How was the ATP ranking reformed?
To protect players in a period made very uncertain by the pandemic, the ATP first completely froze the world hierarchy during the five months of total interruption of the circuit (from March to August 2020). No game, so no loss or gain of points, this logical decision has been little debated. But things got complicated when the tennis caravan resumed its journey in rather unusual conditions.
Knowing that the rules in terms of travel, quarantine and health security were different from one country to another and that all players were not housed in the same boat, a reform was put in place: extending the calculation of the ranking (the 19 best results) at 22 then at 24 months (from March 2019 to March 2021). In this way, for those who were able to play in 2020, it was only possible to increase their capital of points (the best result in the same tournament between 2019 and 2020 still being kept). To progress in the hierarchy, it was no longer necessary to rely only on oneself, since the potential counter-performances of others cost them nothing.
A first set snatched and Zverev spun towards his 3rd half in a row in Masters 1000
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This is no longer quite the case since March, since a new reform has reduced this total protection, allowing players to keep whatever happens half of their points accumulated between March and the beginning of August 2019. For example, Roger Federer kept 500 of his 1,000 points won in Miami, and Rafael Nadal 1,000 of his 2,000 points at Roland-Garros (with his semi-final a few weeks ago, he should have only obtained 720).
Federer and the decline: “We will know at Wimbledon if the Swiss is ‘recoverable’ or not”
When will the ATP rankings return to its normal mode of operation?
It will soon be the case. More precisely, from the week of August 16, the one following the Masters 1000 of Canada (Toronto) which will be the last allowing players to keep half of their points from 2019. From the Cincinnati tournament, they will all put into play the capital total they had accumulated there. To clarify things, Novak Djokovic, defending champion, will therefore put his 1000 points into play, just like… Daniil Medvedev, winner of the event in 2019.
From then on, from week to week, each player will have to defend their points again, which will make the ranking more fluid, without making it completely correspond at the end of the season with that of the Race (results in 2021). Why ? Quite simply because this return to the normal calculation mode only took place in August, that is to say two thirds of the season, and not at the very beginning of the year. Whether they played between January and March or not, some still benefit from what they had earned during this same period in 2019, and 50% of what they had earned between March and August 2019.
To win in Halle, Humbert outperformed against the top 10
Among the best, which players are the most protected?
In the current Top 20, 6 players have not been among the top 20 since the start of 2021: Dominic Thiem (5th), Roger Federer (8th), David Goffin (15th), Gaël Monfils (16th), Alex de Minaur (18th) and Christian Garin (20th). If for the last two cities, it is not much at stake – the Australian and the Chilean are respectively 27th and 29th in the Race -, for others, the situation is particularly incongruous or even grotesque.
This is especially the case for Monfils who has only accumulated a tiny 85 points since January 1, which places him 221st in the hierarchy of the season. Roger Federer is not to be pitied either, he who is currently ranked 87th in the world at Race, thanks to his round of 16 at Roland-Garros and despite only 8 matches played this season. The performance of Dominic Thiem, only 31st in the Race, also has little to do with his status as the world’s Top 5.
Two weeks before WImbledon, Monfils was not reassured: his defeat against Harris on video
Will they tumble in the next few weeks?
So will the fall be heavy for them in the coming weeks? If he continues to lose as quickly as lately, Monfils should find himself beyond the Top 25 after the US Open (where he will have to defend his quarter-final in 2019). Ugo Humbert, currently 25th, should then become number 1 tricolor at this rate. But whatever happens, Monfils will not leave the Top 100 in 2021: the most difficult period for him to face will undoubtedly be the start of 2022 with the points of his titles in Rotterdam and Montpellier in particular at stake.
What about Roger Federer? The Swiss could lose a maximum of 600 units at Wimbledon (half the points of his final in 2019), which would make him fall one place in favor of Matteo Berrettini. But even in the event of poor results, he could only leave the Top 10 in the fall (he only has a quarter in the US to defend and still has a 1715-point lead on the 11th Diego Schwartzman). He too, if he continues his career, will put a lot back into play in 2022: half of the Australian Open 2020, remaining points from Indian Wells, Miami, Wimbledon…
Finally, the one who has the most to lose in absolute value this summer is Rafael Nadal: he will put 2500 points into play between Toronto and the US Open, a little more than 2090 in the same tournaments (the two players retaining half of their earnings in Canada 2019) of Dominic Thiem. But there will be no drop in the standings: if the two players were to lose early in Flushing, they would be virtually at worst 6th and 7th players in the world today.
“Winning against Djokovic in the final would have had a different impact for Tsitsipas”
Who could win big?
If Novak Djokovic seems safe on the throne with more than 2000 units in advance, an early poor performance at Wimbledon could cost him half. And if Daniil Medvedev were to win, he would steal the world number 1 spot from him. Although far-fetched, it is a possible scenario. More surely, Stefanos Tsitsipas has the podium in sight. Currently 2nd in the Race and 4th in the ATP rankings, the Greek will steal 3rd place from Nadal (who will lose 360 points, half of what his 2019 half brought him) if he reaches at least the quarter-finals at the All England Club.
Tsitsipas has never gone so far on English grass, so nothing is done. But in the medium term, during the hard summer tour leading to the US Open, he will have nothing to defend. It would therefore be surprising if he did not succeed. Finally, the cases of Aslan Karatsev and Jannik Sinner, respectively 8th and 9th in the Race (24th and 23rd in the ATP), will be interesting to follow during this American summer. The Russian and the Italian should integrate for one and reintegrate for the other the Top 20, since they have very few points to defend over the rest of the season compared to those which precede them.
Zverev and Tsitsipas find themselves in the last four again
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Seeded 5, Nadal will be weakened at Roland no matter what
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