Bercy, the final ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the season, typically starts with a too-much-of-a-good-thing vibe to it. On the one hand, it comes at the tail end of an 11-month season. With a long holiday around the corner, it’s easy for a player who falls behind here to call it a day, and a year. On the other hand, the tournament comes just before an even more prestigious end-of-season event, a Chunnel’s ride away in London. Normally, a couple of players come to Paris fighting for a place in the London draw, but even that isn’t true this time. All eight spots at the World Tour Finals are locked up.

In other words, there’s no reason to watch the BNP Paribas Masters except for the pleasure of watching tennis. Fortunately, if you’re going to do that, there aren’t many better places to do it than Paris, where the the sport is appreciated as in few other places. Here’s a look at what we might get to appreciate as the week unfolds. History says that surprises could be in store: Bercy champions over the last decade include David Nalbandian, Robin Soderling, and David Ferrer.

Novak Djokovic has out-paced all of the competition this year. The only thing left to play against is history: If he wins Bercy and London, he could finish 83-5 and place his season alongside Roger Federer’s 2006 as the best non-Laver year of the Open era. It’s certainly within the Serb’s grasp: He’s won Bercy the last two years, and London the last three. He’ll start on Tuesday against Thomaz Bellucci; he’s 4-0 against the Brazilian.

The second seed in this section is Tomas Berdych, but the favorite to reach the quarters is likely Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who won Bercy in 2008 and reached the final in 2011.

Already out: Gael Monfils, to Benoit Paire, in a match that looked like the start of exhibition season rather than the end of the real season. Is it fair to say that La Monf, after a strong 2014, took an extended vacation in 2015?


How much confidence and motivation does Stan Wawrinka have right now? How much energy does Rafael Nadal have? Those are key questions in this section of the draw. Unlike last year, Wawrinka doesn’t have a Davis Cup final to look forward to, and he’s coming off an early exit to Ivo Karlovic in Basel. As for Rafa, he’s coming off a week in which he played four three-set matches, including one on Sunday. But he doesn’t seem too worried; Nadal is entered in the doubles draw with Leander Paes.

Also here: Feliciano Lopez, Kevin Anderson

Already out: Jack Sock, to Viktor Troicki. Sock, who reached the semis in Basel, looked like a man who had spent too many nights in Europe staying up to watch his favorite team win the World Series.

Possible second-round match to watch: Nadal vs. Lukas Rosol, again.

Bercy Breakdown

Bercy Breakdown

Wind up Ferrer and he’s ready to run. The Little Beast has already beaten Alexandr Dolgopolov and moved into the third round. Bercy is a favorite of Ferrer’s; he recorded his only Masters title there, in 2012, and reached the final the following year.

On the other side of this section, the season seems to have come full circle for Roger Federer. He’ll open against Andreas Seppi, the man who eliminated him from the Australian Open in January. As with Nadal, the question for Federer will also be one of energy. He's riding high at the moment, after beating Rafa for the first time since 2012, but he’s only been able to follow up a title in Basel with one in Bercy once, in 2011. Federer has never lost to Ferrer, but he has lost to John Isner, his potential third-round opponent.

Second-round match to watch: Grigor Dimitrov vs. Marin Cilic


Andy Murray definitely does have something to play for this fall: At the end of the month, he’ll lead Great Britain into its first Davis Cup final since 1978. Whether that makes Murray hungrier, or more cautious, in Paris and London remains to be seen—these tournaments are on hard courts, while the Cup final will be on clay. In the past, this tournament hasn’t been a major concern of Murray’s: He’s yet to make it past the quarterfinals in eight attempts.

The top seed on the other side of this draw, Kei Nishikori, did make it past the quarters here last year; he lost to Djokovic in the semis. This time he’ll come in rested, if not ready. He hasn’t played since losing in the third round in Shanghai three weeks ago.

Also here: David Goffin, Richard Gasquet

Second-round match to watch: Nishikori vs. Jeremy Chardy

Semifinals: Djokovic d. Wawrinka; Murray d. Ferrer

Final: Djokovic d. Murray