Novak Djokovic Daniil Medvedev US Open 2021

How Daniil Medvedev can steal Novak Djokovic’s World number one position

With both Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev in action next week, there could be a new World number one come the end of February.

Whilst there was no movement at the top end of the ATP rankings last week, the table could look much different after next week’s action.

US Open winner and World number two Medvedev missed the first ATP 500 event of the year last week when he skipped the Rotterdam Open, but will compete at next week’s Mexican Open.

Competing alongside Medvedev in Acapulco are defending champion Alexander Zverev, World number four Stefanos Tsitsipas and potentially newly-crowned Australian Open champion and now 21-time Grand Slam titlist Rafael Nadal.

20-time Slam legend and World number one Djokovic will also compete for the first time this year at next week’s Dubai Tennis Championships after being deported from the Australian Open.

Covid-19 vaccinations are not required to compete in the Middle East event, much to Djokovic’s delight after he announced he “will sacrifice Slams” should vaccinations be made mandatory.

World number seven Andrey Rublev, Rotterdam Open victor Felix Auger-Aliassime and Italian sensation Jannik Sinner will all compete in Dubai with Djokovic.

Djokovic has sat atop the World rankings for the past 85 weeks, although seven of these weeks come before the rankings were frozen for five months as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the rankings have resumed, Djokovic has still been top for 78 weeks, but this could come to an end next week.

Djokovic is currently top of the World rankings with 10,875 points whilst Medvedev is hot on his tail with 9,635 points, a total difference of 1,240 points.

Should Medvedev either match or better Djokovic’s performance, he will become pip the Serbian to become the new World number one.

This would make him the 27th male to hold the number one position and the first Russian to do so since Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 1999 and Marat Safin in 2000-2001.

In total, there are a six permutations that could see Medvedev rise above Djokovic:

  • If Medvedev wins the Mexican Open title, he will be the new World number one irrespective of Djokovic’s results in Dubai
  • If Djokovic fails to win the Dubai Championships title but Medvedev reaches the final in Mexico
  • If Medvedev reaches the Acapulco semi-finals and Djokovic doesn’t reach the Dubai final
  • If Djokovic exits before the semi-finals and Medvedev reaches the quarter-finals
  • If Medvedev makes it to the second round whilst Djokovic is ejected before the semi-finals
  • If Medvedev loses in the first round and Djokovic fails to reach the quarter-finals

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.