At least one tennis expert has expressed support for Novak Djokovic as the ATP decides on whether or not to credit the weeks during the coronavirus-led tennis suspension to the Serb.
According to former tennis player Brad Gilbert, Djokovic should be credited with these weeks he continues to remain the world number one despite the cancellation of tennis tournaments till at least the first week of June because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking to ESPN, Gilbert noted:
“He earned the ranking, and he was going to be No.1 for a while even if things went on as normal. Going into Indian Wells, Djokovic was going to stay No.1 by the end, unless he lost before the semis and Rafa won the tournament.”
Gilbert also said, women’s top-ranked player Ash Barty’s case was no different and she should be credited with those weeks at the top too.
What this means is if the ATP, who froze the rankings, opt not to award these weeks to Djokovic, he will continue to remain at 281 weeks as the world number one. That’s five behind Pete Sampras’ record. And it also implies in order to break Roger Federer’s 311 weeks at the top he will now need to wait till at least the next year.
The ATP – and the WTA – will have to take that call soon following the unprecedented suspension of tennis at every level till at least June 7. With Wimbledon already considering taking a call to cancel this year’s Grand Slam and experts reckoning there could be very little tennis played this year, there might be very little change in the rankings in 2020.
It also means the men’s and women’s tennis bodies have to rethinking how they should un-freeze the rankings when things do get underway given the defence of previous points plays a major role in tennis rankings.