase and Agassi did it in 1973 and 1999 respectively. Can Rafa repeat their feat ?
Before Paris is the 2017 Swiss Indoors Basel where former ball boy Federer has as many as 7 titles. Will he win his 8th there? We will soon know.
As things stands now, the two Champions are joint favorites for the Paris Masters. Rafa playing the Shanghai finals with a strapped knee would be a worrying factor for his team and his fans but hopefully it is just a niggle and he would be back at peak fitness.
If so, with Federer also turning back the clock, we could see the 2 champions battle it out again a couple of times more this year.
Looking forward for a great Paris Masters 2017.