Daniil Medvedev Becomes 1st Non-Federer, Djokovic, Murray, Nadal No. 1 Since 2004

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 24, 2022

ACAPULCO, MEXICO - FEBRUARY 23: Daniil Medvedev of Russia celebrates during a match between Daniil Medvedev of Russia and Pablo Andujar of Spain as part of day 3 of the Telcel ATP Mexican Open 2022 at Arena GNP Seguros on February 23, 2022 in Acapulco, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Daniil Medvedev is set to become the world's top-ranked men's tennis player after Novak Djokovic was upset by Jiri Vesely in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Championships.

Medvedev, the winner of the 2021 U.S. Open and a finalist at the 2022 Australian Open, is the first player other than Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or Andy Murray to sit No. 1 since 2004. The 26-year-old is the third Russian to ascend to No. 1, joining Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin. 

Djokovic had been the world No. 1 since Feb. 3, 2020, when he unseated Nadal. The Serb holds the all-time record for weeks at No. 1 with 361.

It's likely Djokovic would have remained the world's top-ranked player for longer if it weren't for his decision to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine. He was deported from Australia ahead of the 2022 Australian Open over his vaccination status, a move that cost him critical points in the world rankings system.

Medvedev, by contrast, made it all the way to his second consecutive Grand Slam final before losing to Nadal in a five-set thriller. 

"It is great for tennis to have someone new at World No. 1," Vesely said after his win over Djokovic. "Novak is such a champion, he has been No. 1 for 361 weeks, but tennis needs new World No. 1s and there is a new generation coming up and I think it is great."

Medvedev is emerging as one of the faces of that new generation, with 24-year-old Alexander Zverev, 23-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas and 25-year-old Matteo Berrettini all looking to be among his top competitors.