The legendary Novak Djokovic, now ranked as the number one player in the world, is ready to make his comeback at the 2023 Rolex Paris Masters. This sets the stage for a potentially exciting final matchup between Djokovic and his newest rival, Carlos Alcaraz, who is currently ranked second in the world.
Following his victory at the 2023 US Open, Djokovic has taken some time off to rest. Meanwhile, Alcaraz has had a relatively light schedule in Asia, with mixed results against Jannik Sinner and Grigor Dimitrov. Both players are facing the challenge of managing the demanding tennis schedule, but the allure of significant prize money and endorsements in 2023 makes it a bit easier.
Djokovic’s quarter of the Paris Masters draw includes fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic and Argentina’s Tomas Martin Etcheverry, both quality players but not considered elite. The fast indoor, low-bouncing court in Paris typically suits Djokovic’s superior fitness, and he has emerged as the champion of the Paris Masters an impressive six times in the past. Potential opponents on his way to the quarterfinals include Chris Eubanks, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Ben Shelton, and Taylor Fritz. The only notable hurdle could be Holger Rune, who famously defeated Djokovic in the final of this event last year but has been hindered by back problems and coaching changes.
In the Sinner quarter of the draw, Jannik Sinner, who reached the deep stages of the previous week’s tournament in Vienna, will face numerous qualifiers. His main challenge could come from Alex de Minaur, who has had a disappointing fall season. French favorites Richard Gasquet and Adrian Mannarino are also in this bracket but are not expected to match Sinner’s emerging talent, provided he recovers from the demanding previous tournament.
The Medvedev quarter of the draw promises some high-quality early matchups. Home crowd favorite Gael Monfils will face Francisco Cerundolo, who previously defeated him at the 2022 Miami Open. Nicolas Jarry vs. Alexei Popyrin and Sebastian Korda vs. Hubert Hurkacz are also intriguing first-round matches. Daniil Medvedev, the top seed in this challenging quarter, may face difficulties as he went deep in the Vienna tournament.
The focus of the Alcaraz quarter is on Carlos Alcaraz himself. The Wimbledon champion appears to be fatigued and is reportedly dealing with plantar fasciitis and other minor injuries. Alcaraz’s rivalry with Djokovic stands at 2-2, and he must carefully consider how to manage his time on the court if he hopes to reach the heights achieved by Djokovic and other members of the Big 3. Although Alcaraz is adaptable to any surface, a hard, low-bouncing court may not be ideal for his tired and battered body. Potential opponents in this section of the draw include Karen Khachanov, Alexander Zverev, and Ugo Humbert, whom Alcaraz recently lost to. Any of these matchups would be physically demanding for Alcaraz. However, the young competitor will surely relish another chance to face Djokovic.
In summary, the 2023 Rolex Paris Masters promises some thrilling matchups. My players to watch in the tournament include Djokovic, Sinner, Zverev, and Korda. I predict Djokovic and Korda to reach the semifinals, with Djokovic ultimately emerging as the champion.