The battle for year-end No. 1 continues at next week’s Rolex Paris Masters, but you wouldn’t know it watching Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal practise together on Saturday.The top two seeds put aside the magnitude of what's at stake and had a two-hour practice on centre court, closing out their early afternoon session with competitive match play. Nadal led Djokovic 6-4, 2-2, before they moved to a tie-break that the Serbian won. Nadal and Djokovic carried themselves with the intensity that fans have come to expect, but still shared a few lighthearted moments on court.The battle for No. 1...@RafaelNadal & @DjokerNole practice together ahead of the @RolexPMasters pic.twitter.com/OZtwEppqtP— ATP Tour (@atptour) October 26, 2019 “I’m not sure if we can see this in any other sport, but here we like to keep things simple,” said Nadal’s coach, former World No. 1 Carlos Moya. “Why couldn’t we practise with Djokovic? We’ve tried on many occasions, but weren’t able to do it due to scheduling issues.”Nadal holds a healthy 1,280 point-lead over Djokovic in the ATP Race to London, which acts a barometer for who will finish the year at No. 1. If the Spaniard can clinch his first title in Paris, he will put the battle out of reach and ensure he finishes as year-end No. 1 for the fifth time. Meanwhile, Djokovic is seeking a record-tying sixth year-end No. 1 finish.Four-time champion Djokovic will start his week against local favourite Richard Gasquet or fellow Serbian Dusan Lajovic. Nadal begins his campaign against a qualifier or Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.More From #RolexParisMasters* Draw Preview: Zverev Leads Push For London Spots* All You Need To Know* Can You Pass Our Quiz?

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Mannarino, Adrian

The experience of competing in the Next Gen ATP Finals has helped propel numerous rising stars forward in their careers, but even Alex de Minaur is surprised at how quickly he’s risen up the ATP Rankings this year.He arrives in Milan at a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 18 after a banner year that’s included his first three ATP Tour titles in Sydney (d. Seppi), Atlanta (d. Fritz) and Zhuhai (d. Mannarino). De Minaur was one of the pack among his #NextGenATP peers in Milan 12 months ago, but has firmly established himself as the top seed this year.“It’s been an unbelievable year and not one that I expected. I’m very happy with what I’ve been able to accomplish,” De Minaur said ahead of his first match on Tuesday against Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. “I’m just happy to be here in Milan. I had a blast last year, so I’m looking forward to coming out here and competing again.”Read More: Preview: De Minaur Battles Davidovich FokinaDe Minaur quickly took to the unique scoring format during his debut in Milan last year, sprinting through his three matches in Group B and then outlasting Spaniard Jaume Munar in a five-set semi-final. Although he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the championship match, he credited that defeat with fueling his wins in the coming months.“Finishing runner-up last season was a bit of a bittersweet ending,” De Minaur said. “I wasn’t able to get it done in the final, but it was a great end to a very positive year. I was able to bring that momentum to make sure I had a very positive pre-season and did all the right things.”The fruits of De Minaur’s labour were revealed at the start of the year. The Aussie shrugged off an 0-2 record in tour-level finals to clinch his maiden ATP Tour title on home soil in Sydney. Rain pushed the semi-finals and final to Sunday, but he showed supreme fitness to become the youngest winner at the event since mentor Lleyton Hewitt took the title in 2001.“It was one of the most incredible days to be able to win my first ATP Tour title in my hometown,” De Minaur said. “There were lots of nerves and different expectations coming into that week. I was able to play in front of family and friends. It was a very special tournament for me overall.”Read More: 5 Big Things To Know Ahead Of The Next Gen ATP FinalsDe Minaur’s relentless retrieving and fiery competitiveness have led to plenty of other special tournaments this year, but finishing his season with a title in Milan would be particularly memorable. But true to his character, he’s not getting ahead of himself. The Aussie brushed off any expectations fans may have of him as the top seed and said he’s solely focussed on his next match against Davidovich Fokina.“Every match is completely different,” De Minaur said. “There’s been lots to learn from, but now I’m here in Milan and have to get ready for the match tomorrow. I’ve just been taking it day by day this year.”

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