Djokovic Has 1.6 Million Reasons To Play Paris; Federer, Murray On Wednesday
by Sean Randall | November 8th, 2011, 8:26 pm

Despite a grim conclusion to his semifinal loss at Basel, Novak Djokovic and his ailing shoulder are on the official schedule for the Paris Masters Wednesday. If nothing else, at least he’ll sell a few more tickets to what looked to be a rather empty stadium at times on the TV this afternoon.

Fans who did go saw big serving Americans Andy Roddick and John Isner put up good wins. Roddick beat Frenchman and fellow 29-year-old Juliean Benneteau 6-4, 6-4. Isner won another third set breaker beating Stan Wawrinka.

London chasers JW Tsonga and Tomas Berdych were also winners, and one more victory will put them both into the year-end Masters.

“Bercy is a very important tournament for me. Masters or not, I want to play well here,” said Tsonga after a win over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. “I know that surface the suits me, and I’m able to have a good result here. The goal for me is really Bercy, this Masters. [London is] the cherry on the cake for me. In the beginning of the season, nobody thought I would go for it apart from myself maybe, and so the Masters is just the cherry of the cake. I’m concentrating on this tournament.”

In other results, Feliciano Lopez ousted Michael Llodra, Sergei Stakhovsky beat Basel finalist Kei Nishikori and Juan Monaco stopped qualifier Donald Young.

As for tomorrow, if Djokovic is healthy he’ll play a tricky one against the only man to take a set off him at the Australian Open, Ivan Dodig. I’ve been a big fan of the Croat and indoors should suit Dodig well, especially if Novak is unable to serve at full strength.

Personally, I don’t think Novak should not be out there. I know there’s a commitment and a very large monetary incentive to play – a whopping $1.6 million – but there’s far too much on the line to risk playing this week.

Basel champ Roger Federer meets Mannarino, Andy Murray in on against Jeremy Chardy and David Ferrer faces qualifier Nicolas Mahut.

“For me not to make the finals here with all the success [I’ve had] is almost a bit disappointing, to be quite honest,” said Federer. “Until maybe two, three years ago I didn’t feel quite comfortable on the centre court.

“I’m obviously excited for hopefully a tough week ahead here, because obviously I want to do well here,” Federer added. “I’ve got to play five matches in a row, which is a lot in five days, but I have done it many times before.”

If Federer wins he’ll play Richard Gasquet Thursday, Murray will get Roddick.

Also, Gael Monfils clashes with Feliciano Lopez in what could be the match of the day. And Gilles Simon closes out a very French-themed center court day against Monaco.

That said, I think the French motif continues throughout the week. So my picks for the semifinals are Tsonga v. Monfils, Federer v. Murray and I think Murray beats Tsonga in the finale.

Tennis Channel has live coverage all day from Paris which is the last tournament of the ATP season.


CENTRAL COURT start 10:30 am
[4] D Ferrer (ESP) vs [Q] N Mahut (FRA)
[WC] J Chardy (FRA) vs [2] A Murray (GBR)
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs I Dodig (CRO)

Not Before 4:00 PM
[WC] A Mannarino (FRA) vs [3] R Federer (SUI)

Not Before 7:30 PM
F Lopez (ESP) vs [8] G Monfils (FRA)

Not Before 8:30 PM
J Monaco (ARG) vs [10] G Simon (FRA)

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56 Comments for Djokovic Has 1.6 Million Reasons To Play Paris; Federer, Murray On Wednesday

Wade Says:

If it was me in Djokovic’s position i’d be hobbling on court on one leg if I had to just to pick up that $$ haha

Anna Says:

I had no idea these guys get that kind of money for playing what is basically a required tournament. Do top players get this kind of incentive at other ms1000’s as well, and if so, why do they ever bother with exhibitions?

jane Says:

“I don’t think Novak should not be out there” – erm, I am confused by the double negative.

Anna, it has something to do with a “bonus”:

“As the world number one, the Serb is entitled to $2 million from year-end bonus pool monies. But he has already lost $400,000 of that amount by failing to play Shanghai – back injury – one of eight obligatory Masters 1000 events for top players.

And, under the rules, should he miss Paris – his second Masters absence – his $1.6 million would shrink to nil.”

Tough to say what he should do!

On the one hand, for all he knows, his career could end suddenly due to who knows what, injury maybe? So the saying “strike while the iron is hot” comes to mind: who wants to give up over 1.5 million dollars?

Yet on the other hand, he wants to keep in mind the long view of things, not only the immediate rewards. He has next year to think of, so making his injury worse is at issue.

I could think of worse problems; as Fed says, it’s a good problem to have. But it’s not an easy decision.

Last I heard, he was in Paris today and was going to try hitting…

Kimmi Says:

too much money. well, he just has to make sure he does not retire coz it will look really bad.

jane Says:

This article presents an interesting view:

Also I didn’t know that the Paris Masters event decided to “slow the court considerably this year” according to the article…wonder why they’d do that?

Kimmi Says:

heard about the slow court from federer pre tournament interview. He said he is not surprised they are slowing it down coz last year was pretty quick, it is just that he is hoping not too slow coz he feels indoors should be played on quicker courts.

Do they actually rip these courts apart and build them again every year? too munch tinkering.

sar Says:

Novak is going to end the year number one. He already won Paris and WTF. If he throws away 1.6 million he’s nuts. He can give it to his Serb charities.Nole just show up and play one match.

Humble Rafa Says:

He can give it to his Serb charities.Nole just show up and play one match.

Didn’t Novak play soccer for a $5000 charity thing. 1.6 mil is a lot to miss. Knowing Djoker, he plays Paris.

Kimmi Says:

it will be funny if he plays and then the umpire fines him for not trying ha!

Kimmi Says:

oh yeah, the call it “lack of effort”/

Wog boy Says:

In real world it is wiser to be pragmatic than romantic. Nole, take the money , but only if you can save your body from further injuries. Don’t please do what Venus did in Melbourne, we were waiting until late evening, she came out to show us her new outfit, played couple of balls( against Andrea ) and retired and was booooed by most of us. She wasn’t happy neither were we .I could go with family in one of those nice Melbourne restaurants instead.

Michael Says:

Money is not everything and especially for a top Tennis player like Djokovic. I am sure he would have seen tons of dollars in his bank account. What is important is the physical condition and right now I recommend that Djokovic should not play and take much needed rest for his injured shoulder which is giving him lot of trouble as otherwise he is in real danger of jeopardizing his future. He should focus on long term rather than short term. Now that he has decided to play, I only hope the injury is not all that serious and he doesn’t go all out aggravating his injured shoulder further. Tennis today needs Djokovic badly as he is the only competition to the likes of Nadal and Federer.

margot Says:

I agree with Michael. Nole tanks himself up with pain killers and plays, then what? Worrying for him is that he had a lot of time off before Basle and the problem has flared up again.
It’s a lot of dosh but…..

dari Says:

I don’t want to see Djokovic having a chronic problem :/

It is hard to turn away 1.6 mill when even you individually don’t need it, but that could go towards charity, taking care of his lil bros or even realistically thinking about setting up his kids with that $ in the future
Since it looks like he is playing, though, I think it is because he thinks he can do so without a major risk, regardless of how much he will make to take that risk.
Geeze novak, its getting a little.scary at the end here, get off the court, why don’t ya?!

alison hodge Says:

jmo but i think nole must be barking mad for playing paris this week,its not as if hes flat broke,hes worth a small fortune anyway,i have to agree with what brando said some days ago,that the smart thing to do,as he has nothing left to prove this year,having already won paris and the wtf,the sensible thing would be to call time on this season,look at the bigger picture think of the long term gain,come back strong and refreshed ready for next season,why risk making things 10 times worse.

alison hodge Says:

@dari even if he were to retire from tennis tomorrow,he already has more than enough money to set him up for life,why not just give some of that to charity,someone on the forum said the other day noles made more in prize money than roger and rafa put together this year,i think people will be watching him with one eye open and one closed today.

Wog boy Says:

I am watching Ferrer and Mahut now, Novak is playing third match. I will wait even it is going to be around midnight , mybe he ( Novak ) is more foxy than I thought , either way good luck Nole. Ferrer just won 6:4, 6:4.

Wog boy Says:

Maybe, not mybe.

Wog boy Says:

Janko is on fire 6:1 , 6:0 , Bogomolov was somewhere else today. Body in Paris but mind not.
Married life works well for Janko. It looks like since he got married he plays better. Murray is just about to start. Go Andy.

Dory Says:

Roger or DjokerNole have to win Paris. Roger will win one more new tournament to his Masters repertoire and catch up with Nadal or DjokerNole will make a new record of six Masters in a season!!

jane Says:

Nole and his team must be aware of the pros and cons. Good on him for the win today.

I am sure both Fed and Rafa have collected such bonuses when they were number one, possibly even playing when a little sore (most players are sore, tired, injured by this time of year) and let’s face it, their career earnings FAR exceed Nole’s career earnings.

Wog boy Says:

Nice win Nole.
He is not playing full on. Nice and steady game, waiting for his chances and preserving shoulder. Tomorrow Victor and Tsonga , there is no holding off against him. Good luck with shoulder now you are in there is no back.
Federer is in control and I am of to bed it is 2.30 am.

Brando Says:

@ jane: I agree with your post. But really the crux of the matter is nole’s future as opposed to present. What he needs to do is preserve his body since in 2012 he’ll most likely have alot on his plate to deal with. He shouldn’t chase the easy commercial oppurtunities that are available to a no1 player that can possibly compromise his career. He won today, so his shoulder cannot be all that bad. But I think he should have not played, since not only his health would be better off but also his ‘ on court aura’.

jane Says:

Brando, I understand your point. However, I am sure there were times when Rafa played with those bad knees when perhaps he was better off not playing. Indeed, I remember seeing him practically hobbled on the court on more than one occasion. Many players make decisions like this, not just Nole. Murray played Monte Carlo shot up with cortisone and the french open with a rolled ankle, and then he went on to succeed at Queens thereafter.

I wouldn’t call this an “easy commerical opportunity” either. Rather, I would call an exhibition match an “easy commercial opportunity” and Nole rarely plays those. This is the last Masters 1000 event of the year, and it is Nole’s last chance to warm up pre-WTF, which I assume he intends to play, we’ll see.

The tough thing is that we are not in his body, so it’s difficult to judge. He did just take a month off, missing the entire Asian swing when Rafa and Muzza played. If his shoulder flared up during Basel perhaps it was just from the shock of match play versus practice (i.e., add tension into the mix of sore muscles), which is actually something he said in an interview. And let’s not discount his opponent: Kei was in the zone that day and played some great tennis to take out Nole.

I hope – because I enjoy watching him – that he knows what he is doing w.r.t. his future and the state of his injury, but I will wait and see before I judge. Hindsight, after all, is 20/20. ;)

rogerafa Says:

Novak and his team are in a much better situation to assess how major or minor the injury is. They won’t be in Paris if it was something really serious. That would be really stupid although money can make people do stupid things. I think Federer summed up Novak’s dilemma quite well. Novak’s commitment to the tour can not be questioned and he deserves his bonus even if he is not fully committed to Bercy.

That is a huge amount irrespective of how much you have made this season. We can’t be too harsh on him for not resisting the temptation unless he really is carrying a career-threatening injury. He can always withdraw or retire if he feels uncomfortable at any point during the tourney.

alison hodge Says:

i think if you make a decission to play,you have to live with the concequences of your actions,if you choose to play,then you you have take responsibility of winning or loosing,and worst case senario making the injury worse whatever happens in the process,still he knows his own body better than anybody,i just hope he knows what hes doing.

Brando Says:

@ jane: you make valid points. The points I made are from the viewpoint that nole, in a sense, does not have anything to gain from now until the end of the season. I think his advisors would serve him best by saying well done to him for his record breaking efforts this year and advising him to take time off for some r and r and then practise hard for 2012. Either way, wish nole good health and no misfortune since he is a vital character/ player on tour.

alison hodge Says:

brando i agree i think nole should call time on this season,and to be honest as a fan of rafa i would not be dissapointed if he did that exact same thing,rest up prepare to throw the kitchen sink on 2012,miss paris miss wtf so what,small price to pay for the sake of longevity.

madmax Says:

You have to wish Novak well. No one would want any player not to recover from injuries (especially Novak with the crazy good year he has had). He is becoming more popular by the minute and he is a great competitor.

If he wan’t healthy, I am certain he wouldn’t play. Why risk it? That would be stupid!

Brando Says:

@Alison: hi there. Yes I would agree with that also. I’m pleased with rafa taking time out to rest and recover as well as practising hard. It shall only help him going forward. Recent reports state his foot injury has healed up, he has done alot of physical work and is enjoying his practise sessions. I think he has set his sight firmly on the 2012 season. I think out of the top 4 really only andy Murray can gain from the remainder of the season. He could use winning the WTF as a launchpad for 2012 season. The others not so much. Nole wins another trophy? What’s new. Rafa wins WTF? Finally then. Roger cleans up in the indoor season? YAWN. So really it’s all about Murray here since the big boys have done it at the big stage and no one doubts that they shall create/ have more oppurtunities for success.

jane Says:

Agree with you Brando that Murray has the most to gain right now. And also agree that it’s good that Rafa skipped Paris. Of course, Nole and Fed skipped all of Asia, i.e., 2-3 tournaments, so they have taken some respite as well. Only Murray has played on through everything (other than pulling out of Basel), which makes sense, since, as we all agree, he has the most to gain – he’s already bumped himself up to number 3 in the rankings, and winning WTF could be an inspiration for 2012.

Brando Says:

@ jane: andy also played pretty well today. On a side note, saw mean streets recently and well it is scary how similar de Niro, especially in the close up shot, looks like nole. They need to take a DNA test to determine as to whether or not they are family, since give nole a hat and a leather jacket and HE IS johnny boy from mean streets :-)

Nina Says:

@Brando… lol. Really? I’ve heard many people say that but frankly i don’t see the similarities.

Well, Novak played well today against Dodig and although he didn’t serve at full potential he didn’t need it in order to win. A different thing will be when he plays an A player like Federer, Tsonga or Murray, then we’ll see how that shoulder holds up.

Selfishly I don’t want Novak to play any more this year. I don’t want him to risk his health and to put a sour note to his extraordinary season. Only play if you’re 100% healthy and fit. Otherwise why bother? he has little to none to gain. But a lot to lose.

But I guess he has enough common sense to do what suits him best. I just want him fully healthy for next season where he has a whopping ton of points to defend. And if rafa is really getting his best form back, we’re in for some blockbusters in 2012.

Nina Says:

Novak Djokovic on press interview today:

“There are a lot of stories around,” he said after the match of the ‘will he / won’t he’ situation. “It’s normal when you are one of the top players that you get some attention, and things that you do on and off the court are being watched. I don’t want to say if it’s fair or not fair. Everybody has the right to –and freedom to –say what they want and everybody has a right to their own opinion. But I came here because I’m a professional tennis player and I want to compete. That’s about all it is.”

“My back (which kept him off court for six weeks this autumn) wasn’t in any kind of injury state, it was only the shoulder that was a little bit troubling me in Basel, and I took the necessary measures in the last couple of days to recover in order to play in this tournament. I have been back home in Monaco, and then I have been trying to recover there with a team of people. I took a couple of days off and I came here yesterday, because I wanted to take time in recovery rather than just going out on the court to prepare for the conditions.”

“I think I’ve served good enough, and I feel well enough to be competing from the back of the court. That’s what matters actually for this week. I really like playing in Bercy. It’s one of the most entertaining indoor tournaments, and people are coming in numbers here to watch matches. I like playing it. It’s the last big 1000 tournament and obviously the best players in the world are playing here. And I want to compete, and that’s the reason I came here. It’s obvious that I’m still not at the top of my game, but I’m taking things quite slowly, step by step, knowing that the form will improve each day that I play.”

jane Says:

Awesome Nina: thank you for posting that!

madmax, I agree, and I wish him well; I am sure he and his team have taken everything under consideration.

Brando, I have to rewatch that one. Do you know there is a funny interview with DeNiro on youtube, wherein he says something like “maybe I am Serbian” as a joke … but maybe you’re onto something. ;)

jane Says:

p.s. I missed Murray’s match, but yes, it looks like his is still on form – & booty issues solved.

jane Says:

*he not his

Brando Says:

@Nina: Thanks for the interview. I also agree that 2012 could be a very exciting season for all.

@Jane: LOL, i would have to check that on youtube, but no doubt the similarity exists i feel. And do rewatch mean streets if you can. I too had not seen it for an absolute age and only say it in my DVD collection the other day, deciding to watch only since i completely forgot what the film was like;-)

It’s brilliant- easy to see why it was scorsese/ de niro’s breakthrough. But as charismatic as de niro is in this film, harvey keitel was just outstanding in this for me, and considering his performance here and in taxi driver, i really do not know why he nver hit the scales that de niro, pacino, nicholson, hoffman etc hit. oppurtunities maybe?

Brando Says:

P.S.: And yes andy does look in good form. Does he federer in his half or nole? Since if nole has federer, then it should be a murray- federer final i feel. A possible grudge match there- due to the ranking of course.

jane Says:

Murray is on Fed’s side; I picked Fed, but when I did I was thinking Murray might still be injured as I heard something about sciatic nerve and thought it was more serious. If Murray’s in good form though, that’s a tough call – could be match of the tournament even!

Can’t believe (a) that Monfil’s lost! He’s been in the last two finals here; I thought for sure he would get to the semis and (b) that Monaco just destroyed Simon; was thinking Monaco might be tired from winning last week and that Simon would do well in France, but nope – got it all wrong.

alison hodge Says:

i think muzza will win this week whether he plays fed or nole,although roger looks really good and is coming of a great win last week,i think muzzas in the best form of the 3,its most likely to be nole on the other side of the draw,great to see muzza ,and roger back again contesting finals giving nole some much needed competition.

Wog boy Says:

I was wandering how many miles Novak’s oponents have to run during the match compare to Novak. It looks to me a lot more.. Most of them ( federer not ) look worn out at the end. Dodig was one of them, at one stage during second set , when Novak raised pace, he changed shoes, than wanted MTO, than didn’t want ….and that was it. La comedia e finito, I probably didn’t spell it right but it is not first time.

Nikola011 Says:

Novak will win this one.

Kimmi Says:

hmm, bad loses for la monf and simon, maybe slowing down the court is affecting the frenchies. they have always done well at bercy. well, at least they have many to rely on, tsonga and gasquet still waving the flag..

BT Says:

After today’s play (eliminating Almagro, Simon and Monfils) the WTF field is almost set. I calculate only four players left that can qualify for the last three WTF places…

Berdych, Tsonga, Fish and Tipsarevic.

If the top three of those win tomorrow they all qualify (because Berdych is playing Tipsarevic and losing would obviously knock JT out of the running)

If Berdych loses to Tipsarevic then it gets interesting. But still Tipsy has gotta win the title to make any real waves. He can take Fish’s 8th spot and qualify by making the final if Fish loses tomorrow along with Berdych.

Still a couple of other variables but tomorrow may seal it up…

Wog boy Says:

@Nikola011: We have to see Novak playing Tsconga, that will tell us more about his body. If that is OK his draw looks nice until final. Federer looks sharper at this stage, Murray too, but maybe Novak keeps his cards closer to the chest for a reason. We will see, last night everything was sweet.
Anyway, ” iz tvojih usta u bozje usi”

Kimmi Says:

argentina davis cup team might have a hard time on who to pick fir singles. monaco is kicking butt right now. final in valencia, almost winning and what a win against simon! he might be a better pick than nalbandian.

jane Says:

True Kimmi; they might be better off with Monaco. He just beat Ferrer right? Mind you, all of this on hard court rather than clay, but still…

Nina Says:

More from Novak regarding the bonus issue…

Novak Djokovic says that his participation in the BNP Paribas Masters Paris/Bercy is not linked to a $1.6 million bonus he will receive from the ATP bonus pool for playing all but one Masters Series tournament this year.

Djokovic pulled out of the Masters Series Shanghai last month. Had he played Shanghai, he would have earned $2 million from the bonus pool, but he would have lost all of it if he hadn’t played Paris. “It was really somehow funny for me to see how people are coming up with that story,” Djokovic told reporters. “I even heard that I would get on the court and play a game just to get this money. I mean, this is ridiculous. I want to play well here. I want to get as far as possible, and then London (for next week’s ATP Tour finals), which is the most important tournament in this part of the year for all of us.”

Djokovic admitted to having shoulder pain last week in Basel after he lost to Kei Nishikori in the semis and was questionable for Paris. “I really wanted to come because I played at Basel a couple of matches, but I need more matches before London,” he said. “I’m definitely intending to finish the season strong. Maybe I’m physically paying for the long season that I had, and the unfortunate injury after the U.S. Open, the Davis Cup, and everything. So I think everything is kind of catching up with me now…If I know that I’m physically good enough, in good condition to be competing, I will compete. If I don’t, I will not compete. It’s as simple as that.”

sar Says:

Who will the crowd cheer for tomorrow, Fed or Gasquet?

Wog boy Says:

Why would they cheer against one of their own? Even for French is to much :) Federer is german speaking Swiss, by saying that, if it is Nole on the other side they would go for RF, same as at FO. Federer is sort of tennis icon so it is understandable. Nadal is in similar position in France as Novak, don’t ask me why.

alison hodge Says:

andy murrays playing superb tennis,and a.rods just fallen to pieces,missing everything,and got a warning for smahing his racket,strange as i thought this would be a tougher test for muzza.

Wog boy Says:

This was one way traffic. Thank you Murray, i can watch Novak and Viktor now, and have an early night , for a change.

Wog boy Says:

Novak is not right to play and I don’t know why he is playing. It is so obvious. There are more knowledgable people on this forum and I am looking forward for their opinion. It just can not be money. I am baffled.

Wog boy Says:

@Brando: I agree, after what I saw tonight ( local time ) , he should not be playing, it is so clear that he is not right to play. If you look at his box you can see they know too. I feel sorry for Jelena ( his girlfriend), she looked so worried.

WTF Says:

I didn’t realize the ATP paid that much money just for showing up. I thought these were mandatory. If 400k was on the line (forget about 1.6m) I would be there in a heartbeat. That’s about what the champion would expect to be paid.

Do they pay this much for every player?

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