Reaching No.1 position in the ATP rankings is something that Rafa Nadal no longer had as one of his main objectives, but the situation has placed the Spanish tennis player very close to returning to the throne, a position of privilege that he last abandoned in February 2020.
His triumph at Roland Garros boosted his aspirations and all that remained was to hope that his chronic foot injury would improve and allow him to continue competing this season.
Nadal recovered and participated in the Wimbledon three years after his last appearance, except that in this edition the tournament did not hand out ranking points, something that would have helped him to continue climbing up the rankings.
Despite Rafa’s abdominal injury, which prevented him from playing the semi-final against Nick Kyrgios, the one who was dealt a blow in terms of rankings was Novak Djokovic.
The current No.1, Daniil Medvedev, has predicted that his Spanish counterpart could become No.1 again by the end of 2022.
“I know that at the end of the year, if I don’t try to win every remaining tournament, Rafa will probably be number one,” Medvedev told ATP.
The Russian tennis player must defend the 1,000 points he won last year in Canada and then do the same in the US Open (2,000).
Now he is competing in Los Cabos and then he will go to Canada, Cincinnati and New York.
But what Medvedev says is logical, because Rafa, who has only played eight tournaments this year (four titles and five finals), last season only participated in two matches in Washington after Roland Garros.
In other words, between now and the end of the season, he will practically only add up.
On the American tour, he plans to be present at the Masters 1000 in Montreal and then go to the US Open, skipping Cincinnati.
He has not played in Canada and Cincinnati since 2013, as he prefers not to play a tournament in the week before a Grand Slam.
Most likely after the US Open
It should be noted that Nadal is currently No.1 in the 2022 Race with 5.620 points, followed by Carlos Alcaraz (4.270).
If we look directly at the overall ranking, Nadal is 685 points behind Zverev and 1,460 points behind Medvedev.
The mathematics say that the 22 Grand Slam winner could climb to the top of the ATP rankings as early as August 22, after Cincinnati, even if he does not play.
For that to happen, Medvedev would have to have some disastrous tournaments.
The most realistic scenario would be to get back to the throne after the US Open, as Rafa will be playing there for 2,000 points.
Medvedev will fight throughout the American tour for 4,250 points and will defend 3,860.
Meanwhile, Djokovic would be out of any discussion until next season if he finally is not allowed participate in the US Open.
With Wimbledon not counting, he also missed this year’s Australian Open, which Nadal won, so he is experiencing a year of constant point losses.