Saturday, July 2, 2011

ATP Tennis Rankings Explained: Why Djokovich Has Overtaken Nadal

Novak Djokovic has overtaken Rafael Nadal in the ATP Rankings that are set to come out on Monday.  This has been a bit of a confusing subject matter to some, as the rankings don't lend themselves to easy understanding always.  Here are some key things to understand about the ranking system:
  • Points are allotted every time a player wins a match round in most ATP-recognized tournaments. These include the four Major Grand Slams, the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (series of tournaments held around Europe, North America, and Asia), the ATP World Tour 500 (another series of tournaments held around the world), the ATP World Tour Finals (tournament held at end of the year involving just the top 8 ranked players at that time), and certain other ATP 250 tournaments.  The Davis Cup doesn't count, which is why you haven't seen a player like Roger Federer play in that competition.
  • Point Totals are given for every round that is reached (for simplicity, only points awarded for quarter-final appearances and above are noted):
    • Grand Slam: 2000 (W), 1200 (F), 720 (S), 360 (QF)
    • ATP World Tour 1000: 1000 (W), 600 (F), 360 (S), 180 (QF)
    • ATP World Tour 500: 500 (W), 300 (F), 180 (S), 90 (QF)
  • Points are accumulated in a rotating 52 week schedule; This is why Djokovich is about to overtake Nadal; Last year's Wimbledon results, as of Monday's rankings, will be taken off of each player's ATP points total
  • Prior to the start of Wimbledon, Nadal had 12,070 points for the previous 52 weeks, and Djokovich had 12,005.  Last year at Wimbledon, Nadal received 2,000 points for his win, and Djokovich received 720 for his semi-finals appearance.
  • Taking away last year's Wimbledon results gives Nadal 10,070 points and Djokovich 11,280.  Even if Nadal wins Wimbledon tomorrow, and he garners the 2000 points the winner receives, Djokovich's 1200 points for his Finals appearance keeps him on top:
    • Djokovich: 13,280 points
    • Nadal: 12,070 points
  • The reason for Djokovich's rise to the #1 ranking lies in his remarkable performance over the first half of 2011.  He won all four ATP World Tour Masters 1000 championships this year, and defeated Nadal in the Finals each time.  He also won the 2011 Australian Open when Nadal was defeated in the quarterfinals.  Finishing higher than Nadal over this period enabled him to make up the ground needed in the points total.

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