Daniil Medvedev, Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud battle for No 1 spot at US Open

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev face off

It is not only the US Open trophy that is on the line at Flushing Meadows this year, but five players will also be competing for the No 1 spot in the ATP Rankings.

Defending champion Flushing Meadows Daniil Medvedev is currently the man in the driver’s seat as he sits top of the rankings, but he could be usurped by Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas or Casper Ruud after Flushing Meadows.

Current ATP Rankings

1. Daniil Medvedev 6,885
2. Alexander Zverev 5,760
3. Rafael Nadal 5,630
4. Carlos Alcaraz 5,190
5. Stefanos Tsitsipas 4,890
6. Novak Djokovic 4,770
7. Casper Ruud 4,695

Medvedev will start the final Grand Slam of the year as the world No 1, but the 2021 US Open points will come off the rankings next Monday (August 29), which means the 26-year-old will drop 2,000 points and move to 4,885 points.

Zverev is out injured and unable to play at Flushing Meadows, but he will also drop points as he reached the semi-final last year while last year’s finalist Novak Djokovic is also set to miss the tournament due to his unvaccinated status.

It means Nadal will move to the top next week as the Spaniard doesn’t have any points to defend after he missed the 2021 edition due to a foot injury. He will return to the top for the first time since February 2020.

Projected Rankings on August 29

1. Rafael Nadal 5,630
2. Alexander Zverev 5,040
3. Daniil Medvedev 4,885
4. Stefanos Tsitsipas 4,800
5. Carlos Alcaraz 4,740
6. Casper Ruud 4,650

With no points to defend at Flushing Meadows, Nadal will then become the man in the driver’s seat as the Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Alcaraz and Ruud will need to reach the US Open final to push him out of top spot come the end of the tournament.

Medvedev has had mixed run on the North American hard-court swing so far as he won the Los Cabos Open, lost in the second round of the Canadian Open and reached the semi-final of the Western & Southern Open.

Tsitsipas, meanwhile, also lost early in Montreal and finished runner-up in Cincinnati on Sunday while the Greek is yet to make it past the third round of the US Open.

Alcaraz has a chance to break the record of Lleyton Hewitt as the youngest world No 1 as the Australian was 20 when he reached top spot in November 2001. The 19-year-old Spaniard reached the quarter-final on his main draw debut last year and reached the quarter-final of the Western & Southern Open.

French Open runner-up Ruud’s best display at Flushing Meadows is a third-round appearance in 2020 while he made it to the semi-final of the Canadian Open before losing his opener in Montreal.