Monday November 7th, 2011

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic had shoulder issues during his Swiss Indoors semifinal loss to Japan's Kei Nishikori. (Georgios Kefalas/EPA)

Last chance for glory: It's the last tournament of the regular season for the ATP, which means any attempt to predict what will happen is a futile endeavor. Heck, we don't even know who's going to be playing! Rafael Nadal has already withdrawn from the Paris Masters and Juan Martin del Potro announced his withdrawal over the weekend, citing a shoulder injury.

But all eyes are on Novak Djokovic, who lost only his fourth match of the year, to Kei Nishikori, on Saturday, and seems to have picked up a right shoulder injury. No one would begrudge him a decision to skip Paris (well, except maybe the tournament director and ticket-buying fans). He's already locked up the year-end No. 1 ranking and doesn't want to carry an injury into the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

So with most of the players either limping, streaking or slumping, it will be interesting to see who's still vested and who's already checked out into the offseason.

Last gasp for London: We know that at least five men are still vested (six if you count Gael Monfils, who still has a long-shot chance), as they try to clinch their place in the World Tour Finals. Three spots remain open going into Paris, with Tomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mardy Fish in pole position. With a more than 500-point lead on the remaining contenders, their spots are safe so long as they post better results than Nicolas Almagro, Janko Tipsarevic and Gilles Simon -- who would have to make the finals to even have a chance.

Here are the updated point scenarios for the final three spots:

Pos. Player W F SF QF R16 R32 R48
6 Berdych 3940 3540 3300 3120 3030 2950 Bye
7 Tsonga 3935 3535 3295 3115 3025 2945 Bye
8 Fish 3875 3475 3235 3055 2965 2885 Bye
9 Almagro 3370 2970 2730 2550 2460 2380 Bye
10 del Potro 3315 2915 2675 2495 2405 2325 Bye
11 Tipsarevic 3305 2905 2665 2485 2395 2315 Bye
12 Simon 3155 2755 2515 2335 2245 2165 Bye
14 Monfils 2925 2525 2285 2105 2015 1935 Bye

Follow-up Federer: Roger Federer won his first title in 10 months in Basel, Switzerland, over the weekend, and don't be surprised if he runs the table through Paris and London. That said, anything can happen on these quick courts. Federer has never won in Paris and he has Richard Gasquet and Fish to contend with in his quarter (both of whom could either crash out or contend), and he's been drawn into Andy Murray's half. Federer looked to have shaken off any rust in Basel and seems motivated to make a strong push through the end of the season. That's bad news for the beleaguered and depleted field.

Gluteus-free: Leave it to Murray to suffer one of the more bizarre injuries in recent memory. The Scot was fine as he practiced in advance of last week's tournament in Basel, only to go to bed and wake up with a broken butt (strained glute) that forced him to withdraw from the tournament. He seems to be fine now, arriving to Paris early in the week to resume training. If Djokovic does end up withdrawing, Murray will be the top seed in Paris. He's still undefeated since the U.S. Open but hasn't played since Shanghai. With London coming up, you know Murray will want to keep his streak alive and jump-start his confidence going into the World Tour Finals, but he's probably going to need a healthy butt to do it.

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