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Ranking Reaction: Thiem passes Federer for new career-high of No. 3
The Austrian is the just the 10th player to rank in the Top 3 since Djokovic joined Federer and Nadal for the first time in 2007.
Published Mar 02, 2020
With five tournaments taking place across the globe this past week, there was a lot of movement on the rankings. But the most significant move was made by someone who didn’t even have to hit a ball, as Dominic Thiem passed Roger Federer to set a new career-high ranking of No. 3.
Neither of the two were in action last week, but with Federer dropping 500 points from winning Dubai a year ago—and Thiem having been just 85 points behind—the Austrian snuck past the Swiss.
With 7,045 points, Thiem is still far away from No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Rafael Nadal, who have 10,220 and 9,850 points, respectively. But just getting to No. 3 in the era of the Big 3 is rare:
Since Djokovic joined Federer and Nadal in the Top 3 for the first time in 2007, Thiem is just the 10th player to achieve that feat, after Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, David Ferrer, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic, Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic and Juan Martin del Potro.
“It’s unique in sports history that the three best players by far are playing in the same era. That’s what makes it very, very difficult for other players to break through,” Thiem said during his run to the final of the Australian Open this year. “As a different player than them, you have to beat at least two of them to win a big title. Almost all players have failed to do that. I think that’s what makes it so tough.
“I mean, I think these guys have brought tennis to a completely new level. They’ve also brought me, probably, to a much better level. But I’m happy I can compete with these guys on the best level. I really hope that I can win my maiden Slam when they’re still around because it just counts more.”
No player outside the Big 3 or Murray has been ranked in the Top 2 since Lleyton Hewitt in July 2005.
After reaching his first 500-level final in Acapulco, American No. 2 Fritz jumped from No. 35 to No. 24 on the ATP rankings, surpassing his previous career-high ranking of No. 25. He’s now just three spots away from the American No. 1, John Isner, who’s currently sitting at No. 21 in the world.
Two more notable jumps in the Top 100 came from Dan Evans, who rose from No. 37 to No. 28—his Top 30 debut—after reaching the semifinals of the 500-level event in Dubai, and American Tommy Paul, who rose from No. 66 to a new personal-best No. 57 after reaching the Acapulco quarters.
And just outside the Top 100, Brazilian teenager Thiago Seyboth Wild soared from No. 182 to No. 113 after winning his first ATP title in Santiago. The 19-year-old only just broke the Top 200 last week.
There was a Premier 5 event in Doha, Qatar last week, but the most significant jumps on the WTA rankings this week came from the International-level event in Acapulco, with the eventual champion, Watson, rising 20 spots from No. 69 to No. 49 after winning her first WTA title since 2016.
“I’m so happy to get my fourth title,” Watson said after a 6-4, 6-7 (8), 6-1 win over Leylah Fernandez in the final. “It’s been a few years, so I’m just really, really happy I came through that match.”
The Brit, a former No. 38, is now back in the Top 50 for the first time since 2016. And with just six—yes, six—ranking points to defend over the next two months, she’s closing in on a new career-high.
Meanwhile, by reaching her first WTA final in Acapulco, Fernandez soared from No. 190 to a new personal best No. 126, just four weeks after making her Top 200 debut after the Australian Open. The 17-year-old Canadian is the second-youngest player in the Top 200, after 15-year-old Coco Gauff.