Since last February 28, the Russian tennis player has been at the top of the ranking despite not winning any tournament since September 2021 and, to make the situation more unusual, his escort in the classification, the German Alexander Zverev, has not triumphed since November of last year
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
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Leer en español: Daniil Medvedev: el caso más extraño de un número 1 de la ATP
Not only did he end the two-year hegemony of the Serbian Novak Djokovic, but he also became the first tennis player not a member of the "Big Four" to be the leader of the ATP ranking since 2004. As if that were not enough, he maintains the leadership without win a single tournament since September 2021, after a strange decision by the body that governs this discipline post Wimbledon 2022. He is the Russian Daniil Medvedev.
It is undoubtedly a strange moment for international tennis, since the second in the world ranking, the German Alexander Zverev, has not been crowned in official events since last November. The situation has generated controversy and debate about whether the current scoring system in tennis is the fairest, because in that period, for example, Rafael Nadal was titled in Australia and Roland Garros, and that was not enough for him to be in the most tall.
To further assess the rarity of this classification, it is necessary to locate precisely the case of the manacorí racket who is not the one with the greatest chance of displacing the Russian from the top, but Zverev himself, who could soon become the new number one of the world without playing, since he has been injured since the semifinals of Roland Garros. A madness that in Latinamerican Post we will try to explain.
How Did Medvedev Get to the Top?
It was February 28 of this year, playing the semifinals in Acapulco after being a finalist at the Australian Open were enough to displace Djokovic, who in turn was unable to defend his trophy at the ocean Grand Slam after losing his visa from the Australian government, which considered him a health risk for the population for not being vaccinated against COVID-19. Shortly after, "Nole" fell unexpectedly in the quarterfinals of the ATP 500 in Dubai.
Thus, the Muscovite rose to the long-awaited position, which, however, has not brought him luck, since in his debut as No. 1 he was eliminated in the third phase of Indian Wells, which barely brought him 45 units. Then, he missed Miami due to a hernia operation and on his return, he lost his first game in Geneva. Later, he was dropped from Roland Garros in the round of 16. He was able to raise his level in Hertogenbosch and Halle, tournaments in which he at least played the decisive match.
It was impossible to maintain the number 1 with that curriculum in which he only accumulated 330 points, but the refusal of the ATP to award points at Wimbledon, after the organization's announcement not to allow Russian and Belarusian players to play the tournament allowed him to recover the throne. All this without playing at the All England Club, and despite the fact that Djokovic won his fourth consecutive edition.
The one who has emerged as the 27th number 1 in the history of men's tennis was not the typical premature star who burst in force from the beginning, nor was his name progressively gaining space. The mixture of his personality with his style of play, forced him to be a tireless worker to improve his technique and wait for his moment.
And What About Zverev?
He began the year as number three on the planet, and even at some point settled in fourth place. Alexander, a native of Hamburg, has only played two finals this season, which are Montpellier and Madrid, while in the big tournaments his best performance has been the semifinal at Roland Garros, because in Australia he said goodbye just in the fourth round, round of 16 end.
If we talk about less renowned Masters like Acapulco and Munich, Zverev did not get points, because in the first he was disqualified for assaulting the umpire, including a financial sanction, while in the second he was eliminated in the first round. Again, the Wimbledon measure prevented Djokovic from recovering the 2000 points lost and, in addition, helped Alexander to consolidate himself in second place 'without doing anything'.
How to Keep Holding On?
“I dreamed more of being world number one as a kid than now, because that's what dreams are about. But today I don't dream of it, I work for it,” Medvedev said, according to Sporting News, a few weeks before that he was promoted to that position by the ranking. Now comes the most difficult challenge: continue to hold on, but defend many more points than in the first half of 2022.
But a difficult stage begins for Medvedev in this month of August. Well, he is obliged to defend 5,200 points, and this includes the Washington 2019 final, Indian Wells 2021 round of 16, Cincinnati 2021 semifinals, Paris-Bercy 2021 final, ATP Finals 2021 final and Canadian and US Open 2021 titles.
It won't be easy for Zverev either, who will have to fend off 4,150 points as a result of his triumphs at the ATP Finals, Cincinnati and Vienna, semi-finals of the US Open and Paris-Bercy, quarter-finals of Indian Wells 2021 and Canada 2019. This time, between August and November, the two tennis players seem to be at serious risk of losing their privileged positions given the seasons they have had.
Now who dreams of being number 1 in the ATP for the first time in his career is the German, because if Medvedev does not reach at least the semifinal of the ATP 250 in Los Cabos, the quarterfinals in the Masters 1000 in Montreal, or the third round in Canada, Zverev will become the new owner of the top. This, just before closing the annual calendar with the traditional Masters Tournament, now the ATP Finals.
Zverev, Triumphant in the Most Recent Duel
The most recent confrontation between the two best tennis players today, according to the ATP, was recorded at the Turin Finals. Zverev won very easily in the final with two sets, 6-4 in one hour and 15 minutes. The German had previously left Djokovic, then number 1 in the world, in the gutter. There are airs of revenge on the Russian side, because that Sunday he had one of his worst presentations.
“I had to play one of my best matches to beat someone who had beaten me five times in a row,” champion Zverev said at the foot of the court, according to the newspaper El Mundo.es. The behavior of this tournament in recent years indicates that it is better to arrive at it very well positioned, especially if you won the last edition, because that condition forces you to defend many points.
The ATP Finals is a kind of guillotine for the defending champions. In 2016 the British Andy Murray was accredited, in 2017 the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, in 2018 the aforementioned Zverev, in 2019 the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas and finally in 2020 Daniil Medvedev, before Zverev repeated in 2021.