Andy Murray goes in pursuit of history at the Paris Masters this week where he could become the first Briton to top the ATP rankings. The 29-year-old has won each of his last three tournaments and could end Novak Djokovivc's 122-week stranglehold at the summit of the men's game.
Victories at the China Open, the Shanghai Masters and the Vienna Open have seen Murray close the points gap to Djokovic – who has been out of sorts since completing a career grand slam at the French Open. The British No 1 effectively trails the Serbian by just 415 points, a deficit he could eclipse in the French capital should results go his way.
A maiden win for Murray at the final Masters Series 1000 event of the 2016 season, combined with Djokovic's failure to reach the final at the AccorHotels Arena where he is the three-time defending champion, would see a new man atop the ATP standings. The Wimbledon champion could also climb to world No 1 simply by reaching the final, if Djokovic falls before the semi-final.
Any other scenario however will see Djokovic cling on the world No 1 and enhance his hopes of ending the year as the dominant player in the game for a fifth straight year. Should Djokovic successfully defend his title and Murray have his unbeaten run, which currently stands at 15 matches, broken before the last four then the Serb will be assured of ending 2016 as world number one before the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Andy Murray's possible route to world number one at Paris Masters
Round one: Bye
Round two: Fernando Verdasco
Round three: Lucas Pouille
Quarter-final: Tomas Berdych
Semi-final: Milos Raonic
Final: Novak Djokovic/Stanislas Wawrinka
While Djokovic will surrender both the points he won in Paris last year and the season-ending ATP Finals, Murray is due to lose his gains from helping Great Britain win the Davis Cup last November. It could mean that victory for either player at The O2 Arena during the week of 13-20 November will also be enough to ensure they head into the 2017 Australian Open as the No 1 seed.
Meanwhile, two places remain up for grabs at the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals with Paris representing the final opportunity for players to stake a claim to compete at the prestigious event. Six players have confirmed their places in the draw, with Dominic Thiem and Marin Cilic currently seventh and eighth respectively in the standings - with Rafael Nadal having pulled out of the rest of the season through injury.
ATP Race to London standings
7th: Dominic Thiem - 3,205 points
8th: Marin Cilic - 3,090 points
9th: Tomas Berdych - 2,880 points
10th: David Goffin - 2,690 points
11th: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 2,370 points
12th: Roberto Bautista Agut - 2,340
13th: Lucas Pouille - 2,106
Already qualified: Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stanislas Wawrinka, Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori, Gael Monfils
Should either player reach the final this week they would confirm their place in the English capital, but there are as many as five others ready to take their place should they slip up. Tomas Berdych and David Goffin are both in hot pursuit, and a first Masters 1000 victory of the season for either would see them reach the London event though anything less is likely to curtail their hopes.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Roberto Bautista Agut are next in line but they must prevail in Paris and hope that Cilic and Thiem both fail to reach the latter stages. Finally, Lucas Pouille is the last player in contention but he must win just a second ATP Tour title of his career while hoping Cilic is dumped out in the second round and Goffin only reaches the semi-final.