Will Rafael Nadal End the Year As Men's Top Ranked Tennis Player?
After failing to reached finals at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells and Miami, losing in the semifinals to Ivan Ljubicic and Andy Roddick respectively, Rafael Nadal's first title of the year came at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo, his sixth title in that event, and ending his 11-month title drought.
Then, two weeks later, Nadal won the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome title by defeating David Ferrer, to equal Andre Agassi's 17 ATP Masters 1000 shield.
Another two weeks later, Nadal won his record-breaking 18th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title by clinching the title in Madrid, defeating Roger Federer in the final. With that win, Nadal became the first player to win all three ATP Masters 1000 played on clay courts and sent message to his contemporaries that the King of Clay is back!
At Roland Garros, the King of Clay reigned again, when he captured his fifth French Open title over Robin Soderling, who barred Federer for reaching his 24th Grand Slam semifinal by upsetting him in the quarterfinals and for equaling the record of 286 weeks at No.1 held by Pete Sampras.
By reclaiming French Open title, Nadal is back at No.1, displacing Federer. From ATP Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo to French Open, Nadal already amassed 5,000 points. That is a much productive effort done by Nadal.
Nadal wanted to have a quick transition on grass as he played at Queen's Club, but unfortunately upset by his compatriot Feliciano Lopez. That gave him more time to prepare for his campaign at All-England Club.
In the recently concluded Wimbledon, Nadal recaptured the title he didn't defended last year, by overwhelming Tomas Berdych in the final. That was his second Wimbledon title and that win he got 2,000 ATP Ranking Points to extend his lead over the new World No.2 Djokovic who pushed down Federer to No.3 due to quarterfinal exit.
The graph below shows the current ATP Men's Singles Top 10, including the Total Points Earned from January to June, and the Total Points to Defend.
Here are some notes about the computation of the Total Points to Defend:
1) It only includes the 6 remaining major tournaments, these are: ATP Masters 1000 Canada, Cincinnati, Shanghai, and Paris, US Open, and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. These are mandatory tournaments with a total of 7,500 points at stake.
2) It does not include the ATP 500 and ATP 250 tournaments.
As you can see in the figure above, No.1 Nadal has already 10,745 ranking points. Nadal has 3,840 points more than Novak Djokovic, who is at No.2 and 3,860 points more than Federer, who is at No.3. Djokovic has a slim lead of 20 points to Federer.
Andy Murray stays at No.4, Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych is the new member of the Top 10 at No.8, and Roddick is down by two spots to No.9.
In the Total Points to Defend, Juan Martin del Potro has the highest number of points to defend which accumulates to 3,590 points, where 2,000 points came from his 2009 US Open win, followed by Djokovic who needs to defend 3,260 points.
Berdych with 415 points, Roddick with 470 points, and Verdasco with 560 points have the lowest number of points to defend.
Nikolay Davydenko needs to defend 2,840 points, that is, 50 points more than Federer with 2,790 points.
Top 10 ranked players with high number of points to defend need to work hard in order to stay or progress in the rankings. Failure to do so will see themselves out of the elite.
What's more surprising is the Total Points Earned by the Top 10 in the first half of 2010 ATP World Tour season. Most notably, the newly-returned World No.1 Nadal who already piled up 8,525 points, while his rival and World No.3 Federer only collected 4,095 points.
Moreover, World No.5 Soderling is in third position, who gathered 3,805 points, followed by Djokovic in fourth place, who compiled 3,645 points. French Open and Wimbledon semifinalist Berdych has 3,430 points and leads Murray who accumulated 3,125 points only.
Due to injury, del Potro has been sidelined after Australian Open in January. His round of 16 showing earned 180 points only. The 760 points includes 500 points from ATP 500 event in Washington plus 80 points coming from the Davis Cup effort last March.
What are the chances that Djokovic, Federer, and the rest of the top 10 will overtake Nadal before the year ends? Well, is there really a chance?
With 14,750 points still to be earned from six ATP 500 events, 17 ATP 250 events, four ATP Masters 1000, one Grand Slam, and the ATP World Tour Finals, there can be a chance but that's too slim.
Simply because these top players will not play in all of the remaining 29 events, until the season ends. They will surely play at the mandatory event such as the remaining four ATP Masters 1000 plus the US Open, then another at the ATP World Tour Finals, if they qualified. But the remaining 23 events, it depends on their schedule, it's their call.
Therefore, Nadal has already secured a lead for the rest of the season. He will most likely end the year No.1.
Nadal really deserved to be at the top. After demonstrating, not only great effort, but a finest display of tennis, Nadal deserved to be where he should be right now. That’s true dominance.
Nadal's goal of conquering New York City is within his reach. As healthy as he is right now, he will surely grab the rare opportunity of lifting a trophy in the last Grand Slam of the year. Should he exceed beyond semifinals, his best effort so far, he will find himself having an extraordinary year by achieving the Career Slam.
That having said, Nadal will be back to London at The O2 Arena to play once more and try to add that year-end title that is eluding him. It is also the coronation that Nadal indeed, the top men's tennis player of 2010 for the second time.
Let's seize the moment when Nadal is crowned as the new ATP World Tour Champion.
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