Following Rafael Nadal's loss to Andy Murray today in Melbourne, the top of the ATP rankings is about to have a bit of shake up. The outcome of the remainder of the tournament still leaves much to be decided, but one thing is certain: Nadal will relinquish his position at second on the ladder.
Here are the ranking versus Australian Open outcomes (in bold, the points as they stand):
Federer Nadal Djokovic Murray
Q 9,710 7,670 8,310 -
S 10,070 - 8,670 7,320
F 10, 550 - 9,150 7,800
W 11,350 - 9,950 8,600
As you can see, Federer's place atop the tree is under threat. Should he crank his streak of consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals to 23, the Swiss would secure the defence of the ranking he strove so hard to regain in 2009.
Considering not many have been talking up Novak Djokovic's chances "Down Under," the Serb is possibly three victories from a second title in Melbourne and, should the stars align for him, a handsome "numero uno" beside his name come Monday.
Murray, who seems to be making more and more people believers in his ability to clinch his first major on Sunday, could see himself clamber back to world No. 2. Considering how much flak he took for his opting to play the Hopman Cup and consequently relinquish his status as the No. 4 seed, that would be a mighty slap in the face of all his critics.
Although most players are adamant in their stance on rankings not meaning the world to them, it certainly adds another dimension to matches. Federer's win at Wimbledon in 2009 was magical for so many reasons: the breaking of Sampras' record, the epic nature of the duel with Roddick, and the recovery of his most beloved treasure. All of this was added to by the fact that it came with the Swiss settling back upon his throne atop the rankings.
The Australian Open has always provided surprise and a seemingly unparalleled number of classic matches (perhaps made to seem so by new season hunger to capture every moment). Might another element be thrown into the electricity of the Rod Laver Arena on Sunday?
If Nikolay "new personality" Davydenko does in fact snap Roger's streak tomorrow, the shockwaves may resonate beyond Melbourne and through the ATP World Tour Rankings.