Daniil Medvedev could become the world’s No. 1 again
Russian Daniil Medvedev continues his absentee battle with Novak Djokovic for the No. 1 ranking. But if at the beginning of the season and on the American hard court, only Daniil played, and Djokovic mostly had to follow the successes and failures of his opponent, then with the arrival of the clay season, the situation has changed fundamentally. The Serb has already started playing, while Medvedev has been out of the tour for a while to undergo surgery for a hernia and then undergo a rehabilitation course.
Recall that since February 28 for 3 weeks Medvedev was already at the top of the ATP rankings and could have extended his lead if he had successfully performed in a bunch of “Masters” in Indian Wells and Miami. But it did not work out. Djokovic has been back on top since March 21 and has held that spot for now. How much longer can he keep the lead? Let’s look at all the odds.
Novak fully returned to the tour with the start of the clay season (one-time appearance of the Serb in February at the ATP-500 tournament in Dubai is not taken into account). It should be noted that Djokovic’s return to the Monte Carlo Masters was not a triumph – he lost his first match. He lost not just to anyone, but to the tournament’s opener, the future finalist Alejandro Davidovic-Fauquin of Spain. In theory, if Novak had reached the semifinals in Monte Carlo, he would have secured his first place in the rankings for another month. But he didn’t. Medvedev, even without playing, will soon begin to rapidly approach the Serb due to fewer burned points than Djokovic.
On Monday, April 18, the new 52-week ATP rankings were released, including the results of Monte Carlo 2022. There have been no rearrangements in the top 10. Stefanos Tsitsipas, the champion, also remained in fifth place because he only defended last year’s points without gaining any more. As for the gap between the leader Djokovic and second-ranked Medvedev, it has increased from 10 to 110 points. The reason is that Daniil has 180 points from Monte Carlo 2019 and Novak has only 90 points from the 2021 tournament. The Serb added 10 points for participation in the second round match of Monte Carlo 2022.
If you only take into account the points that will be burned in the near future, in a week the gap between Daniil and Novak will increase from 110 to 170, because the Russian will have 150 points for the final of Barcelona 2019, and the Serb will have 90 points for Belgrade-2021. The situation will be reversed by May 9 when Djokovic will lose 500 points for the 2019 Madrid title and Medvedev will lose 90 for the third round of 2021. The Russian will be 240 points ahead of the Serb.
What will the Serb have to do to keep Medvedev in first place through May 9? As the table shows, Djokovic needs more than 240 points for the two tournaments in which he is playing – Belgrade and Madrid-2022 – to retain his lead. Everything can be decided in the current week. All the Serb needs to do is win his home title and earn 250 points to win. In principle, that should be within his grasp. The only thing that must be noted is that four Russians, among others, can prevent Djokovic from doing so. Novak, seeded No. 1, may meet with qualifier Roman Safiullin or Karen Khachanov (3) in the semifinals, and with Andrei Rublev (2) or Aslan Karatsev (4) in the finals.
If Djokovic is unsuccessful in Belgrade, he can earn the missing points at the “Masters” in Madrid. But if Novak fails there as well, May 9 will be a kind of victory day for Daniil Medvedev.