Novak Djokovic has a new rival for No 1 spot according to UTR rankings

Novak Djokovic during a match

The world tennis rankings have been thrown into chaos over the last couple of years and the latest rankings from Universal Tennis suggest the current ATP list is not identifying the game’s top players.

Djokovic slipped down the rankings in 2022, as he missed key events due to his Covid vaccine status blocking him from entering key tournaments.

The Serbian missed the Australian Open and US Open and he was also absent from all the ATP 1000 events in North America in 2022.

That problem looks set to haunt him once again as he is set to miss the upcoming Indian Wells and Miami ATP events as he is still blocked from entering America due to their vaccine mandate for overseas visitors.

His absence will give his rivals a chance to overhaul him at the top of the world rankings, with Universal Tennis using a slightly different method to evaluate who are the current top ten players in the men’s game.

Djokovic’s nearest challenger in the ATP rankings list is a former world No 1 and US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz, with Greece’s Stefanos Tistsipas in third spot, Norway’s Casper Ruud in fourth and America’s Taylor Fritz breaking into the top five this week.

Yet the UTR rankings suggest Russian Daniil Medvedev is the second best player in the men’s game right now, after his win against Andy Murray in the final of the Qatar Open last week.

Danish teenager Holger Rune is next on their list after he beat Djokovic in the final of the Paris Masters last November.

Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime is in fourth place in the UTR list with Australian maverick Nick Kyrgios in fifth place.

Medvedev was denied the chance to claim ranking points at Wimbledon last summer as Russian players were banned, with all players ultimately blocked from collecting points at the English grass court event last July.

The decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players inspired the ATP to strip Wimbledon of their ranking points, with champions Djokovic losing 2,000 points and Kyrgios missing out on 1,200 after his run to the final.

With Russian and Belarusian players expected to be permitted to play at Wimbledon this summer, the official ATP rankings are set for huge shake-ups in the coming months as the Grand Slam points for that event will be back in the mix in 2023.

Djokovic is currently in the midst of his 378th week at the top of men’s world rankings after he overtook the record that had been held by Steffi Graf for the most weeks at No 1 by any tennis player.

“I still want more achievements,” Djokovic told reporters in Dubai.

“I’m driven by the goals. I’m as dedicated to the sport really as anybody else.

“Of course, it’s surreal in a way to be that many weeks world number one, to match Steffi Graf, who is one of the all-time greats of our sport, both men and women. Just being amongst these legendary names is flattering. I’m very proud of it.”