Djokovic, Federer Lead Last ATP Tango in Paris Preview; Tennis-X Notes

by Staff | November 6th, 2011, 1:37 pm

The BNP Paribas Masters this week in Paris will determine the final three qualifying spots at the year-end ATP Masters event, and offer an update on the physical status of some of the top players. Will world No. 1 and No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic actually play after apparently re-injuring his shoulder last week in Basel? Was world No. 2 Rafael Nadal’s pull-out a good move for his year-end Masters preparation? Is Andy Murray still hot, and can Roger Federer parlay his Basel title last week into wins against the Big 3?
Federer and Murray have never won the Paris-indoor. The Swiss’ best effort was a semifinal last year, and Murray has exited in the quarters three times.

“It’s been a difficult decision to take, but I understand that it is what I need to do right now to prepare well for the end of this season and also for 2012,” said Nadal, who has also never won the Paris-indoor, on pulling from the event.

Joining the 2009 champion Djokovic, Murray and Federer among the seeds, all receiving byes in the first round, are David Ferrer, 2005 champ Tomas Berdych, 2008 champ Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Mardy Fish, Gael Monfils, Nicolas Almagro, Gilles Simon, Janko Tipsarevic, Juan Martin Del Potro, Andy Roddick, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Viktor Troicki and Richard Gasquet. Ferrer and Fish are among six seeds who have career losing records in Bercy.

Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Federer and Ferrer have already qualified for the year-end Masters, and Berdych, Tsonga and Fish are the front-runners for the three remaining spots. According to the ATP, five additional players also have a shot at the three spots: Almagro, del Potro, Tipsarevic, Simon, and Monfils.

The ATP reported over the weekend that Berdych had qualified for the Masters, then later redacted the announcement.

The Masters wanna-bees will fall to the wayside quickly this week, as most are involved in heavyweight early-round clashes, including (9) Almagro vs. Davydenko 2nd rd., (14) Dolgopolov vs. Youzhny 2nd rd., (12) del Potro vs. the Wawrinka-John Isner winner 2nd rd., (8) Monfils vs. the Michael Llodra-Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez winner 2nd rd., (17) Fish vs. the Radek “The Worm” Stepanek-Florian Mayer winner 2nd rd., and (5) Berdych vs. the Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco-Marin Cilic winner 2nd rd.

Other early-round clashes of interest include (1) Djokovic vs. Kei Nishikori in a Basel rematch 3rd rd., (4) Ferrer vs. former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero in an all-Spanish 2nd rd., (3) Federer vs. indoor upset specialist Dmitry Tursunov 2nd rd., (13) Roddick vs. Milos “Big Baby” Raonic 2nd rd., and (2) Murray vs. the hot-handed Marcel Granollers 2nd rd.

Last year’s champion Robin Soderling remains on the sidelines due to injury. The unseeded Davydenko (2006) is the fourth of four returning champions in the field.

Former No. 1 and Swedish tennis commentator Mats Wilander says the WTA’s on-court coaching rule contributes to world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki winning smaller tournaments but not being able to win Grand Slam events. Wozniacki gets coached on-court during matches at WTA events by her father. “To be honest, the mistake that she is doing is that she is getting different treatment on the WTA Tour than she does at the Grand Slams because of the on-court coaching. You have to look at the obvious reasons. I’m not in favor of it for her because she seems lost compared to when she’s getting coached.”…What was your favorite part about the WTA Championships? Maria pulling out injured? The confident-shattered Li Na winning one game in a match? The weird WTA anti-grunting non-stance with no teeth? Tennis Channel’s Ted Robinson trying so hard to make it interesting and important? Renee Stubbs’ bad ‘features’ around Istanbul? Wozniacki failing to get out of the round robin but still clinching the year-end No. 1 rankings? The green ball against the backdrop of a green court on TV?…Switzerland has chosen to host the United States on an indoor clay court in the first-round series of the Davis Cup to be played on Feb. 10-12, 2012, at the 7,200-capacity Forum Fribourg arena…The ATP announced that Moet & Chandon was named the official champagne of men’s tennis…Legend Roy Emerson says the ATP and ITF are dropping the ball in promoting doubles: “I think it’s a real shame that the top players don’t play doubles as well,” the 74-year-old Emerson told the Sport Review. “I would like the ATP and the Grand Slam tournaments in particular to make it mandatory for the players to play both singles and doubles. In my day the top players competed in both but [Bjorn] Borg decided not to play doubles, others followed and then the kids who idolized Borg chose not to play doubles because he didn’t. Also, most players now stay at the baseline and there is very little movement to the net. There was more touch and finesse about the game when more players played the doubles whereas now it’s about power and not as attractive. Money speaks, and if the prize money was upped with a season-ending prize of $1 million for the player with the highest combined singles and doubles ranking I reckon you would see more of the top players competing in doubles. The ATP needs to make an effort to get the doubles game back, to educate people as to how good it is.” — It’s all Borg’s fault!…Jurgen Melzer pulled from Basel with a back injury…From David Hancock writing for CBS News on the WTA Championships: “Note to self: Try to be excited about this. Stop yawning. It’s not [Petra Kvitova’s] fault she has zero star power although she could help her cause by not shrieking after every winning point. 2012 may be the last year on the tour for the current stars. Serena, 30, and Venus, 31, say they’re sticking around to play in the 2012 Olympics. Hard to see them playing after that, particularly with their increasingly fragile bodies. Ditto for Clijsters, who wants to get back on the mommy track. Smells like the end of a golden era to me. If I worked in the WTA marketing division, I would be sweating bullets to figure out how to keep interest in the game with the B team.” — Or, getting those resumes back into circulation.

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17 Comments for Djokovic, Federer Lead Last ATP Tango in Paris Preview; Tennis-X Notes

El Flaco Says:

Everyone’s challenge draw is going to be screwed up. I was thinking of picking Novak to lose in his 1st match because he will probably withdraw and be replaced by a lucky loser. However, sometimes if the withdrawal is made early enough they bump up all the seeds and move them to new positions in the draw. In that case I wouldn’t want to have Novak losing early because Fed might be pushed into his slot as the #1 seed.

Dan Martin Says:

I think Emo has every right to say doubles is nice etc., but $1 million would not get the top singles players to play doubles more often. The US Open Series does not get any European players to show up prior to the Canadian event. Why would $$$ work over 12 months if it does not over a far more truncated space?

leo vixen Says:

Coaching for the WTA on the sidelines should be banned PERIOD! Women demand equal pay as the men in their matches so why should they get preferential treatment in being allowed this “luxury”. I say that with a bit of irony, because the WTA is sending out a far worse message by allowing this coaching to go on. Are they implying that the women are mentally weaker than the men and hence, cannot think for themselves on the court, and need their MALE coaches to think for them and help support them morally? Tsk, Tsk. Shame on you, WTA. Ban the coaching period and allow the female players to declare themselves as the real players who can strategize and think for themselves, or at least begin taking control of their own games and careers. How else will they build more character and backbone and improve their overall game? Come out of the Dark Ages, please.

andrea Says:

nice win today rog…emotional but nice

Colin Says:

Leo, your enlightened message to the WTA is rather spoiled when you ask “How else will they build more character and backbone”, implying that you don’t think they have these attributes already! Really? None of them?
Anyway, ban on-court coaching by all means, but then you’d need to ban all eye contact between male players and their team. No more “Shall I challenge that call?”

Colin Says:

Looking at the Paris schedule, I see Andy Murray is down to play doubles tomorrow (with Ross Hutchins). I hope he doesn’t!

Kimberly Says:

suicidee draw challenge join group tennis-x fans, this is going to be one ugly draw challenge.

Kimberly Says:

all draw challengers, delpo withdrew FYI

Kimmi Says:

Thanks kimberly, let me change quickly, he was my semi pick.

Kimmi Says:

I have a feeling djokovic is playing. if he is pulling out why doesn’t he do it early, like delpo???

jane Says:

Kimmi, he has a late start I think – Wednesday. So he may be waiting to see how the shoulder feels in a couple of days. I still haven’t looked at the draw!

Kimberly Says:

My guess is Novak willf go Paris, attempt to practice,and see how it goes. If he withdraws he will do it Tuesday. I hedged my bet with him and ttok him out mid way through, thinking even if he plays, inthat condition a loss/retirement is possible. I have heard nothing about Murray and his boody so I assume he is playing. I had him winning then changed it. Not really sure what to do with him.

Lots of question marks of injury, Murray, fish, tipsarivic, djoko….fed the healthiest right now.

Colin Says:

If Murray is fit enough to play, he’s drawn to start singles against Granollers or Chardy. The former would be dangerous, coming off a tournament win.
BTW, why does the lead article say Federer and Djokovic lead the Last Tango? Why not Djokovic and Murray? Andy is seeded ahead of Roger. OK, He’s never won Paris, but then neither has Fed, and the Brit leads head-to-head in 3 setters.

Kimmi Says:

ha ha colin, the title has got nothing to do with seeding, its just that federer and djokovic are bigger names than murray.

Humble Rafa Says:

Murray’s butt must have healed. Good news. LOL.

Now go ahead and what you do best, Mr. Murray. CHOKE!

Hova Says:

Ban coaching in womens tennis and also make them play best of 5 sets in the major’s if they want equal pay. I’d rather watch grass grow than watch womens tennis, unless Anna Ivanovich is playing, I would also add Maria Sharapova to that but her shrieking makes it impossible to watch.

Paralia Says:

It seams that big guns are forming for London and Davis Cup. Sad to see so much withdraws from this prestigious Paris Masters

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