Mag By Craig Gabriel
WE ARE TENNIS ... YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT
It’s a massive few weeks for the biggest sponsor in world tennis. You know who that is. Yes, yes, BNP Paribas. After the BNP Paribas WTA Finals in Singapore which Serena Williams won by hardly raising a sweat in the final, we have the in-progress BNP Paribas Masters in Paris-Bercy that could see established father Roger Federer re-taking the world No.1 ranking from new father Novak Djokovic. Then there is the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas final in Prague next week between the Czechs and the Germans and closing out the 2014 season will be the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas final in Lille between the French and Swiss.
Is there any question when BNP Paribas says “we are tennis”?
So first let’s look at what’s happening this week at the Palais Omnisports on the banks of the Seine and the talk of the town is whether Federer will get that No.1 ranking and dethrone Novak Djokovic. Taking his first round win into consideration, Federer has won 13 straight matches – he is undefeated since losing to Marin Cilic at the US Open.
Without putting the kiss of death on the situation, 33 year old Federer is poised to become the oldest world No.1, eclipsing Andre Agassi’s record by a year. And if he does achieve it and end the year No.1, Federer will equal Pete Sampras record of being six time year-end world No.1.
The combination of Federer’s top form, the fact that Djokovic has winner’s points to defend in Paris and London at the ATP World Tour Finals which means he can’t add substantially to the vital points he has; that means Federer can pick up ranking points in Paris and London; that’s what has made it possible for the Swiss to be in this position. He has held No.1 for a record 302 weeks.
If it was to happen in Paris, Federer would have to win the title and Djokovic needs to miss the final, or Federer would have to reach the final and Djokovic fail to reach the quarters. But if he doesn’t do it in Paris, he has two chances more, in London and then the Davis Cup final which carries points.
In Prague, when the Czechs play host to Germany, the home nation will be looking to win its third Fed Cup title in four years. Germany also is trying for a third title but the last time they won the Fed Cup was 22 years ago and if you look at the head-to-head between the two nations, the Czechs would be hands-down favourites, they leads the series 6-1.
“I have beautiful memories of 2012 when we won in Prague,” Petra Kvitova told fedcup.com. “Germany are going to be very tough opponents. I know they are pretty good, everybody on the team, and there is a very good atmosphere in the team as well. It’s difficult to say we have an advantage to play at home as it’s also more pressure.”
The arena in Lille is sold out for the final of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, that’s going to be about 25,000 plus screaming fans. But which nation has the edge? It is probably quite an even situation as the Federer led Swiss take on the Jo-Wilfried Tsonga led French.
The Davis Cup trophy is a rare championship missing from the Federer mantle.
This final promises to be one of the most extraordinary Davis Cup finals in the event’s recent history and what an end of the year it would be for Federer if he helps Switzerland raise the Cup and on the same week-end also secure that year-end world No.1. We’ll soon see which way the script ends.