Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, Casper Ruud vie for No 1 spot in rankings as Daniil Medvedev shrugs off drop

Rafael Nadal in action

Three players are in contention to take over as world No 1 following Daniil Medvedev’s US Open exit with Rafael Nadal in the driver’s seat and Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud looking to top the standings for the first time in the careers.

Medvedev became the 27th player to reach No 1 in the ATP Rankings in February this year and he spent a total of 17 weeks at the top, having been briefly replaced by Novak Djokovic from June to July.

However, he will lose top spot after he failed to successfully defend his US Open crown, going down in four sets against Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round.

Although disappointed, Medvedev is not going to lose too much sleep over his drop in the rankings.

“It was not the first thing on my mind walking after the match, saying, ‘Damn, will not be the world No 1 any more,’” he said after the defeat.

“I actually don’t know which place I will be. Probably three or four. I guess Carlos will pass me. I don’t know, actually. But that’s motivation, try to do better.

“Obviously it was the last Slam of the year. Didn’t do well enough. Didn’t win in Australia when I had the chance. Didn’t get the chance to play Wimbledon. Roland Garros, lost fourth round. Here fourth round. Yeah, should do better. Should get more points if I want to be world No 1 again.”

Three-way battle between Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud

Nadal is the provisional world No 1 in the live rankings as he has overtaken Medvedev after reaching the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner, who has spent a total of 209 weeks atop the rankings over the course of his career, doesn’t have any points to defend as he missed last year’s event due to injury.

By reaching the fourth round, Nadal added 180 points to his total and now sits on 5,810 points with Medvedev on 5,065. If Nadal does indeed reclaim top spot, he will do so for the first time since February 2020.

Alexander Zverev is in third spot, but the German is not competing at the season-ending Grand Slam due to injury and he will drop to 5,040 points after the tournament.

Ruud, who lost in the first round last year, is provisionally up to a new career-high of No 4 after reaching the quarter-final at Flushing Meadows for the first time as the Norwegian now sits on 5,010 points.

Then you have Alcaraz, who is currently No 5 in the rankings with a career-high of No 4, on 4,920 points with the young gun having some points to defend as he reached the quarter-final last year.

It is a difficult task for Ruud and Alcaraz as they will need to reach at least the final if they want to pip Nadal to top spot.

Alcaraz faces former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the fourth round in New York on Monday evening while Ruud will take on 13th seed Matteo Berrettini for a place in the last four on Tuesday.