While Novak Djokovic remains the favourite to finish 2019 as the top-ranked men’s player on the ATP Rankings, Roger Federer begins the season at 12/1 to snatch that spot.
10Bet have pegged Federer at those long odds behind Novak Djokovic (1/2), Rafael Nadal (7/2) and Alexander Zverev (12/1) to finish the year as number one.
And it should come as no surprise that Federer is long odds to do that given how things have gone in recent times. Sure, the Swiss maestro proved to his critics he can never be written off by coming back strongly and winning three Grand Slam titles since the start of 2017 but finishing at the top of the rankings needs more than just a Grand Slam victory.
For one, Federer, who is in the twilight of his career, has reduced the number of tournaments he’s playing. There are still question-marks over his participation at the French Open – although some reckon he would – and if he doesn’t feature there, he might even give the entire clay court season a miss.
What that would imply is Federer would need to up his performances at the other Grand Slams and Masters events. He will need to better or at the very least, emulate his showing from 2017 where he won one Grand Slam title and was a runner-up at two Masters 1000 competitions.
Mind you, even after doing that and despite Rafael Nadal’s fitness concerns that saw him miss many a tournaments, Federer ended the year as the third-ranked player behind Novak Djokovic and the Spaniard.
Secondly, the resurgence of Djokovic will be a big obstacle in Federer’s quest to finish the year as the number one.
Here’s a damning stat. Since the emergence of Djokovic as one of the Fab Four, in 2008, Federer has finished the year at the top of the rankings only once and that was in 2009. In the nine years since then, Djokovic has clinched that pride of position five times, Nadal’s been the year-ending number one on three different occasion while Andy Murray finished it once.
Federer has come close obviously, finishing second in 2010, and third in 2018 but with the likes of Djokovic and Nadal, if fully fit, around, the job becomes that much tougher.
There’s one other aspect.
This could be the year that sees the younger brigade take over. Alexander Zverev’s ATP Finals victory and his year-ending number four ranking has given enough indicators and if he can prove that the previous season was no flash in the pan, there’s every chance he would be threatening for that top spot as well.
In short, it should come as no surprise why Federer is such long odds to end the next season as the top-ranked player in the men’s tennis but if he does that, it would make it even more special given the hurdles he would have to overcome.