How Nadal can be prevented from becoming world No 1 by Alcaraz and Ruud – updated heading into semi-finals

The race for the world No 1 ranking in men’s tennis is going down to the wire with Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud keeping their hopes live

Rafael Nadal at the 2022 US Open in New York Rafael Nadal at the 2022 US Open in New York Image Credit: Zuma/ Panoramic

Daniil Medvedev‘s loss to Nick Kyrgios at the US Open on Sunday guaranteed a new world No 1 in men’s tennis next week.

Going into Friday’s semi-finals, three players still remain in the hunt to become world No 1 next week, even though one of them is already out of the US Open.

Rafael Nadal, ranked No 3 in the world this week, was knocked out by American Frances Tiafoe in four sets. The Spaniard needed to reach the final this week in order to lock the top spot from his rivals.

But his loss combined with the progress of Carlos Alcaraz, current world No 4, and Casper Ruud, current world No 7, means that Nadal could leave New York without the top spot despite having won two of the four major titles in 2022.

The maths is simple. The race for the top spot will now resume on Friday when Alcaraz takes on Frances Tiafoe and Ruud takes on Karen Khachanov.

  • Alcaraz and Ruud need to at least reach the final to become No 1
  • If both players reach the final in New York, the winner of the final become world No 1
  • If both of them fail to advance to the final, then Nadal moves to the world No 1 spot

If Alcaraz moves to the top spot, he will become the youngest world No 1 in the history of the ATP Rankings whereas Ruud would become the first Norwegian to top the rankings.

Nadal has spent 209 weeks as world No 1 in the past

If Nadal emerges at the top of the ATP rankings after the US Open, he’ll hold the top spot for the ninth time and begin his 210th week.

Here are the top 10 players on the ATP Tour, in terms of weeks at No 1:

  1. Djokovic 373 weeks
  2. Federer 310 weeks
  3. Sampras 286 weeks
  4. Lendl 270 weeks
  5. Connors 268 weeks
  6. Nadal 209 weeks
  7. McEnroe 170 weeks
  8. Borg 109 weeks
  9. Agassi 101 weeks
  10. Hewitt 80 weeks

Medvedev is currently in his second stint and 16th week at No 1.

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