Rafael Nadal’s decision to pull out of the Asian leg of the ATP tour has left Novak Djokovic with a realistic chance of ending the year as the top-ranked men’s singles player. Here’s how.
The current world number one withdrew from the Shanghai Masters and China Open following his retirement from his US Open semi-finals against Juan Martin del Potro. And what that implies he will be losing out on defending 1100 points after having won the China Open last year and finished runner-up at the 2017 Shanghai Masters.
Djokovic is currently 2315 points behind Nadal on the ATP World Rankings but having missed the entire second half of 2017 because of fitness concerns, he has no points to defend. And that gap will narrow down to just 1215 following the Shanghai Masters and China Open even without Djokovic winning a match.
A title win in Shanghai for Djokovic will slash that down to just 215 points and with the World Tour Finals still remaining, it could be anybody guess who finishes at the top of the pile.
The one factor one cannot forget, obviously, is the presence of Roger Federer as the second-ranked ATP player. He is 455 points ahead of Djokovic but he had also won the Shanghai Masters last year and anything less than another title points will drop his points tally. In fact, if Djokovic wins the title in Shanghai and Federer fails to make the final, the Serb will leapfrog over the Swiss maestro to the number two spot.
For now, all three, Nadal, Federer and Djokovic are expected to feature at the Paris Masters and the World Tour Finals which should add to the interesting battle for the top spot.
Nadal was a quarter-finals at the Paris Masters last year while both Djokovic and Federer missed the tournament. Similarly Nadal and Djokovic do not have any points to defend at the World Tour Finals while Federer had managed to reach the semi-finals and has 600 points to defend there.
Who do you think will end the year as the number one tennis player in the men’s section?