The Coronavirus has put the tennis season 2020 to a halt till July at least. Many big tournaments have been lost in the process. The ATP has canceled 5 Masters 1000s including Indian Wells, Miami Open, Monte Carlo, Madrid Masters, and the Italian Open. Wimbledon 2020 has also been called off and Roland Garros pushed to late September. The ATP decided to freeze the tennis rankings since March. We analyze who gained and who lost among the male tennis players due to the ATP Rankings Freeze.
Players Who Gained From ATP Rankings Freeze
Roger Federer has been the biggest gainer among the top male tennis players as a result of the ATP Rankings Freeze. The Swiss maestro had pulled out of the tour after 2020 Australian Open due to knee surgery. He would have missed the sunshine double and the whole clay-court season. This would have meant the loss of more than 3000 rankings points that Federer gained in 2019. The 20 time Grand Slam winner who now sits at world number 4 would have struggled to be a part of the top 8 in the singles ATP rankings.
Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro will also feel a bit of gain due to the tour suspension. The two Grand Slam winners used to be an almost permanent in the top 5 or top 10. They have however been outside the top 100 due to frequent injury issues and consequent absence from the tour. Due to the Coronavirus break both of them will now have a few extra months to recover. They will also feel saved from sliding further down in the ATP rankings due to ATP Rankings Freeze.
Among the other members of the top 8 Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev would have had a mixed feeling due to the Corona-virus induced suspension. Stefanos Tsitsipas had just above 1500 points to defend from last year’s gains. He however was not looking in great touch since his Nitto ATP 2019 finale win. The Russian Daniil Medvedev also needed to defend just above 1000 points from the last season’s gains. He also lost a lot of touch since the dream run in 2019 US hard court swing. Medvedev now stays at world number 5 in the ATP rankings.
Players Who Lost From ATP Rankings Freeze
The current world number 1 Novak Djokovic retains his place at the top until the tour is suspended. The Serb however would feel a lot of loss as he can’t add to his weeks at world number 1 in the ATP rankings. Novak would have overtaken Pete Sampras and also further closed the gap with Roger Federer’s 310 weeks at world number 1.
The Serb who has had an 18-0 win-loss record in 2020 was also an odds-on favorite for the sunshine double. He would have even felt strong chances at the European clay swing in 2020. Thus for Djokovic the suspension of play and ATP rankings freeze as a result of the Coronavirus was more about losses than gains.
Rafa Nadal who started the season at world number 1 was relegated to the 2nd position after failing to defend his points at the Australian Open. The Spanish great will again feel at loss due to the ATP rankings freeze after the Coronavirus break. Rafa lost his favorite part of the season which is the clay spring of Europe.
Last year he failed to win Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid Open. Nadal would have liked to gain more points from the clay-court season by winning these events this year. This could have helped the Spaniard to maybe overtake Djokovic at world number 1. He trails the Serb by mere 370 points. The good news for the world number 2 is that the French Open can still be played in September this year.
Dominic Thiem of Austria also who won’t be happy due to the Coronavirus related tour suspension. The Australian Open 2020 finalist leaped to his career-best world number 3 in the ATP rankings. He was looking in great form both on hard courts and his beloved clay. Thiem could have had great success at the clay swing and could have closed the gap with Rafa Nadal for the world number 2 position. He remains a very strong favorite for the French Open if it was to be held in September.
Battle for Year-End Number 1 Amid ATP Rankings Freeze
If tennis resumes after the Coronavirus scare, the battle for year-end ATP rankings is going to be exciting and intense. Like 2019 it will again be between Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic this year also. The Serb at the moment is just ahead by 370 points ahead of the Spaniard. However Rafa will have to defend two slam titles in less than a month in September if they are played. He won the US Open and Roland Garros in 2019. Defending the two majors back to back is going to be a humongous task for the man from Mallorca.
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Novak was not much impressive in the later months of 2019. Barring the Paris Masters he did not have much success after Wimbledon 2019 victory. The Serb thus looks in the driver’s seat to end the year as world number 1 in 2020. This would mean 6 year-end championships, equaling Pete Sampras and surpassing his two great rivals Roger and Rafa. Tennis fans are thus eagerly waiting for the tour to resume after this long suspension break. Any change in the rankings will require the ATP Rankings Freeze to be done away with, and it depends on the Corona-virus situations.