Scouting Report: 10 Things To Watch In Paris
Whoever advances further will be No. 1 in the ATP Rankings on 5 November. If Nadal and Djokovic lose in the same round, the Spaniard will remain World No. 1. Nadal boasts 33 Masters 1000 titles to Djokovic’s 32.
2. Indoors is Hard: Paris is one of three Masters 1000 tournaments that Nadal has never won. In fact, Nadal captured the only indoor hard-court title of his career as a 19-year-old at the Masters 1000 tournament in Madrid in October 2005.
Nadal has played at 24 indoor hard-court events over the past 13 years without a championship, losing five finals beginning with the 2007 Rolex Paris Masters.
3. Advantage, Nole: Djokovic has won four of his 12 indoor hard-court titles in Paris. The Serbian went 17-1 at the Rolex Paris Masters from 2013-16 before missing the 2017 event.
Djokovic fell to No. 22 in the ATP Rankings on 21 May. Should he pass Nadal, Djokovic would be the first player since Marat Safin in 2000 to have been ranked outside the Top 20 then No. 1 in the same season.
4. Final Lap: The ATP Race To London ends in Paris with two spots remaining at the Nitto ATP Finals. Kevin Anderson qualified on Sunday by winning the Erste Bank Open 500 in Vienna. Now Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem are on pace to qualify. On the outside looking in are Kei Nishikori and John Isner. Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer, Juan Martin del Potro and Alexander Zverev have already booked their trips to The O2 from 11-18 November.
5. First Time for Everything: Anderson, 32, will be the oldest Nitto ATP Finals debutant since the tournament’s third edition in 1972. When he was last in London, Anderson beat Federer and Isner in five sets to become the oldest first-time finalist at Wimbledon in the Open Era.
6. Cilic’s Chance: Cilic seeks his fourth Nitto ATP Finals appearance in the past five years. The Croat has won an ATP World Tour title in each of the past 11 seasons and earned at least 35 wins in 10 of 11. Cilic knocked Djokovic out of the top spot in the ATP Rankings at the 2016 Rolex Paris Masters, ending Djokovic’s 122-week reign as No. 1.
7. Dominant Thiem: Thiem leads the ATP World Tour by reaching the quarter-finals or better at 13 tournaments this season. The Austrian won three ATP World Tour 250 titles, advanced to his first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros and appeared in his second Masters 1000 final at Madrid.
8. The Outsiders: Should Isner, 33, qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, he will trump Anderson as the oldest debutant at the year-end championships since 1972. However, Isner is 10th in the ATP Race To London after being passed by Nishikori last week in Vienna.
9. Cinderella Returns: Jack Sock was No. 24 in the ATP Race To London when he captured the 2017 Rolex Paris Masters title to secure a berth at the Nitto ATP Finals. Sock went on to reach the semi-finals in London, but he’s just 7-20 in singles this season and outside the Top 150 of the Race. In doubles with Mike Bryan, however, Sock has qualified for another trip to The O2.
10. Men of Milan: The ATP Race To Milan has concluded and four of the seven direct qualifiers for the Next Gen ATP Finals are playing in Paris: Stefanos Tsitsipas, Denis Shapovalov, Alex de Minaur and Frances Tiafoe.
All four broke into the Top 40 this season and have yet to turn 21. The Next Gen ATP Finals immediately follows the Rolex Paris Masters from 6-10 November in Milan.