Rankings Update: Djokovic & Nadal Pulling Away From The Pack
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal meet in the final of a Grand Slam for the eighth time on Sunday (Nadal leads 4-3), with the Australian Open title on the line for the winner. But regardless of who emerges from Rod Laver Arena as the champion, the top two seeds will pull away from the pack on Monday when the new ATP Rankings are released.
Since Djokovic was ousted in the fourth round by Hyeon Chung and Nadal retired in the fifth set of his quarter-final against Marin Cilic in 2018, both players had ATP Ranking points to gain with a deep run in Melbourne this year. They have taken full advantage by battling to the championship match. Djokovic will remain World No. 1 on 28 January, and Nadal will stay at No. 2. But even if Nadal loses to Djokovic, the 17-time major champion will be 1,845 points ahead of World No. 3 Zverev.
The winner of the Australian Open receives 2,000 points, and the runner-up adds 1,200 to his tally. So if Nadal claims his second trophy in Melbourne (also 2009), he will have 9,120 points on Monday, placing him a whopping 2,645 points ahead of Zverev.
If Djokovic wins, not only will he and Nadal have a significant gap ahead of the field, but the Serbian will strengthen his advantage over Nadal. A record-breaking seventh Norman Brookes Challenge Cup for Djokovic will give him 10,955 points, which would mean a 2,635-point cushion over Nadal, who would have 8,320 points.
Djokovic & Nadal's ATP Ranking Points On 28 January, Pending Australian Open Final
What is even more important about that is Djokovic’s relative lack of points to defend in the coming months. The World No. 1 lost in the first round at Indian Wells and Miami — the first two ATP Masters 1000 events of the year — last season, giving him just 20 points. So any matches he wins at those two events will be a bonus.
Since Nadal did not compete at those prestigious tournaments last year, the Spaniard has zero points to defend there. That will give the left-handed 32-year-old a chance to add more of a cushion to his lead ahead of the rest of the ATP Tour before the clay-court season.
Nadal earned a 24-1 record with four titles from five European clay events in 2018, so he will have to defend 4,860 points during that stretch. Djokovic, on the other hand, only has 855 points to defend across those same five tournaments.
After that World No. 3 Zverev (6,475 points), No. 4 Juan Martin del Potro (5,060) — who is set to return from injury at the Delray Beach Open — and No. 5 Kevin Anderson (4,845) will fill out the Top 5. Six-time champion Roger Federer began the fortnight at World No. 3, but his fourth-round loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas coupled with the 2,000 points he was defending as last year’s titlist, will see the Swiss drop to No. 6.
The other Top 10 player set for a significant drop is Marin Cilic, who will fall to No. 10. The Croat, who was defending 1,200 points after reaching the 2018 final, lost to Roberto Bautista Agut in the fourth round.