Nadal hurt by Rankings System, Osaka & Federer Gain
The battle to become World #1 is one of the key targets of any top player. Meticulous planning and scheduling to ensure maximum points are won, ensuring players are prepared for the most profitable events. Unfortunately sometimes the rankings system doesn’t quite make sense, and players end up losing out because of it.
In case you don’t know how it works, essentially every event a player plays in, they get rankings points dependent on how far they get, and the tier of tournament. For example, an ATP 500 event gives the winner 500 ranking points, which last for 52 weeks. The rankings update weekly, every Monday.
Onto Nadal. In the Monte Carlo Masters in 2018, Nadal won the event, claiming 1000 ATP ranking points. In the 2019 event, he lost to eventual winner Fabio Fognini in the Semi-finals. For this, he received 360 points. Not the full thousand from last year but better then nothing isn it? Well no actually, because Nadal actually lost 640 points, as his 1000 point from the year before have been removed.
Djokovic on the other hand, did not play in the 2018 Monte Carlo Masters, so received zero points. This year, although getting knocked out a round earlier to Nadal, the quarter finals, he actually gained 180 ranking points. Good news for Djokovic, as he has increased his lead at the top of the ATP leaderboard by 820 points, making him over 3000 points ahead of Nadal.
WTA #1 Naomi Osaka is in the opposite situation. This week she plays the WTA Premier Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. The winner receives 470 points, 305 for the runner up, and 185 for the losing semi finalists. Osaka currently sits 300 points above Kvitova, who is 3rd on the WTA rankings. Neither player competed in this event last year, so if Osaka wins her first match, she will hold that covered number 1 spot. If she loses, Kvitova must win the title to become world number 1.
Regardless of the result in Stuttgart, Osaka is in a prime position for the clay court season. With only 200 points to defend from 2018, the US and Australian Open champion should surely manage that, with almost every tournament providing Osaka an increase in points, whereas Kvitova must defend over 1400 points, whilst Halep, the 2018 Roland Garros champion, has to defend just shy of 3000 points. Unless those two can win a fare few titles, the Japanese world number 1 will be sitting pretty come Wimbledon.
Federer is in a very similar position. Having not played a single clay court match in the 2018 season, the Swiss has 0 points to defend, and having committed to playing the Madrid, Italian and French Open in the coming months, a few wins will help the current world #4 climb back towards that top spot.