How Novak Djokovic can hold on to the World No. 1 spot until Roland Garros
Novak Djokovic’s dream of winning his first title of the 2022 season in front of his home fans was not meant to be, as the World No. 1 finished second-best to Andrey Rublev at the Serbia Open.
Despite that, the Serb held on to the top spot, mainly thanks to Daniil Medvedev remaining on the sidelines with no return date in sight. The Russian is currently recovering from a hernia surgery and is out of the Madrid Masters, while it is not clear whether he will be back for the Rome Masters before the French Open.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion has therefore begun his 367th week as the top-ranked ATP player, and is guaranteed a 368th week too in the midst of the ATP 1000 event in Madrid (May 1-8). But from there on, things get a little tricky.
As things stand at the moment, the 34-year-old has 8400 ranking points to his name, while Medvedev has 8080. The former is defending 500 points in Madrid thanks to his title run in 2019. The latter, meanwhile, has only 90 points to lose, courtesy of reaching the third round last year.
Once the points are subtracted, the World No. 1 ends up with 7900 points, while the reigning US Open champion will have 7990 points. With Daniil Medvedev not playing, however, Djokovic can retain the top spot by winning just one match.
As the top seed, the 20-time Grand Slam champion will receive a bye in the first round. A win in his opener will take him into the Round of 16, thereby assuring him 90 points. The duo will then be tied at 7990 points each, but thankfully, the ATP rules give the Serb the upper hand.
Excerpt from 2022 ATP rule book regarding points tie
According to the official rulebook, a tie in the ranking points will be decided by whichever player has the most points from “Big titles” – Grand Slams, Masters 1000s (except Monte-Carlo since it is not mandatory) and the Year-end Championship. In that category, Novak Djokovic has a comfortable lead — 7900 points vs Medvedev’s 7115.
At the Rome Masters, Novak Djokovic is defending 600 ranking points compared to Daniil Medvedev’s 10
Novak Djokovic has to defend 600 points in Rome from reaching the final last year
Even if Daniil Medvedev doesn’t compete at the Rome Masters, Novak Djokovic has a huge task at hand. The Russian is defending only 10 points in the event, having lost in the second round of the 2021 edition.
But the Serb progressed as far as the final last year, meaning that he has 600 points at stake in Rome. While Medvedev will be at 7980 points post-Madrid, the World No. 1 will have 7300 points plus whatever he hauls in from Madrid.
To simplify things further, if the 20-time Grand Slam champion reaches only the third round (90 points) or quarterfinals (180 points) at the Madrid Masters, he will need to reach the final (600 points) in Rome to hold on to the top position.
If Djokovic reaches the semifinals in the former (360 points), he can get away with it by reaching the semifinals in Rome too. Alternatively, a title triumph at any one of the two tournaments (1000 points) will be enough for the 34-year-old to hold off the reigning US Open champion from reclaiming the top spot ahead of Roland Garros.