Other than the “Big 3”, who just keep on trucking into their 30s, there was plenty of movement in the top 10 after the Masters 1000 tournament in Madrid.
There are sort of three tiers within that tier.
There is the top 3, who are well spaced out with Novak Djokovic holding a commanding 4,170 point lead over Nadal, and Nadal up by more than 2,000 points over Federer. (Djokovic’s lead is more than the total points for any player outside the top five).
Then there is the Thiem-Zverev area. These two are likely to switch back and forth for the foreseeable future, depending on what they do and what they’re defending.
Then there’s the bottom tier of the top 10 where Nishikori, Anderson and the surging Stefanos Tsitsipas are close.
Already at a career-best No. 7 by reaching the Madrid final, the 20-year-old from Greece had an opportunity to move up to No. 6 with a win over Djokovic. But the opponent, and the body, declined to cooperate.
ON THE UPSWING
Dominic Thiem (AUT): No. 5 ============> No. 4 (career high).
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE): No. 9 ============> No. 7 (Tsitsipas had a shot at No. 6 if he could beat Djokovic in Madrid Sunday – but the Nadal-Djokovic double on clay – or anywhere – proved too tough an ask. Still a career high).
Gael Monfils (FRA): No. 18 ============> No. 16 (A top-16 seed in Paris wouldn’t be too bad).
Guido Pella (ARG): No. 26 ============> No. 21 (The European clay-court season has been very good to the Argentine, who turns 29 Friday).
Lucas Pouille (FRA): No. 28 ============> No. 25 (The Frenchman has a welcome result with a third round in Madrid. But the struggle continues as he drops his first-round match to Matteo Berrettini in Rome Sunday).
Stan Wawrinka (SUI): No. 34============> No. 29 (He got a lesson in Madrid from Rafael Nadal in the quarters, but looks to have ensured he’ll be seeded in Paris and benefit from a better draw).
Hubert Hurkacz (POL): No. 52 ============> No. 41 (The 22-year-old from Poland is at the stage where he’s in qualifying at the Masters 1000 level. And he made it work in Madrid by getting to the third round. He lost his first-round qualifying match in Rome, though).
Jeremy Chardy (FRA): No. 47 ============> No. 42 (The 32-year-old Frenchman is playing a lot of tournaments this year, and is doing well in doubles, too).
Pablo Cuevas (URU): No. 51 ============> No. 49 (The veteran from Uruguay is back inside the top 50 for the first time in a year).
Adrian Mannarino (FRA): No. 56 ============> No. 50 (The Frenchman is jumping back and forth from the Challengers to the ATP level, and is back in the top 50 after making the second round in Madrid as a lucky loser. He’s playing a Challenger in Portugal this week).
Taylor Fritz (USA): No. 57 ============> No. 52 (The 21-year-old is one of the rare Americans who has committed to the spring clay circuit from the get-go).
Reilly Opelka (USA): No. 58 ============> No. 53 (At 21, the 6-foot-11 American has reached a career high. And he qualified again in Rome this week).
Ricardas Berankis (LTU): No. 95 ============> No. 70 (The former No. 50 is gaining form in the Asian circuit, and won the big-money Challenger in Busan, South Korea this past week. He’s the top seed at another tournament there this week).
Andrey Rublev (RUS): No. 86 ============> No. 79 (It’s a sweet deal when you can rise seven spots without even playing. But Rublev will be out until the grass with a wrist injury).
David Ferrer (ESP): No. 144 ============> No. 126 (With his career now complete after an emotional goodbye in Madrid, it’ll be interesting to see whether he “officially” retires in terms of getting out of the ITF anti-doping program and removes himself from the rankings, or just watches it slip away week after week until it disappears).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Alexander Zverev (GER): No. 4 ============> No. 5 (The defending Madrid champion dropped 820 points in losing in the third round this year. But the damage to his ranking was minimal).
Denis Shapovalov (CAN): No. 20 ============> No. 22 (The 20-year-old Canadian still has yet to win a match this spring on the clay, with one last chance in Rome (against Pablo Carreño Busta Monday) before he hits Paris.
Kyle Edmund (GBR): No. 22 ============> No. 27 (The Brit has dealt with injury in a very low-key 2019 so far).
Dusan Lajovic (SRB): No. 24 ============> No. 31 (Upset in the qualifying in Rome as the top seed, he may still squeeze into Paris as a seeded player for the first time, at age 28).
John Millman (AUS): No. 48 ============> No. 57
Bernard Tomic (AUS): No. 73 ============> No. 85 (Well, he’s playing regularly, so that’s a plus. But he’s not doing a whole lot. The Aussie lost in the final round of qualifying in Rome Sunday).
Ryan Harrison (USA): No. 106 ============> No. 116 (Harrison, whose career high is No. 40, hasn’t been seen on the circuit since Houston a month ago).
Vasek Pospisil (CAN): No. 138 ============> No. 156 (The 28-year-old Canadian is back training again after back surgery in January. He’s at Janko Tipsarevic’s academy in Serbia, working on a hard court as he has no plans to play before the grass. Pospisil will take a protected ranking when he returns).
Hyeon Chung (KOR): No. 155 ============> No. 159 (The South Korean, who turns 23 next Sunday, remains out with a back issue and there seems to be no official timetable for his return).
The road to London
Gaël Monfils is putting himself into the (very early) conversation for London, as 18-year-old Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime is just 140 points out of the top 10.
The road to Milan
Tsitsipas may well be pricing himself out of the Milan conversation – much like Alexander Zverev did the first two years of the event.
Is it even possible that Auger-Aliassime could be the top seed, in his first visit? Time will tell.