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How Alexander Zverev can become world No 1 even without playing in Montreal

Zverev has pulled out of the Canadian Open in Montreal but could end becoming world No 1 without hitting a ball since the French Open

Alexander Zverev at Miami in March 2022 Alexander Zverev at Miami in March 2022 Image Credit: AI/ Reuters/ Panoramic

Alexander Zverev has not played a match since retiring from the semi-finals of the French Open. On Thursday, the German pulled out of the National Bank Open in Montreal, which begins on August 7,

But due to the vagaries of the tennis tour this year, the German may find himself at the top of the world rankings on August 15, at the end of the Montreal Masters.

Let’s take a step back and look at some of the contributing factors to this bizarre rankings scenario.

Over the past 12 months, Daniil Medvedev won the US Open title and reached the final of the Australian Open but was not able to play at Wimbledon due to the ban on Russian players.

Rafael Nadal, currently ranked No 3, won the Australian Open and Roland-Garros this year but missed out the last four months of the 2021 season due to injury, missed six weeks of the 2022 clay season due to a rib injury and then was forced to pull out of the Wimbledon quarter-finals due to an abdominal tear.

Novak Djokovic, who was deported from Melbourne and therefore unable to defend his Australian Open title in January, won Wimbledon, which offered no ranking points and reached the final of the US Open in 2021.

As things stand, Djokovic will not be allowed to enter Canada or the United States doe to his unvaccinated status, which means he will drop further down the rankings from his current position of No 7.

How Medvedev can prevent Zverev from taking over the No 1 ranking

This strange combination leaves Zverev with the chance of becoming world No 1 if Medvedev does not fare well in the next two weeks.

Medvedev is playing the ATP Los Cabos Open next week followed by the Canadian Open Masters. The Russian needs to

• reach the final at Los Cabos;

•or the quarter-final at Canadian Open,

•or the semi-final at Los Cabos and the third round in Montreal to retain his No 1 ranking going into the Cincinnati Masters.

Zverev’s best performance at the Majors over the past 12 months has been semi-final appearances at the US Open and French Open, though he did win the season-ending ATP Finals in November.

Even if the German does manage to become No 1, he may not survive at the top for long. He will be defending 1,000 points from winning the Cincinnati Masters in 2021. And given his current injury, it remains a question mark if he will play there or at the US Open.

Either way, it’s going to be interesting to follow the ATP rankings over the next few weeks.

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