Novak Djokovic could face DOUBLE rankings dip ahead of French Open
Novak Djokovic will be dethroned as world No 1 by Carlos Alcaraz after the Italian Open, but his slide down the ATP rankings may not stop there.
Djokovic is preparing to return to action after he pulled out of the Madrid Open with an elbow problem that he is set to test out when he started the defence of his Italian Open title in Rome.
The Serbian is already certain to be knocked off the top of the ATP rankings by the winning machine that is Alcaraz, who won in Madrid last week as he backed up his victory in the Barcelona Open earlier this month.
With Alcaraz collecting ranking points at a rapid rate, he will head into the French Open as the top seed and the favourite to lift the title with the odds makers.
Djokovic will have something to say about that if he can get himself fully fit to press for his 23rd Grand Slam title in Paris, yet he may have another slide in the ATP rankings to contemplate by then.
That’s because Daniil Medvedev is eyeing up second spot in the rankings as he aims to continue his improvement on clay courts.
The Russian star openly admits he does not relish the challenge of playing on the red clay, but he has started to find his feet on the surface after some encouraging wins at the Monte-Carlo Masters was backed up by a run to the last-16 in Madrid.
As Medvedev didn’t play in Rome last year, he has no ranking point to defend and can eat into the advantage has over him if he can piece together a view victories in the Italian capital.
Alcaraz could be almost 2000 ranking points ahead of Djokovic if he win the Italian Open, while Medvedev could also overtake the Serbian as he is 445 points behind him in the provisional rankings.
As Djokovic cannot add to his tally in this upcoming event as he is defending the 1000 haul he claimed by winning in Rome a year ago, he is vulnerable to losing his position in the top two of the ATP rankings.
He will hope to make progress in this tournament and fend off the threat of Medvedev overtaking him, but the potential is there for a further change at the top of the ATP rankings if injury affects him or he suffers an early defeat.
Djokovic slipping down to No 3 in the ATP rankings could have an impact on the outcome of future major championships, as it may mean Alcaraz and Djokovic are in the same half of the draw and could meet prior to the final.
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal is another player with a sliding ranking and he could be a last-16 opponent for Alcaraz or Djokovic at the French Open,
The 14-time Roland Garros champion has seen his provisional ranking slip to 14 as he is again missing the Rome event due to an ongoing injury problems that is putting his participation in his favourite Grand Slam event in jeopardy.
Meanwhile, Djokovic has learned his fate after the draw for the Italian Open was made and he has been handed a tough challenge.
Djokovic is the top seed and defending champion and he will face either the man who took him to three sets in Banja Luka, Luca Van Assche, or clay court master Tomas Martin Etcheverry.
The reigning world No 1 is seeded to face Grigor Dimitrov in the Round of 32 with the Bulgarian needing to get beyond either Stan Wawrinka or a qualifier to reach that stage.
Alcaraz could face a test from compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas in his first match, with Britain’s Dan Evans a possible opponent once more after the duo met in Barcelona earlier this month.
All 32 seeds enjoy a bye into the second round, but there are still some compelling early match-ups.
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