It was the day after the Australian Open. Rafael Nadal had slipped, in the space of a fortnight, from No. 2 in the world to No. 4, and was almost 4,000 points off the Federer pace. But you can’t afford to turn your back for a moment in this fast-changing game of tennis.
Take the last two months. Wimbledon—and the grass season with it—came to an end. The normal hiatus that follows the frenetic action between the clay Masters and London is usually a welcome oasis in the middle of the tennis year. But this year, there has barely been time to draw breath between the clay, the grass, and the hard-court seasons.
First, France celebrated a famous win over champions Spain in the Davis Cup.
No fewer than three top players ditched their coaches: Nikolay Davydenko, Andy Murray, and Stanislas Wawrinka. Another, renowned for ploughing his own furrow, suddenly took on a coach: Roger Federer.
A handful of players had one last fling on clay before the rigors of the North American hard courts took over the tour—and that helped to ensure that the top three places in the Power Rankings would be filled by Spaniards: Rafael Nadal, Nicolas Almagro, and Juan Carlos Ferrero.
Many others turned early to their preparations for the U.S. Open Series on the searing courts of Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Washington.
The big names, though, kept their powder dry until the two Masters that provide the test-bed for the final Major of the year in New York.
They reaped the rewards for that reticence, too. Federer won the Masters in Cincinnati, Andy Murray took the Masters in Toronto, and Nadal shared the honors at the U.S. Open with Novak Djokovic.
So, yes, some things change fast. For every Mikhail Youzhny and Stanislas Wawrinka who has gate-crashed this month’s Power Rankings (PRs), there has been an exit by an early hard-court bloomer such as Tomas Berdych and Sam Querrey.
But the more things change, the more they stay the same. The second and third in the world, Djokovic and Federer, who were outside these rankings in August, are back again, ranked—you guessed it, second and third.
And that man who trailed by 4,000 points back in February? He’s now the one with clear water between him and the rest: on top of world. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…
So, with thanks to Feng for his unique Power Ranking system, here's the post-U.S. Open Top 10.