Novak Djokovic facing new rankings hammer blow ahead of French Open
After so many years of dominant champions at the top of the game, the tennis landscape is changing rapidly and now Novak Djokovic could be set to face a fresh fall from grace.
Confirmation that Rafael Nadal has lost his race to recover in time to play at the French Open came on Thursday, as he admitted he does not know when he will return to action and plans to retire in 2024.
While Djokovic is not thinking about the end of his career yet, there are signs that age is starting to catch up with the 22-time Grand Slam champion.
An elbow problem forced the Serb to skip the Madrid Open tournament earlier this month and he suffered a surprise early exit at the Italian Open as he lost to Holger Rune.
Djokovic is still a strong contender to for the French Open, which will get underway in Paris at the end of this month.
Yet he heads into the tournament as the second favorite in the betting behind soon-to-be world No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.
Now Djokovic could be set for a fresh blow as he could be knocked off second spot in the ATP rankings before the second Grand Slam of the year gets underway.
Daniil Medvedev’s improving form on clay courts has seen him close in on second spot in the rankings behind Alcaraz.
He needs to win his semi-final in Rome against Stefanos Tsitsipas and the final to take Djokovic out of second spot in the updated rankings on Monday.
Even if he fails to make that leap in the Italian capital, he will have a chance to gather fresh ranking points at the French Open.
Medvedev was beaten in the last-16 at Roland Garros a year ago, so he will only be defending 180 points in the second Grand Slam of 2023.
If he was to reach the semi-finals or the Final in Paris, he would make further leaps up the ATP rankings list.
That could be significant for seedings heading into Wimbledon, as Djokovic rarely plays a tournament between the French Open and the grass court tournament at the All England Club.
Djokovic will get a chance to gain ranking points at the French Open as he reached the quarter-finals last year before he was beaen by Nadal.
He will also gaining points when he defends his Wimbledon title in July, with the 2,000 he could have collected for his win a year ago denied to him as the ATP stripped the tournament of points due to their decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players in response to the war in Ukraine.
Medvedev’s current form on clay suggests he will perform well at the French Open and with Nadal set to fall out of the top 100 in the ATP rankings after his decision to pull-out of Roland Garros, big chances appear to be coming at the top of the men’s game.
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