The 2017 edition of the BNP Paribas Masters is set to begin. Whereas last year, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic were in a close contest for the year-end No. 1 ranking when Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were injured, now it’s a reversal. Federer and Nadal are healthy and competing for No. 1, while Djokovic and Murray are the injured players, along with a number of others. Several top-30 players are not in this event, a number of them having shut down their seasons well in advance.
The competition in the 48-player main draw begins on Monday, October 30.
Event: BNP Paribas Masters
Category: ATP World Tour – Masters 1000
Date: October 30 – November 5, 2017
Location: AccorHotels Arena – Paris, France
With a prize money allotment of nearly 4.3 million Euros, the BNP Paribas Masters, casually referred to as the Paris Masters or Paris-Bercy or just Bercy, are not quite as lucrative as other Masters 1000 tournaments. Yet, the prize money is nearly 500,000 Euros more than it was last year.
The key reason for the not-as-big purse is that while most Masters events have 56-player draws and the Indian Wells and Miami events have 96-player draws, this has a 48-player draw. The reason? It’s late in the season. Players are more injured or worn down. In the past, top players have skipped this event in order to be ready for the ATP World Tour Finals in London. A more selective field intends to bring more motivated players to the event. A 56-player field might invite players to tank early-round matches and get a fatter end-of-year paycheck without putting forth a fully robust effort.
The points structure under the ATP system:
Championship: 1,000 points
R16 (third round): 90
Round of 32 (second round): 45
Round of 64 (first round): 10
Former Champions and Results (5 Years)
Year Champion Runner-up Score
2016: Andy Murray def. John Isner – 6-3, 6-7, 6-4
2015: Novak Djokovic def. Andy Murray – 6-2, 6-4
2014: Novak Djokovic def. Milos Raonic – 6-2, 6-3
2013: Novak Djokovic def. David Ferrer – 7-5, 7-5
2012: David Ferrer def. Jerzy Janowicz – 6-4, 6-3
Rafael Nadal is World No. 1. He has a solid points lead over Federer for the top spot. If he can merely make the final and get 600 points, he would take a big step toward solidifying his hold on that ranking and getting the year-end No. 1 prize elite players aspire to. Nadal has not often played Bercy in the past, so Rafa’s presence in Paris is a sign of how much he wants to secure that No. 1 spot.
Roger Federer, who plays in the Basel (ATP 500) semifinals later on Saturday, has to thread the needle. He needs a deep run in Paris to have any realistic shot at year-end No. 1. After playing through the week in Basel on the heels of his Shanghai Masters title, Federer will have played a lot of tennis. It will be hard for him to push through, but his draw in Bercy is not overwhelmingly difficult. Getting through early-round matches in straight sets, preserving his body for the quarterfinals, will be important in giving him a chance to go all the way.
Juan Martin del Potro entered Saturday’s Basel semifinals having won 17 of his last 20 matches in a late-season surge. Delpo was ranked 47th in late August. He his close to the top 10 in the race for London and the ATP World Tour Finals. Delpo has finally made the progress in the rankings which will help him face the elite players later in tournaments in 2018. He won’t have to play them in the third round. Now he might not play them until the fourth round or quarterfinals in many cases.
Alexander Zverev made the Beijing (ATP 500) semifinals, but he has done virtually nothing of note since his back-to-back titles in Washington and Montreal. The German seems mentally worn out and ready for a two-month break. He has qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals, so Bercy might be an event where he will not try to push himself too hard. An early loss could give him more time to regroup for London in November.
Grigor Dimitrov has faced Nadal in recent tournaments. He pushed Nadal to three sets in both the Beijing semifinals and the Shanghai quarterfinals. He is in Rafa’s half and could meet him in the semifinals here. If Dimitrov can beat Rafa before ending his 2017 season, he could grow in confidence for the future.
The AccorHotels Arena was named Bercy Arena in 2015 and the Palais Omnisport in previous years. The building is a strange architectural product, a pyramid that is sunken in, such that the playing surface is below ground level when spectators walk into the entrance. The main stadium court houses over 16,000, while a few side courts look like glorified cafeteria halls and hold a few thousand people, nothing more.
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