The final Masters 1000 Series of the year takes place in Bercy, Paris from 2-8 November 2020: Can anyone stop five-time champion Novak Djokovic from making it a sweet six?
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Paris Masters 2020 predictions
Thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic, this has been one of the strangest years in memory for sport in general and tennis in particular, with the ATP and WTA Tours suspended entirely from early March to June due to public health concerns.
Who knows what the season will have looked like by the time we get to what is the final week of the regular ATP Tour season for most players – how many of the year’s nine Masters 1000 Series events, of which five already have been cancelled or indefinitely postponed, will have been played by the time the tour arrives at its final stop, Paris-Bercy in November?
Indeed, perhaps the Paris Masters will not be the final week of the regular ATP Tour season but will be followed by other tournaments rescheduled from earlier in the year.
It’s impossible to say at the time of writing. But when it comes to evaluating who might win the 2020 Rolex Paris Masters, we can make our predictions with more confidence.
A sixth Paris Masters for Djokovic in 2020?
In the history of the Paris Rolex Masters, which stretches back to 1968, few players had ever won multiple titles and nobody had claimed more than three – until Novak Djokovic came along. The supreme Serb, as good if not better on indoor hard courts as he is on every other surface and possessed of the physical stamina to still be playing at a high level in November, has won in Bercy five times, including three in a row in 2013-15.
Djokovic was handed his first defeat in a Paris Masters final by powerful Karen Khachanov in 2018, but returned to the champions’ circle in 2019 when he beat Denis Shapovalov – and after having made an 18-0 start to 2020, winning the ATP Cup, Australian Open and Dubai, would anybody confidently predict that he won’t successfully defend his title in November?
Will Federer be a factor?
Curiously enough, of all the Masters 1000 Series tournaments Roger Federer has won, he has historically been least successful in Paris where he has only won the title once, in 2011.
He has only played the tournament half of the subsequent years, although he made the semi-finals on two of those four occasions, and has only played in Bercy once since 2015.
Federer is managing his schedule more carefully than ever to extend his playing career, and the 38-year-old clearly prioritises his home tournament of the Swiss Indoors Basel, which he has won ten times and which takes place the week before Paris. With a much lighter schedule enforced firstly by knee surgery in February and secondly by the coronavirus crisis, Federer might be more than energized enough to go deep in back-to-back weeks in Basel and Paris – and it’s worth noting that the one time he did play Bercy in the last four years, he made it to the semi-finals and was only edged out by Djokovic in a third-set tie-break.
Is there any chance of a home champion in Bercy?
While the Paris Masters has seen a few unusual, not to say random, winners in recent years – Andy Murray winning it in 2016 was no surprise, but Jack Sock in 2017 and Karen Khachanov in 2018 look like being very much one-off champions – you have to go back to 2008 for the tournament’s last French champion.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made the final again in 2011, finishing runner-up to Federer, but has not made it past the quarterfinals since. Tsonga has made the final eight on three occasions in the past eight years, including in 2019, and he has made quite an impressive comeback from knee surgery, but at the age of 34 his opportunities to make another deep run at the Paris Masters must be drying up.
Gael Monfils might be a better bet – he made back-to-back Paris Masters finals in 2009-10, but has only played the tournament three times in the subsequent nine years due to his frequent injuries. At 33, however, Monfils appears more focused and determined than ever.
Like Tsonga, he is an excellent indoors player and has made a superb start to 2020, winning indoor titles in Montpellier and Rotterdam and compiling a 16-3 win-loss record. If he can sustain that form through to the resumption of the ATP Tour, he could be a very real contender to at least win his quarter in Paris – providing he can avoid Djokovic, against whom he is now 0-17 in ATP Tour-level matches despite holding multiple match points against him in Dubai.
Who could be a first-time Paris Masters winner in 2020?
With the past couple of years having seen a significant relaxation of the iron grip on Masters 1000 Series-level titles once enjoyed by the Big Four, the contender field is significantly wider than it once was – Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev are among the players who have triumphed at Masters 1000 Series level in the past couple of seasons, and all, along with Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, are capable of doing so in Paris.
I don’t see the Paris Rolex Masters as a perfect match for Thiem in terms of the conditions, but he has made almost as significant an improvement on indoor hard courts since the end of 2018 as he had on outdoor. He won the Vienna 500 in 2019 and went on to make the final of the ATP Finals, and he should certainly be attacking the autumn of 2020 with unprecedented energy and intensity – not a man to be underestimated.
Three of Medvedev’s seven ATP Tour titles have come on indoor hard courts, although significantly not his biggest wins – those were on slow outdoor hard courts in gruelling humid conditions where being able to wear players down with his junkballing game became an important advantage. However, the biggest question mark over the Russian’s head is that he has not yet proven himself to be the kind of consistent competitor at the top level Thiem has turned himself into.
As a three-time Masters 1000 Series champion, Zverev must always be considered to be a threat if he’s in form – and although it was early days before the season was cut off, the German was showing signs that 2020 was going to be a different matter from his dismal 2019 when he made his run to the Australian Open semi-final. He also won the ATP Finals on indoor hard courts in 2018, but it should be noted he’s only won back-to-back matches once in three Paris Rolex Masters appearances.
The defending ATP Finals champion, Tsitsipas, has won four of his five career titles on indoor hard courts (including, obviously, his biggest – the triumph at the season-ending championships in 2019) and is a two-time Masters 1000 Series finalist. He could be a great pick to win his maiden Masters title in Paris.
Paris Masters 2020 tournament information
Name: Paris Rolex Masters
Location: Bercy, Paris, France
Venue: AccorHotels Arena
Category: ATP Masters 1000 Series
Surface: Indoor hard courts
Draw size: 48 singles/24 doubles
Novak Djokovic (5)
Singles – Novak Djokovic
Doubles – Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut
Paris Masters player performance
|Player||Titles||Finals||2019 result||Win-loss record|
|Novak Djokovic||5 (2009, 2013-15, 2019)||1 (2018)||Champion||37-8|
|Karen Khachanov||1 (2018)||–||R32||6-2|
|Jack Sock||1 (2017)||–||Did not play||11-4|
|Andy Murray||1 (2016)||1 (2015)||Did not play||21-9|
|Roger Federer||1 (2011)||–||Did not play||23-11|
|Jo-Wilfried Tsonga||1 (2008)||1 (2011)||QF||21-12|
|Gael Monfils||–||2 (2009-10)||QF||14-9|
|Denis Shapovalov||–||1 (2019)||Runner-up||4-3|
|Filip Krajinovic||–||1 (2017)||Did not play||4-2|
|John Isner||–||1 (2016)||R32||17-11|
|Milos Raonic||–||1 (2014)||R32||11-4|
|Rafael Nadal||–||1 (2007)||SF||29-5|
Paris Masters betting tips
Check back for the best Paris Rolex Masters betting tips when odds are released closer to the tournament, where main-draw play begins on Monday 2 November 2020