BNP Paribas Masters What the Trophy Would Mean Djokovic Federer Wawrinka
With one of the biggest trophies of the season at stake, and with the ATP’s top eight players keen to put in a good showing before the WTF, the competition at the BNP Paribas Masters, Paris-Bercy, will be tough. The Tennis Review takes a look at what the trophy would mean to some of the tour’s leading players and what stands in their way to getting their hands on one of the tour’s most prestigious and imaginative looking prizes .
Novak Djokovic. Champion 2014, 2013, 2009.
Novak Djokovic has won five ATP 1000s this season (Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, Rome, Shanghai) becoming the first player in history to achieve that feat twice in their career (he did it first in 2011).
If Djokovic wins Paris-Bercy, he will become the first player ever to win six ATP 1000 titles in a season. A sixth trophy would also mean he would hold ten of the tour’s most prestigious 14 trophies going back to the WTF ’14.
It could also be the achievement that distinguishes his 2015 season from all the other contenders for best season ever in the Open era (Federer’s 2005, 2006, Djokovic’s own 2011, Sampras ’96 are among the others).
Djokovic could meet the dangerous Benoit Paire in the last sixteen and then either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Tomas Berdych in the quarters. While any of those players might trouble him for a few games or even a set, none of them are likely to upset him.
If an upset were to happen, that is most probably going to come at the hands of Stan Wawrinka who is Djokovic’s scheduled last four opponent and who beat Djokovic so brilliantly the last time they met in Paris in the Roland Garros final in June.
If Djokovic survives Wawrinka, it is hard not to see him beating either Andy Murray or Roger Federer in the final considering the slow surface and the confidence he would have from winning 21 matches in a row to make his 14th consecutive final.
Roger Federer. Champion 2011
Federer’s Basel win will have made up somewhat for the disappointment of an early loss in Shanghai, but a win in Paris will mean that extraordinary slip-up will definitely be forgotten.
More importantly, a second career Paris-Bercy trophy would mean that Federer would enter the ATP WTF full of confidence.
The slow Bercy surface is one of the reasons why Federer has only managed to win one title in Paris-Bercy, and his resume there is littered with early upsets. If Federer was to prevail this year and thwart the all round offensive-defensive skills of the likes of Djokovic and Murray then that would mean Federer was well and truly on his game at the net and that his underrated defensive skills were on-song, too, which would help him considerably on the slow London surface.
Federer opens up against his Australian Open conqueror Andreas Seppi and then could meet Isner in the last sixteen, Ferrer in the quarters, and Murray in the last four.
Andy Murray. Quarter-finalist 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2014
Andy Murray recent rise to the world No.2 ranking was impressive, but his 1-6, 3-6 loss to world No.1 Novak Djokovic left many people wondering if there had ever been a greater gap between the world’s top two ranked players.
Now Murray has been overtaken by Federer and is back to No.3, but he is still the second seed in Paris -Bercy. Should Murray topple Federer in the semis and meet Djokovic in this year’s finals, then the opinion he is a few leagues below Djokovic is unlikely to change. Djokovic thrives on slow indoors courts as much as he does on slow outdoors ones, and Murray, who has never been past the last eight in Paris-Bercy, could find himself facing another humiliating defeat.
If Murray does lift the trophy, a scenario that could play out if Djokovic loses early, then it would be his third ATP 1000 title of the season (won Madrid, Montreal), a career best. But there are questions about just how motivated Murray isto win a third ATP 1000 when his focus is understandably on the Davis Cup at the end of the month.
Interestingly, Murray will face his Davis Cup final opponent David Goffin in the fourth round, a match that, considering the slow Paris-Bercy surface, could give us some idea how their Davis Cup clash might play out.
Stan Wawrinka. Quarter-finals 2013
How will Stan feel about Paris now he has won the French Open? The Swiss world No.4 had not been past the Roland Garros Quarters before his win this year and the two time slam winner may surprise us again this year in Bercy.
Wawrinka, who did very well on a similar surface last year at the WTF, has not had the best runs in Paris (he is 10-10) but his previous history at event accounts for little for this streakiest of players.
A trophy in Paris would round off Wawrinka’s 2015 perfectly, and leave whatever happens in London as a very nice bonus. This season Wawrinka has won a slam, two ATP 500s (Rotterdam, Tokyo) and an ATP 250 (Chennai) so an ATP 1000 title would complete his trophy collection very nicely.
Wawrinka has a possible clash with Nadal in the last eight and would likely have to beat Djokovic in the semis to get a shot at Murray or Federer in the finals. That might sound like an intimidating line-up to some, but for Wawrinka the more illustrious the opposition and the bigger the stage, the better he plays.
Rafael Nadal. Runner up 2007, Semi-finals 2009, 2013
Nadal, who has been a pro since 2001, has only competed in four Paris-Bercy events and has never lost before the quarters.
This season, Nadal goes into the tournament having had a strong indoor season, one of his strongest ever in fact, and in his weakest season since 2004, too.
A runner-up finish in Beijing, semis in Shanghai, and a finalist in Basel, Nadal has found his game to some degree, but most importantly, he has re-found the quality that has made him one of the game’s very best- his fighting spirit.
That fighting spirit could result in one of the stories of the tennis year- a Nadal triumph in Paris. If that were to happen, Nadal would go into the WTF in two weeks on a high, with nothing to lose, and only confidence to gain going into the off-season. That huge swing in Momentum- remember how bad things looked when he was beaten soundly by Djokovic in Monte Carlo?– could carry over nicely into 2016 and to Melbourne where Nadal would be eager to show off that fighting spirit all the way to another final, and possibly a 15th slam trophy.
Nadal will not have it easy. He has drawn Kevin Anderson, playing the best tennis of his career, in the last sixteen, Wawrinka in the last eight, and Novak Djokovic in the last four.
Commentary by Christian Deverille.
Who do you think will win Paris-Bercy? Amd what do you think the trophy will mean to them? Let us know in the comments box below.
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