The victory by Novak Djokovic – his ninth at Melbourne Park – and the loss by Rafael Nadal ensures the world No. 1 will remain in that top spot long past the point where he breaks Roger Federer’s career record.
Next week will be Djokovic’s 310th at No. 1, which ties Federer. On Monday, March 8, he will be the new record holder.
Meanwhile, despite making the fourth round in Australia after losing in the first round the previous year, Félix Auger-Aliassime doesn’t budge from his No. 19. In the end, despite making the final of a 250 and the second week of a major, the net result was … one spot.
We look forward to the “real” rankings returning.
ON THE UPSWING
Daniil Medvedev (RUS): No. 4 =======> No. 3
Denis Shapovalov (CAN): No. 12 =======> No. 11
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL): No. 21 =======> No. 17
Casper Ruud (NOR): No. 28 =======> No. 24
Aslan Karatsev (RUS): No. 114 =======> No. 42 (The big winner of the fortnight in terms of ranking. Not only did Karatsev make serious bank in Melbourne, he also made a career-changing leap in the rankings and can now get into all of the big tournaments on the planet).
They’ll have to get some stock pics done of Karatsev, who leaves Melbourne a top-50 player.
Feliciano Lopez (ESP): No. 65 =======> No. 57
Radu Albot (MDA): No. 85=======> No. 76
Soonwoo Kwon (KOR): No. 97 =======> No. 81 (The winner of last week’s Challenger in Bienna, Italy rises. He beat rising Italian Lorenzo Musetti in the final).
Benjamin Bonzi (FRA): No. 137 =======> No. 125 (The 24-year-old Frenchman reaches a new career high as 2021 on the Challenger circuit has gone well: a final in Istanbul, a semi in Quimper 1 and a title at Potchefstroom 1. He began the season at No. 164).
Lopez, 39, looks popped after seeing off a young Aussie wild card in the first round. But he keeps truckin’.
Carlos Alcaraz (ESP): No. 141 =======> No. 127 (The 17-year-old from Spain keep rising, slowly but surely. He’s at a career high after qualifying and reaching the second round of the Australian Open).
Mackenzie McDonald (USA): No. 192 =======> No. 139 (The 25-year-old American, who got to No. 57 in April, 2019 before losing a lot of time to hamstring surgery that left him unable to walk for a time. For a player whose wheels are a big part of his game, it’s been a long road back. But his fourth-round effort in Melbourne (losing to Medvedev) helped his ranking significantly).
Maxime Cressy (USA): No. 172 =======> No. 156 (The 6-6, big serving American (formerly a Frenchman) reached a career high after beating Taro Daniel in the first round of the Australian Open, losing to Alexander Zverev in the second round. He had qualified in January in Doha. Other than a wild card at the 2020 US Open, Cressy had lost in the first round of qualifying in his three previous attempts at Grand Slam tournaments).
Ruben Bemelmans (BEL): No. 232 =======> No. 198 (The 33-year-old Belgian lefty won the Challenger in Cherbourg, France the week of Feb. 8 after losing in the first round of Australian Open qualifying in Doha, then the first round of two Challenger in Quimper to French players ranked far lower. So he bounced back nicely).
Bernard Tomic (AUS): No. 233 =======> No. 209 (The enigma that is Tomic went to Doha to qualify for the Australian Open – and did. He got through the first round on a retirement, then lost quickly to Denis Shapovalov in the second round, 6-1, 6-3, 6-2. What’s next? Who knows).
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS): No. 267 =======> No. 236 (Kokkinakis, hopefully, is back after years of struggling with injuries and mononucleosis. A wild card into the Australian Open, he beat Soonwoo Kwon before playing an epic and impressive match against Stefanos Tsitsipas, a five-set loss that still announced his return to the top level).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Dominic Thiem (AUT): No. 3 =======> No. 4 (One of the casualties of the quarantine, Thiem’s undisclosed injuries led to an unexpectedly early exit in Melbourne).
Stan Wawrinka (SUI): No. 18 =======> No. 20 (Stricken by COVID-19 over the holidays, Wawrinka ran out of gas against Fucsovics in Melbourne).
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA): No. 62 =======> No. 66 (Tsonga, who has been out more than a year, hang onto his ranking because of the current freeze. But the good news is that he is to return this week in Montpellier.
Vasek Pospisil (CAN): No. 63 =======> No. 67 (A sore lower back prevented Pospisil from maximizing in Melbourne. But drawing eventual finalist Medvedev in the first round was a tough blow).
Steven Diez (CAN): No. 180 =======> No. 190 (The Canadian came along for the ATP Cup, getting a little action in, in doubles. But it meant that he couldn’t work on his ranking, because he wasn’t able to play any tournaments. The ATP Cup cash will help him along the way financing himself on Tour in 2021, though. He returned to Europe to play in the Biella Challenger, but lost in the first round to Alexander Davidovich Fokina).
The No. 9 seeds Dodig (front) and Polasek won the Australian Open men’s doubles title.
In winning the Australian men’s doubles title, Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek both rose seven spots and are now in the top 10 at No. 10 and No. 10, respectively.
Aussie John-Patrick Smith, 32, rose from 105 to No. 73 as he made the quarterfinals of the men’s doubles with countryman Matthew Ebden. They lost to the champions. The pair also made the semifinals of one of the leadup tournaments.
Ebden rose from 109 to No. 78.
The Race to Milan
The Next Gen finals were cancelled last year because of the pandemic. And the previous year, Félix Auger-Aliassime withdraw late because of an injury.
At this early stage, he leads the race for 2021.
It’s a pretty talented list. Hopefully the event will be held, so we can see all these young guns go at it.