Following the Miami Open, Roger Federer’s rise up the rankings has continued and it was also a profitable week for Fabio Fognini. Meanwhile, three American’s have made significant climbs in the rankings, making them the biggest movers of the week. Here are the latest updates on the Emirates ATP Rankings and the Race To London.
The Miami Open concluded on Sunday, with Roger Federer being crowned as the champion after he defeated Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-4. The Swiss completed the ‘Sunshine Double’ for the second time in his career following his victory in Indian Wells a couple of weeks ago. These points, added to his Australian Open triumph in January, have seen him rise two places in the rankings, up to four in the world.
Perhaps what is more notable for Federer is the lead which he is enjoying at the top of Race To London rankings. Based on this season’s results alone, the Swiss boasts three titles and a 20-1 record, meaning that he is already sitting on 4,045 points, 1810 points clear of Nadal, who sits in second place. Just to put into context how far ahead he is of the world’s current top two player’s in the world, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, the Brit is currently 12th in the race with 840 points. What comes as more of a surprise is that Djokovic, who completed the sunshine double last season, as well as winning in Melbourne, is down at 22nd in the race and only has 475 points, 3,570 less than Federer.
It is no secret that Federer has desires to get back to the top of the rankings and that is certainly a possibility for the 18-time Grand Slam champion this year. The Swiss trails world number one Murray by 6,655 points as it stands, but the Brit has plenty of points to defend in the coming months having won in Rome, Queen’s Club and Wimbledon last year, as well as reaching the final at the French Open and in Madrid. By contrast, Federer has little points to defend and can make up plenty of ground, even if he is to skip the Masters 1000 series events in Monte-Carlo, Madrid and Rome, which he hinted at after his victory in Miami.
Nadal may have suffered defeat in a final for the third time this season (Australian Open, Acapulco, Miami), but there are plenty of positives to take as he heads into the clay court season, a surface which he can very much dominate on. The Spaniard has climbed two places in the world rankings up to fifth, overtaking Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori, who has slipped three places having failed to defends his points in Miami.
It was Fabio Fognini who ousted Nishikori last week at the quarterfinal stages, making it a memorable event for the Italian, who celebrated reaching just the second Masters 1000 series semifinal of his career. It did not go as well as he would have liked when going up against Nadal, leaving the court having suffered a 6-1, 7-5 defeat, but the Italian will benefit from a big boost in his ranking. Fognini has climbed back into the world’s top 30, ranked at 28, climbing 12 places.
It was also a great week for three Americans, all of which have enjoyed significant improvements in their rankings. Donald Young is getting back to the level which he showed five years ago. The 27-year-old reached the last 16 in Indian Wells and backed up that performance in Miami, also reaching the last 16, before succumbing to Fognini 6-0, 6-4. That achievement has seen Young move up nine places up to world number 42, just four places shy of his career high ranking of 38, which he reached way back in February 2012.
Young’s compatriot Jared Donaldson also had a memorable fortnight on home soil after he also reached the last 16. The 20-year-old saved three match points against young British talent Kyle Edmund in round one and rolled on from there, eventually being halted by fellow American Jack Sock, who won 6-2, 6-1. These results have taken the young American firmly inside the world’s top 100, up 20 places to a career high ranking of 75. Donaldson is the biggest mover of the week.
19-year-old Frances Tiafoe has also shown a lot of potential of late and put in a highly commendable performance against Federer in the second round, particularly in the first set, as he fell to the Swiss 7-6(2), 6-3. Tiafoe is back inside the world’s top 100 this week, climbing 12 places back up to 89, three places below his career high ranking which he reached one month ago.
The ATP World Tour now takes a week’s break, but will return on April 10th with ATP 250 level events taking place in Houston and Marrakech, meaning that there are plenty of points on offer to those just below the upper echelons of the game who are looking to improve their ranking.
Alexander Zverev Deserves More Respect According To Boris Becker
According to Boris Becker, Alexander Zverev deserves more respect from tennis journalists.
Boris Becker has claimed that Alexander Zverev deserves more respect despite Zverev failing to live up to his potential at Grand Slams.
Zverev has only reached one Grand Slam final in his career despite being a regular inside the world’s top ten as well as performing at regular ATP events.
This season Zverev played a limited schedule after recovering from an ankle injury but still managed to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.
However most critics have been loud when judging Zverev’s career as it was looking likely that he would be a regular Grand Slam champion.
The German has failed to live up to expectations but former Grand Slam champion Boris Becker believes Zverev deserves more respect.
Speaking to Eurosport Becker also said that Zverev’s father being the coach is a more than successful approach when it comes to the former US Open finalist’s career, “In my opinion, he doesn’t get enough respect from the tennis experts internationally,” Becker explained.
“They’re all talking about the young three or four, but don’t give Zverev, Medvedev or Rublev enough respect. He’s playing with his fist in his pocket a little bit, wants everyone show that he is not a thing of the past, but that his best time is yet to come.
“Surely his father knows best what is good for his son, but if you look into the box at the competition, you can also see changes.”
Becker has followed Zverev for most of his career so knows that the best is yet to come from the German.
Alexander Zverev will look to prove himself next season when he starts his 2024 season when he represents Germany at the United Cup.
Juan Carlos Ferrero Analyses Key Areas For Carlos Alcaraz’s Development
Juan Carlos Ferrero has outlined the next steps in Carlos Alcaraz’s development.
Carlos Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero has analysed the key areas for the Spaniard’s development heading into the 2024 season.
The former world number one’s season has come to an end after a successful year which saw him win the Wimbledon title as well as winning two Masters 1000 titles.
Alcaraz capped off an incredible season by reaching the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
However there is a long way for the Spaniard to go if he wants to consistently go toe-to-toe with Novak Djokovic.
Speaking to Marca Alcaraz’s coach Juan Carlos Ferrero spoke about the Spaniard’s development and said that Alcaraz is too emotional, “Be more regular in games, not open doors. Sometimes there are mistakes and it is something that we have to improve a lot,” Ferrero commented.
“Although it is true that he opens doors, he always competes well and at the highest level. He knows it, the other day he already said that Novak doesn’t give you one. He has to improve his decision making and he will achieve that with experience. Carlos is very emotional and that sometimes helps him and other times not so much.”
It’s clear Alcaraz’s high-quality is there but to consistently do it against Djokovic is another task altogether as the Spaniard looks to go from strength-to strength next season.
One area that is clearly a priority for Alcaraz is physical conditioning especially considering what happened against Djokovic at Roland Garros earlier in the season.
Ferrero said that will be a clear focus heading into 2024 but couldn’t guarantee that Alcaraz will play a tournament before the Australian Open, “Because of the year and the fatigue he has been in, what he needs is rest and disconnecting for 8-10 days with his friends,” Ferrero stated.
“From there, the thinking must go back to working really hard, strong and well to start very strongly in Australia. One can never be sure of that. Sometimes you play a tournament and it doesn’t go well, you left home too early. There are many ways of thinking.
“This year we haven’t played Australia and he finishes number two. That means there is no urgency to play a tournament early. Carlos is a player who enters competition quickly, you don’t usually see him without rhythm.
“Although it is true that he becomes more dangerous from the round of 16, from the quarter-finals. I am confident that the two exhibition matches and the training sessions will help us play a good tournament.”
Alcaraz will be looking to play the Australian Open which starts on the 15th of January after the Spaniard missed last year’s tournament due to a leg injury.
Australian Open Chief Confident Nadal Will Play But Kyrgios’ Participation Uncertain
The tournament director of the Australian Open says he is ‘certain’ that Rafael Nadal will play at the Grand Slam even though the Spaniard has yet to outline his comeback plans.
Craig Tiley told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday he hopes to receive some clarity over Nadal’s intentions in the next couple of weeks but is confident he will play. However, the tennis official had previously claimed in October that the former world No.1 had already committed to play in the event before his team denied that statement.
Nadal, who has won 22 Grand Slam titles, hasn’t played a Tour match since his second round defeat at the Australian Open in January due to a hip injury. He was originally expecting to take an eight-week break but the recovery didn’t go to plan and he ended up having surgery. In May he confirmed that he will take an extended break from the sport to heal his body and admitted that retirement next year is a possibility.
“Rafa has been training, I follow him closely, probably every day because he’s a massive drawcard for us,” the Reuters News Agency quoted Tiley as saying.
“He wants to play, he’s obviously planning on playing. It all depends on how he pulls up.
“Hopefully in the next week or the next two weeks, we get some specific confirmation of that. I’m certain Rafa will be here because he’s not going to want to miss the opportunity to repeat what he did a couple of years ago.”
Earlier this month Nadal confirmed that he intends to return to the Tour but admits that he will continue to experience a degree of pain. Although he has yet to give any information about which tournament he will begin his comeback at. The 2024 season begins during the first week of January.
“I’m well, training, and happy. I’m at a good stage of my life,” atptour.com quoted Nadal as telling reporters in Barcelona.
“Until now I didn’t know if I would play tennis again someday, and now I genuinely believe I will. I’m still not ready to say when, but I’m able to train increasingly longer, and the progress is good.’
Will Kyrgios play?
Another player Tiley is eager to welcome back is home player and former Wimbledon Finalist Nick Kyrgios who has only played one Tour-level match this season due to injury. He underwent knee surgery in January and then tore a ligament in his wrist during the summer. As a result, the Australian currently doesn’t have an ATP ranking due to his inactivity.
“We have spoken to Nick, and he obviously wants to do the best he possibly can to give him the best chance to play in January,” Tiley said of Kyrgios.
“Whether he’s playing, whether he’s doing something else, Nick will be here in January and to get him to play will be great. But we’ve got to take it as it comes and he’s got to make sure he takes care of his health …”
Kyrgios recently worked as an analyst for the Tennis Channel during this year’s ATP Finals in Turin and gave a brief update on his ongoing recovery during a segment.
“After last year, I had such a great year, and I’m so hungry to get back out there,” the 2022 Wimbledon finalist commented.
“So I’m doing everything I can to get back out there. Obviously, you know how injuries are every day, just doing the rehab, doing the gym work.”
The Australian Open will begin on Sunday 14th January. Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka are the defending champions.
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