The race to be world No. 1 is on again.
Barely has Daniil Medvedev settled into the spot for a second time and already there is talk about who might replace him. Could Alexander Zverev make his debut at the summit this summer? Could Rafael Nadal return to No. 1 after a two-and-a-half-year absence? Will Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas soon be in the running?
With stacks of points up for grabs at back-to-back Masters 1000 events and the US Open, the battle to be No. 1 is hotting up.
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How long will Medvedev keep hold of top spot this time? And who will finish as year-end No. 1?

What are the current ATP rankings?

Medvedev has been No. 1 since replacing Novak Djokovic on June 13.
The Russian improved his lead over world No. 2 Zverev by beating Cameron Norrie to win his first title of the year in Los Cabos.
Nadal is third in the rankings ahead of Alcaraz, Tsitsipas and Djokovic.
ATP Rankings – August 8
1. Daniil Medvedev – 7875 points
2. Alexander Zverev – 6760 points
3. Rafael Nadal – 5620 points
4. Carlos Alcaraz – 5035 points
5. Stefanos Tsitsipas – 5000 points
6. Novak Djokovic – 4770 points

How long will Medvedev stay as No. 1?

While Medvedev was out of the conversation at Wimbledon due to the ban on Russian and Belarusian players, this has been a time of the year where he has made plenty of noise in recent years. Only once in his previous eight combined visits to the Canadian Open, Western & Southern Open and US Open has he lost before the quarter-finals.
That level of success brings with it some pressure the following year as anything less than a repeat or improvement will result in a ranking hit. Medvedev this summer will be defending champion at the Canadian Open and US Open, and will be defending semi-final points from the Western & Southern Open. In total he is defending 5050 of his 7875 ranking points from now until the end of the year, so there’s not much for him to gain, and plenty to lose.
However, his victory in Los Cabos, along with the absence of Zverev and Nadal from the Canadian Open, means Medvedev is in a strong position to remain as world No. 1 until at least the end of the US Open.
If he reaches the final in Montreal this week he will be guaranteed to stay as No. 1 through the final Grand Slam of the year. However, if he loses before the final, he could open the door for Nadal or Alcaraz to overtake him in Cincinnati.

How can Zverev, Nadal get to No. 1?

Zverev’s injury against Nadal in the French Open semi-finals not only meant the German’s wait for a first Grand Slam title would continue, but also that he would have to wait for his first spell as world No. 1. Had Zverev won in Paris he would have overtaken Djokovic at the top of the rankings, and another chance went by last week when Medvedev avoided an early exit in Los Cabos.
Now Zverev faces the prospect of slipping down the rankings as he has 4150 points to defend for the rest of the season and an uncertain return date.
Zverev hasn’t played since Wimbledon but posted a video on Instagram at the weekend showing him hitting in Monte Carlo with the caption: “Happy kid back at his favourite playground.” He will not play in Montreal and it seems likely he will also miss Cincinnati, where he is defending champion. Whether he plays the US Open is also in doubt. Last year Zverev made the semi-finals in New York.
Nadal’s chances of getting to No. 1 for the first time since the start of 2020 are also dependent on his fitness. He has withdrawn from the Canadian Open due to an ongoing abdominal issue and his participation in Cincinnati is unknown.
As he hasn’t played any of the North American swing since 2019 this would have been a fantastic opportunity for Nadal to make up ground on Medvedev. Even if he just plays the US Open there is still the chance for a big haul, considering he has zero points to defend. Nadal won the title the last time he played in New York three years ago and another run to the final, with 2,000 points on offer to the winner and 1,200 to the runner-up, could be enough to get back to the top of the rankings, depending on Medvedev’s result.
if Medvedev loses before the quarter-finals in Montreal, then Nadal could get back to No. 1 with victory in Cincinnati.
Nadal also has no ranking points to defend after the summer, so is well placed to target year-end No. 1 if he opts to play.

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What about Alcaraz and Tsitsipas?

Back-to-back clay finals in Hamburg and Umag lifted Alcaraz to No. 4 in the rankings and he has little to defend before the US Open, where he made the quarter-finals last summer.
Having been ranked outside the top 50 this time a year ago, Alcaraz could get to No. 1 this summer. To do so he must first win in Montreal without Medvedev making the final. That would open up the possibility of Alcaraz contending with Medvedev for top spot at the Western & Southern Open, but probably needing the Russian to lose very early to have a chance of overtaking him.
Tsitsipas made the semi-finals at the Canadian Open and Western & Southern Open in 2021 so may need a good couple of weeks to stay at No. 5 before the US Open, where he will be hoping to improve on his last-32 exit a year ago.

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Will Djokovic fall down the rankings?

Currently ranked at No. 6, Djokovic is set to lose 1,200 ranking points if he is unable to play the US Open, which is still the case as the USA does not allow unvaccinated international travellers into the country.
Djokovic would only drop to No. 8 with 1,200 off his current total, but that could change depending on the results of others around him.

Who leads the Race to Turin?

With two Grand Slam titles, Nadal is currently leading the Race to Turin, which are the calendar-year rankings used to determine the eight players who qualify for the ATP Finals.
Nadal is clear of Alcaraz, Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud and Medvedev.
Djokovic is in 10th but would currently qualify for the ATP Finals as he has won a Grand Slam this year. Only if Djokovic drops out of the top 20 in the standings would he miss out.
Race to Turin standings
1. Rafael Nadal - 5620 points
2. Carlos Alcaraz - 4270 points
3. Stefanos Tsitisipas - 4010 points
4. Casper Ruud - 3315 points
5. Daniil Medvedev - 2825 points
6. Alexander Zverev - 2700 points
7. Andrey Rublev - 2595 points
8. Felix-Auger-Aliassime - 2455 points
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