Daniil Medvedev closing in on career milestone as he returns to action this week

ATP Tour
Daniil Medvedev ATP Finals champion

Daniil Medvedev will become the first player outside the ‘Big Four’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray to claim a top-two spot in the ATP Ranking since July 2005 if he reaches the final in the ATP 500 event in Rotterdam this week.

The in-form Russian has been emerging as the biggest threat to world No 1 Novak Djokovic over the last six months, with a string of tournament wins at the back end of 2020 including success in the ATP Finals in London.

Even though he was no match for the Serbian in last month’s Australian Open final, Medvedev is closing in on a significant leap in the ATP rankings that could shake up the game over the course of this year.

Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have been in separate half of the draws for Grand Slam events when they have held the world No.1 and No.2 rankings, but all that could change if  Medvedev breaks the stranglehold of the men who have dominated the game for a decade and more.

Medvedev will begin his campaign in Rotterdam against Dusan Lajovic, and may face Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals, before meeting Alexander Zverev or Roberto Bautista Agut in the semi-finals with world No.2 ranking on the line.

If Medvedev makes the final, he will add 300 ATP Ranking points to his total, which would replace the 90 points the 25-year-old earned in Vienna last year. The net gain of 210 points would propel the Russian ahead of Nadal, who currently leads him by 115 points.

Lleyton Hewitt was the last player to hold one of the top two positions in the ATP rankings other than Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray, with the Aussie in that position almost 16 years ago.

The Rotterdam tournament is loaded with high-quality players this week, with Medvedev joined by Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Gael Monfils, Roberto Bautista Agut, Milos Raonic, David Goffin, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Stan Wawrinka, Karen Khachanov and Andy Murray for a star-studded tournament.

Rafael Nadal was also due to take part, but he pulled out of the tournament last week with a back problem.

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