After a few years of absence, an indoor event in Paris had moved to Bercy in 1986 and it became one of the most important tournaments of the last part of the season, with Boris Becker as the first champion. Stefan Edberg, Goran Ivanisevic, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Marat Safin, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have all won the title here after the German and we had a chance to watch some memorable finals that played the key role in the year-end rankings. World number 1 Rafael Nadal is in the draw for the first time after retiring in the semi-final of the US Open to Juan Martin del Potro and he has to go one round further than the four-time Paris champion Novak Djokovic in order to remain world number 1 on November 5 as they are separated by only 35 points on the ATP race! Novak has won 39 of the last 43 matches and he is the main favorite in Paris, seeking that number 1 spot and the 33rd Masters 100 crown that would have leveled him with the Spaniard who is the record holder at the moment.
Rafa has to play against Fernando Verdasco, Jeremy Chardy, Richard Gasquet, Denis Shapovalov or the last year's champion Jack Sock in order to pass the first two matches and enter the quarter-final if he managed to hill the injury and return pain-free.
Borna Coric, Daniil Medvedev, Gilles Simon and Dominic Thiem are the potential quarter-final rivals for Nadal and it should be interesting if anyone could stop him before the semi-final. Alexander Zverev has to battle against the youngsters Frances Tiafoe and Alex de Minaur and also Diego Schwartzman to score two wins and reach the last 16, playing well so far in Basel where he reached the semis.
The other part of the second quarter is packed with great players too, with Kyle Edmund, Karen Khachanov, last year's finalist Filip Krajinovic and John Isner and it should be very interesting to see who will advance into the last four.
London contenders Kevin Anderson and Kei Nishikori are still active in Vienna but they will try to score a good result in Paris as well, facing each other in the third round. A former champion Roger Federer decided to play in Paris and he will have to work hard right from the start, facing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Milos Raonic already in round two.
In the bottom quarter, the struggling Croat Marin Cilic will try to bounce back and complete his London berth, playing against Philipp Kohlschreiber, Roberto Bautista Agut, Steve Johnson or Grigor Dimitrov in the first two rounds before setting a clash against Novak Djokovic or Stefanos Tsitsipas who should play in the third round next week.
Djokovic has a favorable draw and we should expect a deep run from him, with Marco Cecchinato not being able to follow Novak's pace on the hard court. Full draw: