Djokovic injury suggests stick with home hopes in Paris Masters
Doubts over the fitness of Novak Djokovic means that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga could enjoy a big tournament at the Paris Masters ahead of the ATP Tour World Finals later this month.
World number one Djokovic injured a shoulder playing in Basel recently and has hardly hit a tennis ball since.
He is yet to pull out of playing in Paris at present, but with the season finale just three weeks away, he is likely to take it easy to ensure that he is fully recovered to be back to his best for London.
His first game would be in the second round against the winner of the showdown between Fabio Fognini and Ivan Dodig.
This opens up the top section of the draw and the player best positioned to take advantage of a below-par or even absent Djokovic is Tsonga.
Playing in his home tournament, Tsonga will certainly have the backing of the crowd and has the added incentive of knowing that a strong showing will guarantee that he claims one of the final three available spots for London.
Tsonga knows what it takes to win the Paris Masters, having done so in 2008, while the indoor hard court is a surface that tends to suit his aggressive and hard-hitting style of play.
He also has two recent indoor hard court victories on his resume, with successes in Metz and Vienna in the past two months.
Reaching the semi finals should now be the minimum that Tsonga achieves in Paris, given that clay-court specialist Nicolas Almagro and Djokovic’s Serbian compatriot Viktor Troicki are the only other seeds in his quarter of the draw.
With Andy Murray also potentially carrying a bit of a knock after pulling out of Basel, another outside contender who could go well in Paris is Gael Monfils.
The Frenchman has reached the final in each of the last two years.
After his victory in Basel and the injury troubles surrounding his biggest rivals, it is no surprise that Roger Federer is expected to go well in the Paris Masters, although he has never even previously reached the final.