Djokovic aims for three in a row in Paris
Serbian star Novak Djokovic one again is the man to beat at this week's Paris Masters.
Novak Djokovic arrives at the Paris Masters next week aiming to win the tournament for the third year in a row.
Straight sets victories over David Ferrer in 2013 and Milos Raonic last year added to the Serb's previous triumph in the French capital in 2009.
Now, undisputed as world number one and in formidable form throughout 2015, he is the player everyone wants to avoid in the draw.
He has won three of the four Grand Slam titles this year; the French Open, where he was beaten by Stan Wawrinka in the final, remains the one major to have so far eluded him.
In addition, in the eight Masters tournaments so far in 2015, Djokovic has won five of them including, most recently, the tournament in Shanghai where he beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final.
His dominance is underlined by the fact that the Serb has not even lost a set since the US Open final against Roger Federer and his record so far this year is 73-5.
Leading those trying to stay with him at the top of the world rankings is Andy Murray, who has suffered several key defeats at the hands of Djokovic so far this season.
The pair have already met six times in 2015 with Murray winning just one of them, in the Canadian Masters.
That ended an eight-game winning run for the Serb in which he had beaten Murray in the quarter-final of last year's US Open, the final of this year's Australian Open and the semi-finals of the French.
Murray has had a successful year which has deserved more titles including Grand Slams, but too often he has found Djokovic on the other side of the net and in inspired form.
The Paris Masters is a tournament that Murray has under-achieved in through the years. He has reached the last eight on five occasions but has never reached the semi-finals. He will set himself a target of improving on that record this year.
The Scot has two Masters win so far in 2015, in Madrid and Montreal and is certainly capable of achieving a third, in Paris next week.
Another outstanding player during the past year has been, once again, Federer. A winner of the Paris Masters once before, in 2011, he is 34 years old but his skills show no sign of fading and, after more than a decade at the top of men's tennis, he remains hungry for more titles.
He lost to Djokovic in the final of both Wimbledon and the US Open, however he demonstrated in his victory over Murray in the semi-finals in London why he remains at the top of his game.
Murray, Wimbledon champion in 2013, was outclassed in three sets in what many regarded as one of the best grass court displays ever. Another Grand Slam continues to elude Federer, but having won five ATP titles already in 2015, as the season draws to an end, he will be looking for one more.
A disappointing year for Rafael Nadal is ending with some signs of recovery back to the form which took him to 14 Grand Slam singles titles. Though he has failed in this season's majors and the Masters events, he reached the final of the China Open and the semi's in Shanghai in recent weeks.
Many will hope that Nadal has a more successful 2016 and he will lay down a marker if he does well in Paris next week.
Of the top seeds only Raonic is missing from the event; he has a back injury but if the likes of Djokovic and Murray miss out, Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori are among those hoping to be in place to take advantage.