Scouting Report: Alcaraz, Djokovic & Nadal Headline Paris
The stars of the ATP Tour this week are set to take centre stage at the Rolex Paris Masters, the final ATP Masters 1000 event of the season. World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, defending champion Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are in action.
It is also the final week of the regular season, with the final Nitto ATP Finals qualification spots in singles and doubles still up for grabs. ATPTour.com looks at 10 things you should watch at Paris-Bercy.
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1) Reigning Champion Djokovic: Novak Djokovic will look to capture a record-extending seventh Paris title and third in a row when he takes to court at the ATP Masters 1000 event next week. The 35-year-old, who defeated Daniil Medvedev in the championship match last year, has won his past nine matches, lifting trophies in Tel Aviv and Astana. The sixth-seeded Serbian will open against Diego Schwartzman or Maxime Cressy as he looks to maintain his good recent form.
2) Alcaraz Chasing Sixth Title: The 19-year-old arrives in Paris aiming to write another chapter into his fairytale season. The Spaniard, who will compete at the Nitto ATP Finals in November, won ATP Masters 1000 titles in Miami and Madrid earlier this season before he captured the US Open crown, becoming the youngest player to rise to No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings (since 1973).
Alcaraz will be making his second appearance in Paris after reaching the third round on debut last year when he was World No. 35. This week will be important in the teen’s pursuit of year-end No. 1.
3) Nadal Returns: Nadal will compete for the first time since September at the Laver Cup, where he partnered Roger Federer in the final match of the Swiss’ career. The Spaniard reached the fourth round at the US Open in his previous tour-level singles event. Nadal will look to find his form quickly as he pursues a sixth year-end World No. 1 finish.
The 36-year-old, who holds a 38-5 record on the season, will be trying to win his first Paris title. Nadal’s best run in the French capital came in 2007, when he advanced to the championship match.
4) After Medvedev’s Qualification, Rublev Aiming To Seal Turin Spot: After Daniil Medvedev qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals on Saturday, Andrey Rublev will look to seal his spot at the season finale when he plays in Paris. He currently has 3,440 points, putting him 530 points ahead of eighth-placed American Taylor Fritz. The 25-year-old, who is aiming to make his third consecutive appearance at the prestigious year-end championships, lost in the second round in Vienna last week. He will look to bounce back when he takes on John Isner or a qualifier in his opening match in Paris.
5) Can Felix Hold On? Felix Auger-Aliassime arrives in Paris in top form. The Canadian has won consecutive tour-level trophies in Florence and Antwerp and is still alive in Basel.
Auger-Aliassime currently sits seventh in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin with 3,435 points as he holds onto the final qualifying position for Turin. He is 525 points clear of eighth-placed Fritz as he seeks to make his debut at the season finale. If the Canadian wins his fourth tour-level title of the season in Basel, he will move ahead of Rublev (3,440 points) and into sixth.
6) Fritz & Hurkacz In Pursuit: Fritz and Hubert Hurkacz will be ready to pounce should Medvedev, Rublev or Auger-Aliassime fall early. The American Fritz (2,910 points) boosted his qualification chances when he lifted his third tour-level trophy of the season in Tokyo in October. He could face Auger-Aliassime in a critical third-round clash in Paris.
Hurkacz competed in Turin last year and will need a deep run if he is to return next month. The Pole, who has 2,860 points, will begin his campaign in France against French wild card Adrian Mannarino, while Fritz plays Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
View Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin
7) Ruud & Tsitsipas Looking To Bounce Back: Third seed Casper Ruud and fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will try to respond after early exits in Basel and Vienna, respectively, last week. The Norwegian Ruud lost in the first round against Stan Wawrinka, but will aim to rediscover the form that saw him win three tour-level titles and reach two Grand Slam finals earlier this season.
The Greek Tsitsipas, who fell to Borna Coric in the second round in Vienna, will be chasing his third trophy of the season and second ATP Masters 1000 crown when he takes to court. The 24-year-old’s best result in the French capital came in 2019, when he reached the quarter-finals, while Ruud advanced to that stage last year.
8) #NextGenATP Stars In Action: In November, Holger Rune, Lorenzo Musetti and Brandon Nakashima will make their second appearances at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, while Jack Draper will make his debut. However, before Milan, they will look to light up Paris with deep runs at the season’s final Masters 1000 event.
Earlier this month, Rune lifted his second tour-level trophy in Stockholm. On the same day, Musetti captured his second tour-level crown when he triumphed in Naples.
9) Simon Set For Farewell: French wild card Gilles Simon will compete in Paris for the final time, with the 37-year-old retiring at the end of the season. Simon, who earned his 500th tour-level win earlier this year at Roland Garros, will be making his 16th appearance on home soil, with his best result was a run to the semi-finals in 2012. The Frenchman begins against former World No. 1 Andy Murray.
10) Doubles Teams Battle For Final Spots: With one week to go, there are still four doubles qualification spots available at the Nitto ATP Finals. Fifth-placed pair Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos arrive in Paris with 3,560 points. Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara are sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings (3,240).
Ninth-placed team Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek, who are still alive in Basel, are ninth (2,900), with 10th-placed Italians Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini (2,670) aiming to make a late push in Paris.