There are a couple of huge events remaining on the ATP World Tour this season and the first of them, the Paris Masters, takes place at the Accor Arena in the Bercy neighbourhood this week before thoughts turn to the Tour Finals in Turin in two week's time.
All the big guns are competing for the last Masters 1000 title of the campaign and the betting market is headed by world no.1 Novak Djokovic, who is to win a seventh Paris Masters title in his first start since claiming his 24th Grand Slam at the US Open.
|What||ATP Paris Masters|
|Where||Accor Arena, Bercy, Paris, France|
|When||Monday 30th October-Sunday 5th October|
|How to watch||Amazon Prime|
|Odds||Novak Djokovic 7/4, Carlos Alcaraz 10/3, Daniil Medvedev 7/1, Jannik Sinner 15/2|
While most players risk being caught cold after several weeks off, Novak Djokovic is not most players and the Serb has undoubtedly been working hard behind the scenes to make sure he's firing on all cylinders for the Paris Masters.
Djokovic, who skipped the Shanghai Masters at the start of October, has not played since beating Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final, a scheduling decision which contrasts with last season when the Serb won titles in Tel Aviv and Astana before losing to Holger Rune in the Paris final.
However, that approach was due in part to Djokovic's inability to compete in the US, with this season's schedule more closely aligned to 2021, when he reached the final of the US Open and took time off before winning in Paris.
There have been some shocks in this event down the years, including wins for Jack Sock and Karen Khachanov, but Djokovic has stamped his class on the field on six previous occasions and the draw for this year's tournament has been kind.
The Serb could face in-form Ben Shelton in the last 16 while Rune, Jannik Sinner and Andrey Rublev are all housed alongside Djokovic in the top half, but he's avoided Alcaraz (by virtue of the being seeded first and second) and Medvedev as well as some of the more dangerous outsiders like Hubert Hurkacz and Alexander Zverev.
When Carlos Alcaraz defeated Novak Djokovic in an epic five-set Wimbledon final, there was an expectation that the prodigious Spaniard would go on to claim a few more titles by the end of the season.
However, it hasn't quite worked out for the 20-year-old, who has not tasted victory since his triumph at the All England Club.
It's not as if Alcaraz's form has completely dropped off - he lost to Djokovic in the Cincinnati Masters final then reached the last four of the US Open and in Beijing - but a last-16 loss to Grigor Dimitrov in Shanghai hinted at fatigue at the end of a long season.
He has never been beyond the quarter-finals in two appearances in Bercy so, if there is to be a winner outside of the two favourites, the bottom half of the draw could be the place to look for each-way value.
While Djokovic was attending the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday evening, some of his chief Paris rivals were preparing for finals of their own with Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner due to face off for the Vienna Open title on Sunday.
That duo both have chances in Bercy, where Medvedev was a champion in 2020 and a runner-up in 2021, but a week competing in the Austrian capital could have both of them running on empty by the time the Paris Masters reaches the business end.
The same is true of in-form Hurkacz, who won in Shanghai and will take on Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime in the final of the Swiss Indoors in Basel before making the relatively short trip to the French capital.
While recent competitive form is a bonus, the ATP season is a long, gruelling one and there are no guarantees that any of these players will be able to sustain their form for one last crack at a Masters 1000 title.
This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.