Daniil Medvedev will become the new World No. 1 of the ATP Tour on Monday, becoming only the 27th player to hold the top spot in the Open Era. This comes after Novak Djokovic failed to defend the title in Dubai, dropping 410 points after a shock quarterfinal exit, courtesy of qualifier Jiri Vesely.
Medvedev has been knocking on the door more and more incessantly over the past few years, besting Djokovic in the US Open final last year. Not only did he capture his first Slam, but he also prevented the Serb from winning all four in 2021.
The Russian looked like the No. 1 in Melbourne this year, marching through the draw until he tripped at the final hurdle in the form of a 35-year-old Rafael Nadal, who produced one of his best hard-court performances of all-time to come back from two sets down and keep Medvedev at bay for just a little longer.
Medvedev taking over the top spot, more than anything else, signifies the twilight of the Big 4 era on the ATP Tour. Djokovic, Nadal, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray have had a stronghold on the No. 1 ranking since Federer took it over in February 2004, more than 18 years ago.
It is fitting that Djokovic loses the top ranking in his first defeat to a player ranked outside of the Top 100 since the 2017 Australian Open. The Serb, a dominant force for most of last season, is beginning to show cracks as he nears his 35th birthday in May, with battles over vaccines certainly not helping. His departure from the top spot is a direct result of his deportation from Australia, where Djokovic was unable to defend his title and lost 2000 points. Had he played the event, Djokovic would likely still be No. 1 after this week.
In the live rankings, Daniil Medvedev holds a 60 point lead over Djokovic. The Russian can further extend the lead up to 470 points if he takes the title in Acapulco, where he is currently competing.
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