The 2023 tennis calendar turns towards the end as the best players on the planet gather in Paris, France, to battle it out in the last Masters 1000 tournament of the year.
The event officially starts on Monday, October 30, with the final scheduled for Sunday, November 5.
Historically, no other Masters 1000 event has brought more upsets than Paris, but it is very hard to expect one this time around with all the top ten players in the world being included in the list of entrants.
Danish sensation Holger Rune will have a mountain to climb to defend the title alongside the likes of Novak Djokovic, Calos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, and company.
All the best American players will also feature in Paris, including Taylor Fritz, Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe, Ben Shelton, Sebastian Korda, and Christopher Eubanks.
We have all the ingredients for a fantastic week of tennis in Paris. Here are our thoughts on the main favorites and potential dark horses, including our main Tennis betting prediction.
Novak Djokovic is the Most Successful Player in the Tournament’s History by Some Distance
The tennis’ Big Three (Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal) have dominated Masters 1000 tournaments in the last two decades, winning a combined 103 titles in these prestigious events. Other than the Grand Slams and arguably Davis Cup, there are no more important tournaments for tennis stars.
That said, the Paris Masters has been an exception to this rule for all big names except for Novak. Roger has won it just once, while Rafa reached only a single final at Accor Arena (which he lost). This tournament gave us some shocking winners in the last 15 years, including the likes of Robin Soderling, David Ferrer, Jack Sock, and Karen Khachanov.
Nevertheless, the “upset” rule rarely applies to the current World No. 1, Novak Djokovic. The Serb has a record six titles in Paris, three more than Boris Becker and Marat Safin. Novak also has two finals in the French capital, one of which came last year when he fell to Holger Rune.
Novak returns to Paris as the sportsbooks’ main favorite for the crown. It is easy to see why. The top-seeded Serb is well-rested, having played his previous match more than a month ago, beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to help his national team advance from their respective Davis Cup group. The week before that win, Novak eased past Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final to lift his record-breaking 24th Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows.
There are hardly any more records left to be broken for the Serbian superstar, but Novak always finds an extra motivation and staying at the top of the ATP standings for several additional weeks/months is a worthy one. Also, Djokovic only has two tournaments to play before the end of the year. He has had his rest and his recent performances have been brutal as Djoker won 27 of his last 28 matches. It’s great to have him at the attractive +160 odds as an outright winner on the DraftKings sportsbook app.
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Carlos Alcaraz is the only legit threat on Novak’s way
Carlos Alcaraz is the only man who has beat Djokovic on the biggest stage this year thanks to his legendary display in the Wimbledon final this summer. However, the young Spanish prodigy has not quite been at his very best since then, losing to Tommy Paul in Toronto’s quarterfinal, to Djokovic in the Cincinnati final, and Daniil Medvedev in the US Open semifinal.
His recent Asian tour has been anything but impressive as Carlitos fell to Jannik Sinner in the Beijing semifinal before losing to Grigor Dimitrov in the last 16 round of the Shanghai Masters. While he is still the only player whose talent can match Novak’s, his form does not promise and we do not see the value in backing the Spaniard to go all the way at Accor Arena at +275 odds.
The Rest of the Field
While the 2023 Paris edition has gathered the crème of men’s tennis, it is very difficult to find a genuine title candidate besides the aforementioned duo. Daniil Medvedev has won five titles this year, but his current form is much weaker than the one he had at the start of the season. A third-round exit from the Shanghai Masters at the hands of Sebastian Korda serves as the best proof.
Defending champion Holger Rune is in horrendous shape with one win in the last ten matches before last week’s tournament in Basel. Jannik Sinner won the ATP event in Beijing earlier this month but only to be eliminated in the last 16 round of the Shanghai Masters by Ben Shelton. Andrey Rublev made it to the Shanghai final several weeks ago, but he has not been seriously tested in the process.
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How Far Can the Americans Go?
While we’ve witnessed sort of boom when it comes to American tennis this year with five different players inside the Top 25 of the ATP rankings, their recent form does not promise big things in Paris.
World No. 9 Taylor Fritz has been nowhere near his best form of late, winning and losing three matches apiece since the US Open quarterfinal and the defeat to Djokovic. The fact the losses have come at the hands of Diego Schwartzman, Shintaro Mochizuki, and Alexander Shevchenko is certainly worrying.
Tommy Paul took just three games against Daniil Medvedev in Beijing and he fell to Croatian wild card Borna Gojo in the last 16 round of Vienna last week.
Frances Tiafoe has been miles away from his best form as well, with the defeats to Gojo, Tallon Griekspoor, Lorenzo Sonego, and Aslan Karatsev in the latest matches.
Sebastian Korda has made it to the Astana final and the Shanghai semifinal since losing to Marton Fucsovics at the start of the US Open but he has arrived in Paris off the back of a shocking first-round loss to Tomas Martin Etcheverry last week in Basel.
Out of all the US players, the only one worth considering as a potential dark horse pick would be Ben Shelton. The 21-year-old is in the best form of his life after winning the maiden ATP title two weeks ago in Tokyo. He fell to Jannik Sinner in two tight sets in the opening round of the tournament in Vienna last week, meaning he had an additional time to rest ahead of the last Masters 1000 event of the year. We still don’t see the value in backing anyone other than Novak for the title here, but if you have to go for one big longshot, Ben Shelton is your guy.
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