Novak Djokovic is in danger of being unseeded at the French Open for the first time in 12 years following his second-round exit at the Madrid Open.
The 30-year-old is currently ranked No.12, but after failing to match last year’s semifinal run is projected to drop to at least No.18 next week. It will be the Serb’s lowest ranking since October 2006.
Of more concern for the former world No.1 and 12-time Grand Slam champion, he is also defending 600 ranking points at next week’s ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome.
"It's not the end of the world."
Novak Djokovic put his three-set loss to Kyle Edmund into perspective.
— ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) May 9, 2018
When these runner-up points are removed, Djokovic’s ranking is set to fall just outside the world’s top 30. Another early exit next week would put the Roland Garros 2016 champion on the cusp of missing a seeding at the 2018 tournament.
French Open seedings will be based on ATP rankings after the Rome tournament, adding to the mounting pressure on Djokovic to recapture his form quickly.
Djokovic was last unseeded at a Grand Slam tournament at Wimbledon 2006, when he was a No.39-ranked 19-year-old. He has been a top-six seed in 11 consecutive French Opens.
|Djokovic’s Grand Slam seeding history|
N/S = Not seeded, DNP = Did not play
Djokovic made the quarterfinals as the No.2 seed at last year’s Roland Garros.
Being unseeded in 2018 increases the risk of facing top-ranked players in earlier rounds – and with lots of points to defend in Paris, he needs to win a few rounds or else his ranking could tumble outside the world’s top 50 for the first time in 12 years.
“I’ve played this sport so many years and had a bunch of success. I try to always remind myself and be grateful for that,” Djokovic told atpworldtour.com after Thursday’s loss to Kyle Edmund.
“At the same time, nobody is forcing me to play this sport. I do it because I like it. I want to do it. And that’s something also that makes me fortunate to play the sport.
“So that’s where I draw my strength. And as long as I keep going, as long as I love the sport, I’ll keep going. And that’s all it is.”
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