What a great idea to finish the tennis season in a city as beautiful as Paris. But this week there won't be anytime to enjoy as we'll need to keep a close eye on the race to grab the last points of the season.
In Bercy, many things seem possible with the absence of major players (Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin Del Potro, defending champion Robin Soderling) and the late revelations of the season, we will have to keep an eye on a few particular people, as anything is possible.
Novak Djokovic, world n1, playing in Basel in 2011
Of course, world No. 1, Novak Djokovic needs to be watched in Paris. He has a great season, but the end of the year is complicated for "Super Novak." Injured in September after the Davis Cup in Argentina, he spent a month and a half out of the circuit. Back in Basel, Djokovic suffered a shoulder injury, and that's how he's coming to Paris: injured.
As a seeded player, he won't be playing in the first round, but will meet either Fabio Fognini or Ivan Dodig in the second round. These aggressive players could definitely throw an injured Djokovic out. Fognini is a very aggressive player, and we remember Dodig sending Nadal back home after the first round in Montreal this summer.
Roger Federer, World n4, playing in Basel on November 2011
What a difficult season for Roger Federer. After nearly a year without raising a single title, he also fell in the ranking to world No. 4. But he should arrive in Paris full of hope. He has just returned to victory last weekend in Switzerland, where he won the Basel Open.
Bercy could be the right time for Federer, who could find benefits in the absence of his rival, Nadal, and Djokovic’s bad shape to make it to the final.
Before that, he could meet Andy Murray in the semifinals.
Andy Murray, playing the final of Shanghai Masters 1000, in October 2011
Andy Murray was the first player to arrive in Paris. Injured, he withdrew from Basel saying he couldn’t even walk anymore. Since he got to Paris, Andy has trained hard to make it to the final.
In Paris, Andy is definitely the man to watch. He’s had an amazing season, particularly in the Masters Series. Apart from a weakness in Montreal, Andy was in the semis in Monte Carlo and Rome, where he fell in front of Nadal and Djokovic, and won in Cincinnati and Shanghai.
Jo Wilfried Tsonga in Shanghai, in October 2011
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is one of the greatest revelations of the year. Yet in February, tired of poor performances and results down, he thought to quit tennis. Instead, he separated from his coach, and since he's climbing ATP rankings.
In Paris, he will have the support of an entire public cheering for his cause. As the winner in 2008, he knows this Masters well and will sure try to master it, to finish in beauty, and at home, a magnificent season.
His only enemy could be the pressure. The Frenchman is on track to qualify for the Masters in London, but yet it is not done. Tsonga knows he has no room for error. Will he hold the pressure?