Tennis: What the revised rankings mean for top five men champions

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Men’s governing body ATP on Monday unveiled a revised system for calculating world rankings when the season resumes in August following a five-month suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Traditionally the ATP rankings operates on a formula of 18 best results over 52 weeks but will now cover a 22-month period from March 2019 through December 2020.

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While the new model provides impetus for players to improve results from their 2019 performance, it will also provide stability to those who choose not to play due to the pandemic as they would not need to defend points.

The ATP’s rejigged calendar for the year includes two Grand Slam events in the US Open and the French Open and three Masters 1000 events.

Novak Djokovic, world number one

The Serb will be favorite to keep his number one ranking at the end of year as he retains the points he earned from his 2019 Wimbledon win till 2021 with the grass court Grand Slam cancelled due to the pandemic in 2020.

Djokovic will also keep points from his Madrid and Paris Masters wins even if he decides to skip the events in 2020 or fares badly in them.

He could also strengthen his position at the top of the rankings by improving on his fourth round exit at the US Open and defeats in the semi-finals of the French Open and the Cincinnati Masters.

Rafa Nadal, world number two

The Spaniard had to previously defend more than 5,000 points over six weeks, having won the Grand Slams in New York and Paris in 2019 and also the Rome Masters. But he will now get to keep all those points even if he does not hit a ball.

Rafael Nadal celebrates after defeating Matteo Berrettini in the men’s singles semifinals of the US Open tennis championships on September 6, 2019, in New York. (AP)
Rafael Nadal celebrates after defeating Matteo Berrettini in the men’s singles semifinals of the US Open tennis championships on September 6, 2019, in New York. (AP)

If Nadal decides to travel to the United States for the hardcourt season, he would have a chance to pick up points from the Cincinnati Masters after he skipped the event in 2019.

Dominic Thiem, world number three

Thiem will retain the points he gained from his appearance in last year’s French Open final and his semi-final appearance at the Madrid Masters.

The Austrian will also have the scope to improve on his first round exit at the US Open and the early loss in Rome.

Roger Federer, world number four

The biggest gainer from the revised rankings will be Federer, with the Swiss ruling himself out of the rest of the season after undergoing a second knee surgery during the year.

The 20-times Grand Slam winner has not played since his semi-final defeat by Djokovic at the Australian Open and would be able to keep most of the points from 2019 that he would have otherwise lost in normal circumstances.

Daniil Medvedev, world number five

The Russian has the chance to make significant gains during the rest of the year, having lost in the first round at the Madrid and Rome Masters and also the French Open in Paris.

If the results do not go his way, Medvedev will still have the cushion of the significant points he earned by winning the Cincinnati Masters and reaching the U.S. Open final in 2019.

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