Rafael Nadal is in the driver’s seat, Roger Federer is in the passenger seat while Novak Djokovic is currently in the backseat.
However, Nadal won’t even be in the car for next week’s Shanghai Masters, Federer was the master last year so he has a lot to lose and Djokovic is the man lurking.
The year-end No 1 ranking will be a hotly contested affair over the next few weeks.
Here are the standings ahead of the Shanghai Masters:
1. Rafael Nadal 8760
2. Roger Federer 6900
3. Novak Djokovic 6445
The current world No 1 has already confirmed he won’t play in the China event due to injury so he will lose the 600 points he picked up last year after finishing runner-up to Federer.
The only other points he has to defend for the remainder of the year are 180 from the Paris Masters as he didn’t pick up any points at last year’s ATP Tour Finals after withdrawing on the back of his loss against David Goffin.
He has tentatively pencilled in Paris as his comeback date and, if he comes through unscathed, then he is likely to feature at the year-end Finals in London where a maximum of 1500 points are on offer.
Let’s not forget that he also lost 500 points after opting not to defend his crown in Beijing.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner is the man who has the most to lose as he has the 1000 points to defend in Shanghai, 500 at the Swiss Indoors while he also picked up 600 points in London last year.
His schedule will be the same as last year as he is again expected to skip the Paris Masters.
The Serb is not only the in-form player, but also the man on the charge and should be the favourite to finish the year as the No 1 ranked player.
He doesn’t have any points to defend as he missed the backend of the 2017 season due to injury.
Having won Wimbledon and the US Open to take his Grand Slam tally to 14, he is close to playing his best tennis again and will feature in Shanghai, Paris and the ATP Tour Finals.
He is “only” 2315 points adrift of Nadal, but it’s effectively 1715 when you take into account the 600 points the Spaniard will lose in Shanghai.
Winning one of the two remaining Masters titles and a good run in the other and he could be in the lead by the time the Finals start in London, especially if Nadal’s knee doesn’t hold up.
All things considered, you expect Djokovic to finish the year as the No 1 player simply because he is the form player and has no points to defend from here on in.
Nadal is likely to finish second with Federer third.
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