On Tuesday afternoon, Sam Querrey officially clinched his spot as the No. 1 American in the ATP rankings that will be released next Monday, March 18.
After fellow American Mardy Fish fell to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Round of 32 of the BNP Paribas Open 7-6(4), 7-6(0), it became certain that no player under the U.S. flag had a chance of passing Querrey.
John Isner, the U.S. No. 1 entering this week, will take a major drop in next week's rankings after reaching the finals of the BNP Paribas Open last year and failing to make it out of his first match this year. The 6'9'' American lost to former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-4 in the Round of 64 this past weekend.
The news of Querrey's achievement was confirmed via tweet from Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times.
At the time Fish lost, Querrey was in the middle of a tough battle in the Round of 32 himself. Shortly after it became official that he would be the top-ranked American, he faced a frustrating situation after failing to convert on a match point in the second set tiebreaker and allowing his match to go to a third set against Australian Marinko Matosevic.
Matosevic fought his way well into the third set before Querrey finally broke at five all, and was able to put out the match with an ace to advance with a nail biting 7-6(5), 6-7(7), 7-5 victory.
Not a bad way to start your reign as America's top player.
Just to make it official: now that Fish has lost, Sam Querrey is now the 13th American No.1 in the history of the ATP rankings. #bnppo13— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 12, 2013
Awaiting the 25-year-old in the Round of 16 at Indian Wells is world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. While most may chalk this matchup as a loss for Querrey at first sight, recent history may suggest otherwise.
Just a few months ago in October, Querrey picked up his only win over Djokovic in the Round of 32 of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris by the score of 0-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.
Since then, Djokovic has won all 19 of his ATP matches, including titles at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and Australian Open, as well as regaining his No. 1 ranking. Needless to say, the Serbian great is on fire.
While an upset over Djokovic may be a tall order at the moment, it is certainly not an impossibility. It will be a good test for Querrey, who will now have more pressure on him than ever given his title as the new American tennis king.
That is what happens when you follow in the footsteps of Hall of Fame players like Sampras, Agassi, McEnroe and Connors.
Querrey has a good chance to move up the rankings this spring and likely pass his career-high of world No. 17. He does not have many points to defend until the summer and has major opportunities at the Masters 1000 in Miami and the French Open, where he lost in the Round of 64 and 128 last year, respectively.
It will be interesting to see how the laid-back Californian responds to the throne that he now sits upon as the No. 1 ranked American player.
If Querrey can keep up his solid play over the next few months, look for him to make a push towards the top 10 of the ATP rankings for the first time in his career.
How high do you think Sam Querrey can reach in the ATP rankings? How long will he last as the top American and who will be the next to hold the title? Voice your opinion below!