With results coming in from a Masters 1000 on the men’s side and two weeks of season-ending events on the women’s side, there was plenty of movement on both the ATP and WTA rankings this week. But no move was more significant than Rafael Nadal taking No. 1 back from Novak Djokovic.
Nadal would have returned to No. 1 this week no matter how the two rivals did at last week's Rolex Paris Masters—Djokovic was dropping 1,600 points from his final-round appearances in Paris-Bercy and the ATP Finals last year, while Nadal wasn’t dropping any points this week, having played neither event last year. In the end, Nadal made it to the semifinals in Paris before having to withdraw prior to his match against Denis Shapovalov due to an abdominal injury, while Djokovic went on to win the title.
The Spaniard was asked about his imminent return to No. 1 during his week in Paris.
“I prefer to be No. 1 to No. 2, and No. 2 to No. 3. And of course finishing the year No. 1 is something special, and I would love to make that happen," he said. "But as I’ve said during the last couple of years, it’s not my goal to be No. 1—it’s about organizing my calendar to play as long as possible. If I’m No. 1 at the end of the season, I’m super happy. But I will not try to follow or make extra things to be No. 1.
“I’m just trying to do the right things to play as long as possible, to play more years on the tour.”
Nadal will spend his 197th and 198th career weeks at No. 1 over the next two weeks. He and Djokovic will battle it out for the year-end No. 1 ranking during the ATP Finals, which start on Sunday.
Berrettini, Bautista Agut and Shapovalov reach new career-high rankings
Though they both lost their opening matches in Paris, Matteo Berrettini and Roberto Bautista Agut inched up to new career-high rankings this week—the Italian going from No. 9 to No. 8, and the Spaniard from No. 10 to No. 9. The shift was due to Karen Khachanov, the 2019 Paris Masters champion, dropping from No. 8 to No. 17 this week after losing his opening match.
Khachanov’s drop also cleared a path for Gael Monfils to return to the Top 10. The Frenchman reached the quarterfinals in Paris to rise from No. 13 to No. 10. A former No. 6, he’s back in the Top 10 for the first time in more than two-and-a-half years, since the week of February 13, 2017.
The biggest jump in the Top 50 went to Shapovalov, who rose from No. 28 to No. 15 after reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Paris. The 20-year-old Canadian’s previous career-high was No. 20.
“I think my level is there [in the Top 15]. I’ve beaten most of these guys here or there, or a guy like [David] Goffin, I have gotten really close with him,” Shapovalov told ATPTour.com. “I knew it was just a question of time. It’s just taken me a little bit of time to improve my game and just grow as a player.”
In addition to Khachanov, there were a few more notable drops for former Top 10 players. Former No. 3 Marin Cilic fell from No. 24 to No. 39 after losing in the second round in Paris; he reached the quarters last year, and also has points coming off from a round-robin win at the 2018 ATP Finals. And Kevin Anderson, a former No. 5 who’s been out since Wimbledon due to a knee injury, fell from No. 45 to No. 91. He had third-round points from Paris, and semifinal points from the ATP Finals, falling off.
Barty wins WTA Finals to build massive points lead at No. 1 heading into 2020
Ashleigh Barty had already clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking earlier in the WTA Finals, but by going all the way to the title in Shenzhen, she finishes the year almost 2,000 points ahead of her closest competitor, No. 2 Karolina Pliskova. Barty has 7,851 points, and Pliskova 5,940.
Though it depends on what happens during the two-week lead-up to the Australian Open, it’s possible that Barty could ensure she'll leave her home major as No. 1, no matter how she fares.
The rest of the year-end Top 10 are No. 3 Naomi Osaka, No. 4 Simona Halep, No. 5 Bianca Andreescu, No. 6 Elina Svitolina, No. 7 Petra Kvitova, No. 8 Belinda Bencic, No. 9 Kiki Bertens and No. 10 Serena Williams. It’s Serena’s 16th career Top 10 finish, and first since becoming a mom.
There are also some new career-highs for players who competed in the secondary season-ending event in Zhuhai, with American Alison Riske rising from No. 19 to No. 18, Donna Vekic from No. 20 to No. 19, Karolina Muchova from No. 26 to No. 21 and Dayana Yastremska from No. 24 to No. 22.