Following the Rio Summer Games and the Cincinnati Open, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic continues to reign well above the rest of the world as the No. 1 ranked men’s tennis player, but two-time reigning Olympic champion and No. 2 Andy Murray could use his newfound momentum to close the gap as the ATP enters the homestretch of the 2016 season.
And just before the U.S. Open begins next week, several minuscule points separate most of the top ranked players and there could be major shakeups by year’s end.
Ahead of the final grand slam of the year in New York City’s Forest Hills, the 29-year-old Djokovic owns a commanding 5,535-point lead over second-ranked Scotsman Murray, with Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka narrowly leapfrogging compatriot Roger Federer at No. 3.
The 17-time slam champion Federer slipped to No. 4, but is only 35 points behind Wawrinka, while No. 5 Rafael Nadal (also coming off an excellent showing in Rio) is a mere 95 points behind Federer. The Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych joined the top 10, climbing five spots to No. 9, while France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gaels Monfils and Spain’s David Ferrer highlight several players to slip one spot.
Murray’s performance and Djokovic’s shocking first-round loss in Brazil have no effect on the ATP’s rankings, but Murray’s second taste of Olympic gold could aid his quest to dethrone Djokovic. And Murray’s used the momentum from the Olympics to his benefit before.
After flying straight from Brazil, Murray reached the Cincinnati finals but fell to Cilic. It was an unfortunate loss, but after the 2012 London Games, Murray marched to his first U.S. Open title by defeating Djokovic in five sets and proceeded to make the next Wimbledon and Australian Open finals, claiming the former again over Djokovic.
Despite the loss to Cilic, which snapped his career-best 22-match winning streak, Murray doesn’t seem deterred.
"I'm very proud of this week," Murray told reporters in Cincinnati. "Obviously, today didn't go how I would have wanted. I certainly didn't expect to get to the final when I got here.
"It was a very, very positive week. I'm looking forward to a few days' rest."
A bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Games, Djokovic hoped to translate his ATP glory in the Olympics but quickly fell to Argentina’s Juan Del Potro in the first round. Still, Djokovic owns a stellar 51-4 overall record with seven singles titles this season and he should be ready to defend his U.S. Open crown later this month.
Injuries, and likely his advanced age, forced Federer to skip the Olympics this year but the extra time off may have allowed old, nagging knocks to heal and for the 35-year-old to rejoin the top three. Back and knee injuries have left Federer with a 21-7 record and without a singles championship this season.
ATP Men’s Rankings
1.Novak Djokovic (14,840)
2.Andy Murray (9,305)
3.Stan Wawrinka (4,980)
4.Roger Federer (4,945)
5.Rafael Nadal (4,850)
6.Milos Raonic (4,805)
7.Kei Nishikori (4,165)
8.Tomas Berdych (3,570)
9.Marin Cilic (3,515)
10.Dominic Thiem (3,205)
11.Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2,895)
12.Gael Monfils (2,835)
13.David Ferrer (2,660)
14.David Goffin (2,565)
15.Richard Gasquet (2,185)
16.Nick Kyrgios (2,060)
17.Roberto Bautista Agut (1,980)
18.Feliciano Lopez (1,840)
19.Bernard Tomic (1,780)
20.Pablo Cuevas (1,745)