ATP Rankings Update: The Big 3 are the most benefited

BELGRADE, SERBIA - JUNE 13: Novak Djokovic returns on June 13, during the 2nd day of Summer Adria Tour, 2020 in Belgrade, Serbia. (Photo by Nikola Krstic/MB Media/Getty Images)
BELGRADE, SERBIA - JUNE 13: Novak Djokovic returns on June 13, during the 2nd day of Summer Adria Tour, 2020 in Belgrade, Serbia. (Photo by Nikola Krstic/MB Media/Getty Images) /

The ATP has yesterday announced how the revised ATP rankings will be calculated on the resumption of the tour.

Here’s what the revised plan will be for the ATP moving forward:

  • The Rankings will be updated on Monday after the first week of the competition once the tour resumes. The first scheduled tournament is the Citi Open at Washington starting on 14th August. Hence, Novak Djokovic’s 283rd week as World No 1 will start on the 24th of August 2020.
  • For the remainder of 2020, no player can “drop” any points. They will only earn points if their result in a tournament is better than their 2019 result in the same tournament. So, for example, if Rafael Nadal makes the final in the Madrid Open(in which he has now confirmed his participation), his 2019 points will drop and his new result(final/win) will be taken.
  • The ATP rankings run on 9th November(after the Paris  Masters) will be used for qualification for the Nitto ATP Finals.
  • The ATP rankings on 14 September 2020 will serve as the first entry deadline for the ATP Cup in 2021. The rankings on 16 November will serve as the second entry deadline.

Full details of all the changes in the rankings can be found on the ATP website.

The new system of rankings appears to be fair to all parties concerned. As recent events have shown, it’s not safe to play with crowds and players might be dissuaded by that. There might be a few players who prefer not to play this season due to the ongoing pandemic and it’s only fair that they don’t get penalized for prioritizing their health. This system ensures that.

The system also ensures that a player who performs better this year than they did last year, also gets to earn points, and hence they are adequately rewarded. The 22-month ranking system is the right system in these troubling times.

Who are the Biggest Winners in the Rankings update?

Undoubtedly the biggest winners are the Big 3. Rafael Nadal doesn’t have to defend his points won in 2019 at the US Open. So if he wants to maximize his chances in the French Open, he can afford to skip it without dropping any points.

Novak Djokovic, on the other hand, only needs to improve his 4th Round performance in the US Open to extend his lead over Rafael Nadal. By my calculations, a semifinal showing in the US Open might be enough to guarantee that Djokovic remains ahead of Nadal irrespective of the latter’s performances in other tournaments.

Roger Federer, on the other hand, would be the happiest of the lot. He will not drop out of the top 5 unless Stefanos Tsitispas or Alexander Zverev put together an insane run of some sort at a major. Daniil Medvedev has also benefitted from this with him keeping his points haul from last year during the US Open swing.

If we drop the points from the 2019 Nitto ATP finals, then Novak Djokovic has 10,020 points guaranteed, about 600 points more than Nadal’s 9,450. The scope for Nadal to improve is very small(Madrid Masters being the only tournament he can improve in, as of now assuming he doesn’t play Cincinnati Masters) while Djokovic can further build that gap with better performances in US Open and the French Open.

Next. The most important points from tennis' 2020 return plan. dark

Given that Rafael Nadal has reportedly been hesitant to play in the US Open and Novak Djokovic’s record in the US Open isn’t his best, there’s a good possibility that a new winner will emerge at this year’s US Open.