Novak Djokovic defeated Gael Monfils in 3 sets today to take the BNP Paribas Masters title. It looked like a rout early as the Djoker took a 6-2, 3-0 lead but Monfils fought back. If Monfils could string a whole match of solid play together, he'll really be dangerous. But today, The Djoker was the better man.
This makes two straight titles for Djokovic who took out Federer in his hometown tournament in Basel just last week. It does speak well of a player if he wins on enemy turf. He's the defending champ for the year-end gala so he'll face some added pressure going into London. But he's certainly in good form.
This is sort of a quiet time of year as the tennis calendar goes. The top players are usually staggering to the finish line as their bodies repay them for the abuse they've taken during the summer slog. The Paris tournament, in particular, is one that usually suffers from lackluster performances by the stars. Thus, it becomes an opportunity for those lower down the ladder to pick up some cash and shore up their rankings. Djokovic, despite not picking up any big titles before this one, has had a consistently strong year. He is hitting peak form as others in the top tier are dragging. I don't mean to take anything away from him. Get while the gettin's good - more power to him.
The length of the tennis season is rough on the players but I think it's great as a fan. Most of the players get about a month-and-a-half off at this point. The last two meaningful events - the year-end championship and the Davis Cup final - involve just an elite few. Back when I would have considered college basketball to be my favorite sport, I had months to yearn between seasons. With tennis, I'm usually too busy in the holiday season to give it much thought.
There is legitimate criticism about the calendar but I feel the congested summer season is more to blame for banged up bodies than is the fall swing.
On to London.