Today we talk about the new ATP ranking system. The tennis season 2020 has been in suspension since March due to the Corona-virus Pandemic. It is hoped that the tour will resume in August with a loaded schedule. As of now, the tentative schedule has 5 big tournaments planned in August and September. These include the 2 Grand Slams of the US Open and Roland Garros. There are also 3 Masters 1000 tournaments including Madrid, Rome, and Cincinnati in the pipeline.
The ATP has however announced a slight change in the ranking calculation for season 2020. Rather than the regular 12 months rankings, this season would have a 22-month interval. The points won would be taken into account from March 2019 to December 2020. If the player has won a tournament in 2019 after March and does not that in 2020 his points won’t be dropped. Players can however increase their points by performing better than the previous year. We analyze the effect of the new ATP ranking system on the 5 top-ranking players currently.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
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The current world number 4 Roger Federer is the biggest gainer from the new ATP ranking system. He has recently undergone second knee surgery and would not have played a singles tournament in the remaining months of the season 2020. This means Federer would have lost at least 1500 points in just August and September.
More points could have been lost if the Nitto year-end finale was to be held later this year. This would have taken the Swiss maestro possibly out of the top 8. Federer now breathes a sigh of relief as he won’t lose any points even if he does not step on the court till 2021 Australian Open. He could still be a part of the top 5 or 6 singles best-ranked players.
The world number 2 Rafael Nadal is another player who would be happy with the new ATP ranking system. Though Rafa is scheduled to play in August he had more than 5000 points to defend in the tournaments. The Spaniard can’t get any additional points from the US Open and French Open as he won both the slams last year. The same goes for the Rome Masters. Rafa can however add to his tally by playing in the Cincinnati Open and advancing more than semis in the Madrid Masters.
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Nadal is now almost sure of at least remaining as the world number 2. He had recently expressed reluctance to travel to the US amidst the Corona-virus crisis. The 19 time Grand Slam winner had also called the loaded ATP schedule in August-September as brutal. The failure to protect his points may have opened a chance for Nadal to be overtaken by Dominic Thiem and go down to the number 3 position.
Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem
The current world number 1 stands 370 points ahead of his nearest rival Rafa Nadal. For the Serb, the new ranking announcement would bring mixed results. His 2000 points from Wimbledon were already locked as the tournament was canceled for the 2020 season. Novak now reserves his 2000 points from Madrid and Paris Masters events which he won last year. He could also add to the tally by winning more points at the French Open and US Open.
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Last year Djokovic went to the semis in Paris and just the 4th round in New York. The Serb who recently caught the Corona-virus will also be feeling slightly disappointed in another sense. His nearest rivals had more points to defend than Novak and thus the Serb was almost sure to finish world number 1 in 2019. He would now have to work a bit more to achieve that record. The silver lining for Djokovic is that the recent change gives him more chances to close in on Federer weeks at world number 1 record if the Serbian star finishes at the top of ATP rankings in 2020.
Dominic Thiem is the player who would be feeling most heat due to the recent ATP decision. The Austrian superstar had less than 1700 points to defend from the 5 tournaments scheduled in August and September. Though he has the score to increase his points, in a normal ranking scenario he would have closed the gap with Rafa. The world number 3 could have had a chance to climb to the 2nd position if Nadal failed to defend his points. This however will be extremely difficult now.
Russia’s Daniil Medvedev who is currently world number 5 has a great chance to climb to 4th place in ATP rankings. The 24-year-old Russian stands behind Roger Federer by around 700 points. He has a great chance to add the points at Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros. In 2019, he exited in the 1st round in all these 3 events. Medvedev has also now secured the 2200 points he got by winning the Cincinnati Masters and finishing as the finalist in the US Open in 2019.
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The new ATP rankings system for 2020 thus brings mixed results for the top players. While they gain in some respects there are also some areas of loss. The world number 2 and Swiss maestro Roger Federer is without a doubt most benefited by this recent decision. Tennis fans now hope that the tour resumes sooner and they see their favorite stars in action again after a long wait. From the season 2021, the regular 12 month rankings system would again be continued.
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