Nick Kyrgios joins the debate over the ‘real’ world rankings

Kevin Palmer
Nick Kyrgios in action
Nick Kyrgios

The ATP rankings have been the subject of intense debate over the course of 2022 and now Nick Kyrgios has joined the debate.

Novak Djokovic has been named as the world No 1 in the latest ranking list produced by Universal Tennis, with their list firing up a big debate after it was released.

The presence of Wimbledon runner-up Kyrgios in second place on the rankings was somewhat more controversial, with ATP world No 1 Carlos Alcaraz down in seventh place on the UTR ranking.

That list inspired the always outspoken Kyrgios to join the debate over his true ranking in the game, with the Australian down in 22nd place in the current ATP list.

He has played in fewer events than many of his rivals, but it was clear that he was in agreement with the URT rankings as he posted this response to the UTR this tweet.

I’VE SAID IT BEFORE. THE CURRENT RANKING SYSTEM IS BASED ON CONSISTENCY & HOW MUCH YOU PLAY. NOT SKILL & FORM,” wrote Kyrgios, with his tweet all in capital letters.

That message from Kyrgios sparked plenty of debate on social media channels, with Andy Murray’s former coach and respected tennis pundit and coach Mark Petchey offering this response.

“So Nick went 3-3 vs Top 5 and 3-2 vs players 6-10 also 2-4 vs players 11-20 Rafa went 5-0 vs top 5 and 3-3 vs players 6-10 also 5-2 vs players 11-20 Take away the titles Rafa won. How is this possible?” he asked.

“Novak is No.1 on the list. Unless I am mistaken that makes him the best player based on the UTR.

“I wasn’t planning to argue that as it seemed justified but if you feel I should, I can go digging. But I was of the opinion that wasn’t wrong. Nick being ahead of Rafa seemed strange.”

The rankings list has been impacted in 2022 by Djokovic’s absence from two of the four Grand Slam events due to his being blocked from travel into countries requiring a Covid vaccine.

Russian and Belarussian players also took a rankings hit when they were banned from all events in the UK last summer in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

All players at Wimbledon were also affected by the decision of the ATP and WTA to take ranking points away from the event at the All England Club in protest at the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players.

Last week, The Lawn Tennis Association was been fined one million US dollars (£820,000) by the ATP for its ban on Russian and Belarusian players.

It is also understood that the LTA has been threatened with expulsion from the Tour if it repeats the ban, imposed earlier this year due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Russians and Belarusians were controversially prevented from competing at the LTA’s five ATP events; Queen’s Club, Eastbourne, Surbiton, Nottingham and Ilkley.

The All England Club also banned them from playing at Wimbledon, which was subsequently stripped of its ranking points by the ATP and the WTA.

The WTA had also issued a one million US dollar fine (750,000 dollars to the LTA and 250,000 dollars to the AELTC) which Britain’s governing body of tennis has appealed against.

The LTA said it is considering its response to the latest sanction and accused the ATP of a “lack of empathy” over the situation in Ukraine.

A statement read: “The LTA is deeply disappointed with this outcome. The ATP, in its finding, has shown no recognition of the exceptional circumstances created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, or the international sporting community and UK Government’s response to that invasion.

“The ATP appear to regard this matter as a straightforward breach of their rules – with a surprising lack of empathy shown for the situation in Ukraine, and a clear lack of understanding of the unique circumstances the LTA faced.

“The financial impact of both this fine and the WTA’s fine will have a material impact on the LTA’s ability to develop and host tennis in this country.

“For example, we had intended to host a number of ATP Challenger level events to give more opportunities to lower ranked players in the first quarter of 2023 and will now not be able to do this, particularly given the possibility of further fines.

“We will carefully consider our response and we await the outcome of our appeal against the WTA’s decision and sanction.”