The GOAT returns as Novak Djokovic, once again the number one player in the world, gears up for his year-end slate of tournaments, making an appearance at the 2023 Rolex Paris Masters. His newest rival, world number two Carlos Alcaraz, anchors the bottom of the 2023 Rolex Paris Masters draw, setting up a potential collision in the final.
Djokovic has rested since winning the 2023 US Open. Alcaraz played a light schedule in Asia, losing in tournaments to Jannik Sinner and Grigor Dimitrov. Both players are grappling with how best to manage the grueling tennis schedule, but the comforts of massive prize money and endorsements in 2023 certainly take the edge off.
Paris Masters Draw: Djokovic Quarter
The top eight players receive byes in the Paris Masters draw, so Djokovic will meet the winner of fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic and Argentina’s Tomas Martin Etcheverry, both quality if not elite players.
Paris is a fast indoor, low bouncing court. Djokovic typically does well here because of his superior fitness. His legs hold up deep into matches. Novak has emerged from the Paris Masters Draw as a champion a stunning six times.
Djokovic could potentially face a string of talented players on the way to a quarterfinal, but they have yet to prove irksome for the GOAT. Those players include Chris Eubanks, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Ben Shelton and Taylor Fritz. The only seeming hurdle would be Holger Rune, who famously beat Djokovic in the final of this event last year. However, Rune has been hampered by back problems and is making coaching changes.
A potential upset to shake up this quarter would be Arthur Fils. The stylish 19-year-old Frenchman is starting to hone his power game, and encouraging results on the ATP’s fall swing underscore his potential.
Paris Masters Draw: Sinner Quarter
Jannik Sinner has a favorable 2023 Paris Masters Draw, which he will need after going deep the previous week in Vienna. This section is riddled with qualifiers. His biggest nuisance would be Alex de Minaur, who’s had a subpar fall. As usual, Andrey Rublev has been playing until he drops. This is a good surface for him, but he won’t be a favorite due to his schedule.
French favorites in this bracket include Richard Gasquet and Adrian Mannarino, but their games lack the emerging polish of Sinner’s, provided the Italian can recover from a long slog in the previous tournament.
Paris Masters Draw: Medvedev Quarter
This section of the draw is the most flashy, with some truly high-quality early matchups. Home crowd favorite Gael Monfils faces the brilliantly consistent Francisco Cerundolo in Round 1. They’ve only met once, with Cerundolo beating Monfils at the 2022 Miami Open.
In a server’s delight, Nicolas Jarry vs. Alexei Popyrin is the first-round match of choice. Sebastian Korda vs. Hubert Hurkacz is an all-star contest as well. Daniil Medvedev is the top seed in this difficult quarter, and since he went deep this past week in Vienna, he’s not a favorite to come through.
Paris Masters Draw: Alcaraz Quarter
The question du jour for the 2023 Rolex Paris Masters is what’s the state of play for Carlos Alcaraz? The Wimbledon champ seems tired. He’s reportedly dealing with plantar fasciitis, among other minor injuries. Alcaraz’s now-famous rivalry with Djokovic stands at 2-2.
Alcaraz must think carefully about how to manage his time on court if he has an inkling of living up to the achievements of Djokovic and the other members of the Big 3.
As for the surface, Alcaraz can adjust to anything, but a hard, low-bouncing court is not ideal for a tired, banged-up body. The Spaniard could meet Karen Khachanov or Alexander Zverev in this section of the draw. Any of those meetings would be brutal at this point.
Still, the youngster is always a game competitor and will relish another shot at Djokovic.
My players to watch:
QF: Djokovic, Sinner, Zverev, Korda
SF: Djokovic, Korda