Draw for the Rolex Paris Masters being out and world number 2 Roger Federer opting out after winning his 8th Basel tournament, i update for you my earlier preview of the prestigious Paris Masters 2017, scheduled from 30th October to 5th November.
Paris, an indoor hardcourt tournament will be the 9th and last of the 9 ATP 1000 events of the year. It is in fact is the only ATP 1000 Masters Tournament to be played indoors. The 2017 edition is the 46th time it will be played.
The tournament which is played on one of the fastest surfaces is a big favorite among players as it gives them a last minute chance to enter for the year ending Nitto ATP Finals. Now also 2 slots are open and Goffin, Del Potro, Busta and Tsonga will be hoping to make it.
The tournament was preceded by the French Covered Court Championships from 1895 to 1967. Jean Borotra with as many as 11 wins in the period between the world wars was the most successful player.
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.
A former carpenter and boxer, Bob Carmichael who reached the top 10 in singles was better 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 who won thrice and lost a Final once each to Sampras and Edberg.
If we have a look at champions since 2001 , only Tsonga is in this years tournament. Federer who had defeated Tsonga in 2011 was also supposed to be there but opted out to concentrate on the year end event.
Tsonga is also the last French player to win here. He had prevailed over Nalbandian in 2008. For 4 straight years from 2008-2011 there was at least one Frenchman in the finals here. Tsonga featured in 2008 and 2011 and Monfils in 2009 and 2010.
Tsonga’s win in 2008 was especially creditable since Nalbandian was the defending champion with a stunning 6-4 6-0 win over Rafa in a year where Rafa apart from winning French Open had stretched Federer to 5 sets before dethroning him in 2008. 2007 is Rafa’s only Final entry at Paris.
Defending champion Andy Murray who had won last year with a win over Isner is not there and neither is the most successful recent player here, Novak who has a 4 Nil record in finals here and is the only player in the 50 years history of this tournament to have defended his title here. In 2009, 2013, 2014 and 2015 Novak prevailed against Monfils, Ferrer, Raonic and Murray respectively.
World Number 1 Rafa who has won 2 of the 4 Majors this year is very much there in the fray. 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 ?
Federer with his current golden run would have been a favorite for the Paris Masters and his last minute pulling out makes the tournament more open. Probably Rafa and Delpo will be the favorites. 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. DelPo who has had a stunning second half of the year is a firm contender.
Rafa definitely has a tough draw with Zverev brothers, Delpo and Dimitrov all being in his half. His toughest match could well be at the semi-final stage if Del Po makes it there. Cilic if lucky may get an entry to the final with Dimitrov being the only other prominent player in his side of the draw.
Tsonga-Goffin and DelPo-Zverev in the 3rd round should be interesting matches. Another interesting match is Busta and Querrey in 3rd round, especially since Busta is just 80 points ahead of Querrey. Finally the 1st round itself will see an interesting match between Rublev and Verdasco with the winner going on to meet Kevin Anderson in the second with Thiem awaiting the winner in the third.
Looking forward for a great Paris Masters 2017.