Will Medvedev be seeded No. 1 at Roland Garros?
Russian Daniil Medvedev had a chance to become the number one seed at Roland Garros on May 9. To do so, Serb Novak Djokovic needed to lose his opening match at the Masters in Madrid. But the Serb broke through that barrier and made it to the semifinals. That ended his winning streak, as the Serb lost in three heavy sets to 19-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz. But if Djokovic had beaten him, or better still, taken the title, he would have guaranteed himself the No. 1 seed at Roland Garros. Now there’s still a battle to be fought over that one. Let’s look at the results.
The 52-week ATP rankings were updated at the end of Madrid. Novak Djokovic is still in the lead with 8260 points. Medvedev is 270 points behind him with 7990. The top five retained their positions, with Zverev, Nadal and Tsitsipas. Madrid winner Carlos Alcaraz soared to No. 3 and became the world No. 6 for the first time. Andrei Rublev, a quarter-finalist, moved up by one place to No.7.
The big tournament in Rome has already started in the new week with almost all the participants of Madrid except for champion Alcaraz. Medvedev, who is still recovering from an operation, misses the next competition on the ground, but Djokovic has already recognized all his potential opponents. As the high seeded tennis player he misses the first round, and in the second round he got the Russian Aslan Karatsev, who beat South African Lloyd George Harris in his opening match. The Serb may play in the third round against the winner of Jere-Wawrinka. In the quarterfinals, Novak may meet Felix Auger-Allassim (8) or Diego Schwartzman of Argentina (12). Potential semi-final opponents for Djokovic are Rafael Nadal (3), Casper Ruud (5), Hubert Hurkac (11) and Denis Shapovalov (13). Alexander Zverev (2), Stefanos Tsitsipas (4), Andrey Rublev (6) and Yannick Sinner (10) could reach the final.
What must Djokovic do in Rome to remain the world ranking leader on May 16 and receive the No.1 seed for Roland Garros?
The thing is that Novak will lose 600 points in a week for the final in Rome 2021. Medvedev lost to Aslan Karatsev at the start a year ago and gained only 10 points. As a result, the difference between Daniil and Novak is 320 points in favor of the Russian. The Serb must reach at least the semifinals in Rome-2022 (360 points) to close it.
If Djokovic can do this, he will guarantee himself the No. 1 seed at Roland Garros. But that does not mean he will play as world number one in Paris. A week before the French Open in Geneva, there will be an ATP-250 tournament, and Medvedev has already received a wild-card for it. If he wins in Switzerland, Daniel will receive 250 points, and then he can surpass the Serb in the May 23 rankings and lead the world ranking for at least two weeks at Roland Garros. To rule out such a possibility, Novak must go one round further in Rome, not until the semifinals, but at least until the decisive match.
It’s not just Medvedev whom Djokovic should fear. Third-ranked Zverev is now 1,240 points behind Novak. On May 16, their gap will narrow to 820 points. And if Zverev wins the title (1000) and Novak doesn’t go past the third round (90), Alexander will be overtaken by Medvedev. The battle for the world rankings leaderboard has intensified two weeks before the French Open.