With Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal from Paris, Novak Djokovic was assured of returning to the No. 1 ranking for the first time since Oct. 31, 2016.
With Nadal’s withdrawal from the ATP Tour Finals in London next week, Djokovic also was assured of finishing as year-end No. 1 for the first time since 2015, and the fifth time overall (2011-12, 2014-15).
Not that the 31-year-old Serb wouldn’t have done it anyway. He has been by far the best of the top players on form, and results, since Wimbledon.
Still, it’s a great piece of (gluten-free) cake to end his renaissance season.
Going into the French Open, Djokovic was ranked as low as No. 22. There, he was shocked by Marco Cecchinato of Italy. But since then, the Nole train has been roaring down the track at warp speed.
ON THE UPSWING
Novak Djokovic (SRB): No. 2 ————> No. 1
Kei Nishikori (JPN): No. 11 ————> No. 9 (Back in the top 10 for the first time since Aug. 2017)
Karen Khachanov (RUS): No. 18 ————> No. 11 (The Masters 1000 winner in Paris gets himself just a few hundred points out of the year-end top 10. Something to shoot for in 2019).
Milos Raonic (CAN): No. 21 ————> No. 18
Denis Shapovalov (CAN): No. 29 ————> No. 27
Alex de Minaur (AUS): No. 33 ————> No. 31 (ties his career high).
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER): No. 43 ————> No. 36
Marton Fucsovics (HUN): No. 42 ————> No. 38 (He bowed out before his Paris match against Fabio Fognini, but the 26-year-old reaches a career high and jumps into the top 40).
Frances Tiafoe (USA): No. 44 ————> No. 40
Malek Jaziri (TUN): No. 55 ————> No. 46 (At age 34, the happy lucky loser in Paris reaches a career high).
Taylor Fritz (USA): No. 49 ————> No. 47 (The Next-Genner also reaches a career high).
Feliciano Lopez (ESP): No. 71 ————> No. 63 (The 37-year-old did yeoman’s work against a couple of kids in Paris, and nearly went further).
Andrey Rublev (RUS): No. 76 ————> No. 68 (A back injury did in his season a little, but the Next-Genner will be back up there before you know it).
Vasek Pospisil (CAN): No. 75 ————> No. 71 (At No. 108 to start the season, and in Slam qualifying, Pospisil has come back nicely).
Jordan Thompson (AUS): No. 87 ————> No. 73 (The Canberra Challenger champion has been outside the top 100 his season. But despite having gone just 1-11 at the ATP level, he has still managed to improve his lot).
Guido Andreozzi (ARG): No. 107 ————> No. 82 (The Argentine sets himself up for a payday in Melbourne).
Peter Polansky (CAN): No. 130 ————> No. 120 (Winning the Charlottesville final over Tommy Paul would have given him five more spots towards that elusive top-100 barrier. But he has two more events to go this year).
Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB): No. 162 ————> No. 133 (The 19-year-old made another big leap to another career high by winning the Shenzhen Challenger).
Blaz Kavcic (SLO): No. 224 ————> No. 197 (Should get him into the Aus Open qualies).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Rafael Nadal (ESP): No. 1 ————> No. 2
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL): No. 10 ————> No. 19
David Goffin (BEL): No. 12 ————> No. 22
Filip Krajinovic (SRB): No. 34 ————> No. 93 (Injured a fair bit this season, the Serb was unable to defend his tremendous result in Paris last year).
Radu Albot (MDA): No. 86 ————> No. 100
Jack Sock (USA): No. 23 ————> No. 105 (Sock will have to sweat it out to see if he makes the Australian Open main draw. Even if he wanted to play a Challenger next week, he’ll almost certainly be playing doubles in London with Mike Bryan).
Julien Benneteau (FRA): No. 72 ————> No. 137 (As Benneteau wraps up his career, he drops his semifinal result from last year’s Paris Masters)
Nicolas Mahut (FRA): No. 169 ————> No. 196 (Unlike his fellow 36-year-old Benneteau, Mahut (a top doubles player) has no plans to stop any time soon.