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Andy Murray Poised to Take No. 3 Ranking from Roger Federer: Does It Matter?

Erik WallulisContributor IIIOctober 13, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23:  Roger Federer (R) of Switzerland shakes hands with Andy Murray of Great Britain after winning his men's singles match during the ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena on November 23, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Roger Federer has dropped out of the most recent tournaments while Andy Murray has been winning several matches in them and taking the titles.

This has led to a massive point gain for Brit, and a loss for the Swiss, leading to the definite possibility that Murray will take Federer's No. 3 position in the rankings.

This begs the question, however, of just how significant the ranking is.

When Federer lost his No. 1 ranking to Nadal in 2008, it was a devastating blow. He was still behind Sampras' weeks at world No. 1 as well as in grand slam titles to his name, and Nadal had demonstrated that he had figured Federer's game out to the point where he could best him at the maestro's most treasured tournament.

It had more than just symbolic value; it was a changing of the guard.

This, however, is hardly analogous to that. Federer has fallen behind both Nadal and Djokovic, and has remained ensconced at the No. 3 position for some time, with no grand slam titles to his name.

When he lost the No. 1 ranking to Nadal, a battle still ensued between them for titles in the year to come; now the majors are split between Djokovic and Rafa.

Needless to say, taking the No. 3 ranking is hardly as significant as usurping the No. 1 position.

Rankings among the top four, in fact, are not of great importance, aside from being No. 1. Perhaps Federer is now more likely to face Nadal in the semifinals of grand slam events, but either way, he would likely have to defeat both Rafa and Djokovic in order to take another title. 

Andy Murray taking Federer's spot has symbolic value in that the Brit is now ever closer to the top two players in the world. However, in order to truly be considered among the greatest he would have to win a grand slam title, which is of far more significance than a No. 3 ranking could ever have.

Look for it to perhaps signify a boost in confidence for the Brit but nothing more, as the hump of getting a grand slam title is still ever present in his career. 

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