Daniil Medvedev would be heading into the clay court season with more than just titles on his radar. Medvedev, who hasn’t had the best of records on clay court will be starting his campaign in Madrid today and a positive showing here in Madrid and later in Rome would make the Russian inch closer to the absolute pinnacle of ATP rankings.
Andy Roddick was the last man outside the Big Four to hold the numero uno spot, all the way back in November 2004. And while Medvedev was down and out with covid 19 ahead of the Monte Carlo open, he has lately been in the form of his life and a continuous upward trajectory, which culminated in him ousting Rafa from top 2.
And while Rafa, regained the number 2 spot courtesy of an impeccable title win in Barelona,the gap at the top remains pretty slim.
The commotion at the top-
Daniil Medvedev has relatively few points to defend in the coming weeks. The Russian will drop a combined 15 points in Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros compared to 1,600 for Djokovic and 2,090 for Nadal.
Djokovic is not in action this week in Madrid, but he will keep 500 points (50% of the points from his 2019 title) due to the current “best of” FedEx ATP Ranking formula, which has been recalibrated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The Serbian is guaranteed to keep at least 500 points in Rome, where he won the title last year. He is still plenty motivated to keep his top spot, which he has held for a record 319 weeks.
“In order to stay at the top-ranking spot, you have to keep playing and not just keep playing, but keep making successful runs at most of your events in order to have a chance,” Djokovic said. “Being at No. 1 is also a huge responsibility, but you feel that rear window pressure from Daniil at this point or Rafa or whoever it is. There’s always somebody. The challengers want to get there. They want to challenge you, they want to push you.
“I think the more they push me, the more I have the motivation to work even harder to stay there.”
Nadal at a minimum will hold onto 180 points in Madrid (50% of the points from his 2019 semi-final) and 90 points in Rome (50% of his 2020 quarter-final). Since Daniil has not won a match at those events, he will only drop five points from each (50% from opening-match exits).
Daniil Medvedev’s greatest dream?
The Russian admits it would feel “amazing” if he’s able to battle his way to World No. 1.
“It’s one of the goals of the career. When you go from the juniors to professionals, you want to get in the Top 1,000, then you want to get in the Top 500, and [those are] small goals. Now I’ve reached almost every place except the No. 1 [spot], so it’s going to definitely mean a lot [if I get there],” Medvedev said.