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ATP Rankings freeze: Novak Djokovic remains top, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer earn boost

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Novak Djokovic reacts

The ATP has confirmed the rankings will remain unchanged during the suspension period.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have received major boosts following the decision by the ATP to freeze the rankings. On Wednesday, the ATP and WTA combined to announce the tours would be suspended until June 8 due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

In tennis, the outbreak has led to the cancellation of the entire clay-court season but the French Open has been rescheduled for September.

The hope is that tennis will resume for the grass-court season and the rest of the summer.

Novak Djokovic

In the meantime, players are unable to defend the points they won in 2019.

To ease the impact of players, the rankings have been frozen for tournament entry purposes, meaning there will be no changes for the foreseeable future.

Last year, Nadal racked up 4,260 points during the European clay-court season including 2,000 at the French Open.

But the Spaniard will keep hold of those points and a good campaign on the grass could see him take Djokovic’s No 1 ranking.

Earlier this month, Dominic Thiem moved above Roger Federer in the rankings to a career-high No 3.

Following his knee surgery in February, Federer was projected to drop down the rankings had Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev put together a strong run of results.

However, Federer will now stay in fourth despite not playing since January.

Roger Federer and Djokovic

And if Federer regains full fitness and plays the grass-court season, he will likely guarantee himself a crucial top-four seeding for Wimbledon.

June 8 is also the scheduled cut-off date for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics meaning the rankings as they currently are will be the seedings for the Summer Games.

The International Olympic Committee is determined to stage the event but have come under mounting criticism over their steadfast attitude.

And speaking on Thursday, IAAF president Lord Coe urged caution over the prospect of a one-year postponement.

He said: “It seems on the surface an easy proposition but athletics has its worlds on that date, the Euros in football have been moved back a year.

Novak Djokovic and mic

“The sporting calendar is a complicated matrix and it is not easy to move from one year to the next. It would be ridiculous to say anything is ruled out at the moment. The whole world wants clarity; we’re no different from any other sector.

“In athletics, we’ve postponed three Diamond League meetings but not all, because we don’t have to make that decision. Everybody accepts this is a fast-moving environment. I need to be careful I’m not removing the earning potential from athletes any more than I need to at this moment.”

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: A BREAKDOWN OF WORLD NO. 1’S BEST STARTS TO A SEASON
Novak Djokovic confirmed

The Serb made an incredible 41-0 start to 2011, winning his first seven tournaments of the year at the Australian Open, Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, Belgrade, Madrid and Rome.

The season is currently on hold for at least two and a half months due to the coronavirus pandemic, but before the tours announced their suspensions last week, there were two full months of play in 2020. One player in particular was putting together one of the greatest starts to a season, ever.

Novak Djokovic was a flawless 18-0 in January and February, going 6-0 during Serbia’s triumph at the inaugural ATP Cup, 7-0 en route to his 17th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open and 5-0 to win Dubai—a 500-level event, for the fifth time.

Novak Djokovic and Stephanos

After beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Dubai final, the world No. 1 was asked about his goals for 2020.

“One of the targets is to go unbeaten the whole season—no, I’m kidding,” he said, laughing.

“I’m not kidding, actually,” he added, laughing again.

He elaborated on the topic in the press room.

Novak Djokovic dubai 2020

“Of course I’m trying to embrace the moment and appreciate where I am,” the Serbian said. “I think this has been one of the best starts of all seasons I’ve had in my career. I feel great on the court. I’ve been playing great tennis on the hard courts. That is my most successful and preferred surface.

“I’ve won many matches in a row now. I’ll try to keep that run going,” he added. “It’s just way too early to speak about how long that run might go, the calculations. I try to focus on what I need to do with myself and my team in order to thrive every day, in order to try to play as best as I can every single match.”

Novak Djokovic looked up

DJOKOVIC’S BEST UNBEATEN STARTS TO A SEASON (10-0 OR BETTER):

2011 — 41-0 (first loss: Roger Federer in French Open SFs)

2020 — 18-0 (streak still active)

2013 — 17-0 (first loss: Juan Martin del Potro in Indian Wells SFs)

2016 — 14-0 (first loss: Feliciano Lopez in Dubai QFs—by retirement)

2012 — 10-0 (first loss: Andy Murray in Dubai SFs)

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic holds

Djokovic still has a long way to go to equal his best-ever start to a season. He made an incredible 41-0 start to 2011, winning his first seven tournaments of the year (Melbourne, Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, Belgrade, Madrid and Rome). He then made it to the semifinals of Roland Garros before ultimately falling to Roger Federer—the Swiss in turn lost to Rafael Nadal in the final.

The 2011 season had been the best start to a season since John McEnroe won 42 matches in a row to start 1984. The loss at the French Open would turn out to be Djokovic’s only loss at a major the entire year—he went on to win both Wimbledon and the US Open, finishing 2011 with a 70-6 record.

Novak Djokovic raise trophy

“It was disappointing for me to lose my first match of the year in the semifinals of Roland Garros in probably the most important match of the year, but it had to come sometime,” he said a few weeks later at Wimbledon. “When the streak ended it was kind of a relief as well, because it was a very, very successful five, six months for me, but very long as well, and exhausting. I played so many matches.

“But I needed some time to relax, and to become mentally really fresh to have more success.”

As of right now, the season won’t resume until at least June 8, with the entire spring clay-court season cancelled and Roland Garros moved to September-October.

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