Winning the French Open ensures Rafael Nadal continues his reign as world No.1 – but for how long?
The Spaniard holds a slender 100-point lead over world No.2 Roger Federer, who is back in action this week in Stuttgart. If Federer makes the final at the German grass-court event, he will reclaim the top spot.
A Federer return to No.1 would mark the fifth time this season the long-time rivals have switched between the No.1 and No.2 spots. The last time the ATP World Tour’s top ranking changed this many times in a season was in 2003, when Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Andy Roddick all enjoyed stints as No.1.
However, a Federer return to No.1 could be short-lived. As the reigning Halle and Wimbledon champion Federer has 2500 points to defend in his other two scheduled grass events, whereas Nadal has 180 points.
It means this week is Federer’s only chance to reclaim the No.1 position during the grass-court season.
“I think that’s a bit of extra motivation,” Federer said of playing for No.1.
Grass-court season rankings scenario:
|Rank||Player||Points to defend||% of current points|
|4||Juan Martin del Potro||45||0.8%|
|12||Pablo Carreno Busta||0||0%|
|16||Roberto Bautista Agut||270||13%|
One to watch: World No.21 Novak Djokovic has 610 points defend on grass – which equates to 36 per cent of his current ranking total. Early exits on grass could see his ranking verge on falling outside the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2006.
In trouble: Czech Tomas Berdych needs a strong grass-court season to avoid exiting the world’s top 20 for the first time since 2010. The 32-year-old, who was a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2017, earned 49 per cent of his current ranking total during last year’s grass swing. World No.32 Gilles Muller is another player needing to return to form quickly – he is defending 60 per cent of his ranking points in the next five weeks.
Room to move: Nine of the world’s top 20 players are defending two per cent or under of their current ranking totals. This means in-form stars such as Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin del Potro and Diego Schwartzman all have an opportunity to make significant ranking point gains on grass.
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