A Grand Slam offers mega points to the winner and runner up.
But if you can even get past the first round, there are also riches of both the monetary and points kind to those who can make any kind of a run.
Meanwhile, by defending his title in Paris, Rafael Nadal only ensures that he doesn’t fall even further behind Novak Djokovic than he would have, had he not.
But he’s still nearly 5,000 points behind.
And he’s also less than 1,300 points ahead of Roger Federer, who had no points to defend as he posted a semi-final effort in Paris.
A little below the top three, it’s tightening up nicely in the rankings, although there’s no change in the top eight.
ON THE UPSWING
Karen Khachanov (RUS): No. 11 ===========> No. 9 (The Russian reached a career high after a great French Open, in which he defeated Juan Martin del Potro before losing to Dominic Thiem. He had been 10-12 on the season before Paris, and lifted his season record above .500).
Fabio Fognini (ITA): No. 12 ===========> No. 10 (The Italian had been close for a few weeks, after winning Monte Carlo. But he finally makes it to the top 10, at age 32).
Stan Wawrinka (SUI): No. 28 ===========> No. 19 (Back in the top 20 – finally – after so much work to get back into form).
Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN): No. 22 ===========> No. 21 (The teenager didn’t play in Paris because of an adductor, but moves to a career high because of Diego Schwartzman’s drop. He defends 90 points and a Challenger title in Lyon this week, as he gets back to action on a surface rather unfamiliar to him, the grass in Stuttgart).
Laslo Djere (SRB): No. 32 ===========> No. 27 (The 24-year-old hits another career high after making the third round in Paris, where he was up two sets to one against No. 7 seed Kei Nishikori before falling 8-6 in the fifth).
Benoit Paire (FRA): No. 38 ===========> No. 28 (The 30-year-old Frenchman had a terrific run in France in May. He won Lyon and made the fourth round in Paris, where he lost a barnburner to Nishikori) after beating countryman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 11-9 in the fifth in the second round. Paire was ranked No. 69 going into the clay-court season. So that’s good work).
Cristian Garin (CHI): No. 37 ===========> No. 32 (The 23-year-old from Chile is at a career high after winning a round in Paris).
Leonardo Mayer (ARG): No. 68 ===========> No. 48 (The likeable Argentine was moved to tears after watching the vanquished Mahut walk off court with his son. But that win put him back in the top 50).
Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG): No. 78 ===========> No. 58 (The 25-year-old Argentine continues to impress on clay as he reaches the fourth round in Paris, and a new career high. A year ago, he lost in the final round of qualifying – in a third-set tiebreak – to Martin Klizan).
Daniel Evans (GBR): No. 80 ===========> No. 70 (The winner of the Surbiton Trophy Challenger is coming into Wimbledon in very good form).
Pablo Andujar (ESP): No. 93 ===========> No. 82 (None of that grassy stuff for the 33-year-old Spaniard. He won the Czech Open on clay in Prostejov last week, and will play the Lyon Challenger this week).
Alexander Bublik (KAZ): No. 91 ===========> No. 85 (The funky 21-year-old from Kazakhstan moves to a career high after winning a round in Paris).
Yannick Maden (GER): No. 114 ===========> No. 99 (Like his fellow 29-year-old German Jan-Lennard Struff, Maden is playing the best tennis of his career and has broken into the top 100 for the first time).
Antoine Hoang (FRA): No. 146 ===========> No. 118 (The 23-year-old from France moves to a career high after reaching the third round in Paris as a wild card, and upsetting Dzumhur and Verdasco in the first two rounds).
Salvatore Caruso (ITA): No. 147 ===========> No. 122 (The 26-year-old shocked 2018 Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato in the first round, as a qualifier, and then trounced Gilles Simon before losing to Novak Djokovic. It earned him a career-high ranking).
Mikael Ymer (SWE): No. 148 ===========> No. 123 (The younger of the two Swiss brothers reaches a career high after qualifying, and winning a round at the French Open).
Rudolf Molleker (GER): No. 173 ===========> No. 149 (The German reached the final of a Challenger in Poznan, losing to twice-his-age Tommy Robredo. He’s the only 18-year-old not named Felix in the top 150.
Tommy Robredo (ESP): No. 284 ===========> No. 216 (The 37-year-old wins his first title of 2019, only his second since 2013, as he grinds it out on the Challenger Tour).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Juan Martin del Potro (ARG): No. 9 ===========> No. 12 (Out of the top 10 after replacing 2018’s semifinal with a fourth round. Still, a good effort in only his fourth tournament of the season, and with his knee barking at him. He now has a quarterfinal at Wimbledon to defend).
Marin Cilic (CRO): No. 13 ===========> No. 15 (No. 15 is pretty good for most mortals. But it’s as low as he’s been since Aug. 2014 – right before he won the US Open and jumped into the top 10).
Diego Schwartzman (ARG): No. 20===========> No. 23
David Goffin (BEL): No. 29 ===========> No. 33 (No. 9 a year ago on this date, the Belgian is out of the top 30 for the first time since Aug. 2014).
Fernando Verdasco (ESP): No. 27 ===========> No. 34 (He squeezed into a seeded spot for the French Open. But he might not do the same at Wimbledon).
Marco Cecchinato (ITA): No. 19 ===========> No. 39 (The surprise 2018 semifinalist lost in the first round in Paris to Nicolas Mahut, after being up two sets to none. Some good results since last year mitigated the rankings fall a bit).
Jeremy Chardy (FRA): No. 41 ===========> No. 49 (Chardy’s singles ranking might have dropped. But his doubles ranking moved up 30 spots to No. 29, a career high, after he reached the Roland Garros final with lifelong friend Fabrice Martin).
Hubert Hurkacz (POL): No. 44 ===========> No. 54
Damir Dzumhur (BIH): No. 52 ===========> No. 63
Jaume Munar (ESP): No. 53 ===========> No. 74 (The 22=year-old Spanish hope was right around his career best coming into Paris. But he lost in the first round to qualifier Salvatore Caruso).
Steve Johnson (USA): No. 65 ===========> No. 78 (The American is in a bit of a downturn, but no doubt he’ll turn it around).
Ernests Gulbis (LAT): No. 79 ===========> No. 90 (The Latvian gets Félix Auger-Aliassime in the first round of Stuttgart).
Tomas Berdych (CZE): No. 98 ===========> No. 100 (He’s around, apparently. But he keeps pulling out of tournaments).
Mischa Zverev (GER): No. 102 ===========> No. 114 (People are talking about how his little brother is struggling. But big bro has his own issues.