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Nadal leads ATP’s race for No 1 at US Open

When it comes to the ATP’s No 1 ranking after the US Open, Rafael Nadal is in the driver’s seat.

Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros 2022 Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros 2022 Image Credit: JB Autissier / Panoramic

Rafael Nadal is the odds-on favourite to finish the US Open with the No.1 ranking. The Spaniard, a four-time champion in New York, enters the event with a 35-4 record on the season and four titles. He will have a significant lead over current No.1 Daniil Medvedev as last year’s US Open points drop, due to the fact that he did not compete last year, and therefore has no 2021 points dropping.

Here’s how things will look at the Open after 2021 points drop, in terms of points:

  1. Nadal, 5630 
  2. Zverev, 5040
  3. Medvedev, 4885
  4. Tsitsipas, 4800
  5. Alcaraz, 4740
  6. Ruud, 4550

No matter how Nadal performs at the Open, current No 1 Daniil Medvedev, fifth-ranked Tsitsipas, fourth-ranked Alcaraz and sixth-ranked Ruud will all need to at least reach the US Open final to have an opportunity to leave New York as World No. 1.

Scenarios: chances for Medvedev, Alcaraz

Nadal could also secure No.1 by reaching the quarter-finals if Medvedev and Tsitsipas don’t reach the final and Alcaraz and Ruud don’t win the title; Nadal could reach No.1 by reaching the semi-final if none of the four players win the title; and Nadal would remain No.1 if he loses the final against any player other than Medvedev.

Medvedev could hang on to the top spot by winning the title in New York or by losing in the final, if Nadal doesn’t reach the semis and Alcaraz, Ruud and Tsitsipas don’t reach the final.

Nadal, US Open 2019
Nadal, US Open 2019

If Nadal returns to No.1, it would mark his ninth trip to the top of the ATP rankings, and the first time since February 2nd, 2020 that he has held the top ranking. Nadal has held the ATP’s No 1 ranking for a total of 209 weeks – good for sixth all-time.

Nadal, 36 (and nearly three months) cannot become the oldest No.1 at this time, but if he hangs onto the top ranking for the rest of the season he can break Novak Djokovic’s record for oldest year-end No.1. Nadal has finished a season No.1 five times thus far, compared to seven for Djokovic.

Federer, (36 years, 10 months), is the oldest No.1 in ATP history; Djokovic is the oldest year-end No. 1 (34 years, 7 months).

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