The removal of last year’s ATP Finals points long before they technically expire at the end of the current year’s edition allows for some notable changes in the rankings.
Generally. Not this year.
The fact that the No. 1 and No. 2 are leagues ahead of everyone else doesn’t allow there to be a battle for year-end No. 1 that comes down to the wire.
Still, it keeps things lively.
Despite some minor concerns about that year-end ranking, Djokovic finishes nearly 2,500 points ahead of Daniil Medevedev when all is said and done.
The only change in the top 10 was caused by the serendipitous opportunity Jannik Sinner had to play in the ATP Finals as an alternate.
There are few changes in the top 50, overall.
ON THE UPSWING
= Career high
Jannik Sinner (ITA): No. 11 ===========> No. 10 (Sinner’s chance to play in the year-end tournament as an alternate – and won a match, nearly two – allowed him to squeeze by Félix Auger-Aliassime and finish the season in the top 10. This is … worth a lotta lire).
Alex Molcan (SVK): No. 103 ===========> No. 87 (The 23-year-old from Slovakia won the Helsinki Challenger and jumps into the top 100 for the first time. As much as his qualifying at the US Open this year was a hugely emotional moment (for loser Gastao Elias as well), he won’t have to worry about that in Melbourne).
Thiago Monteiro (BRA): No. 94 ===========> No. 88 (The Brazilian lefty reached the final of the Challenger in his home country after reaching the quarters in Uruguay and the final in the Buenos Aires Challenger the week before that).
Sebastian Baez (ARG): No. 111 ===========> No. 97 (From a good showing on hard at the Next-Gen finals, right back down to South America to get back on the dirt, Baez won the Campinas Challenger and jumps into the top 100 for the first time).
Holger Rune (DEN): No. 108 ===========> No. 103 (Might well be enough to get Rune straight into the main draw at the Australian Open. He reached the semis at the Pau Challenger, and is entered in another in Bari, Italy this week. Hopefully he’ll give his body a break before the 2022 season begins).
Radu Albot (MDA): No.137 ===========> No. 125 (Albot, a former Delray Beach champion, wins the Pau Challenger).
Jiri Lehecka (CZE): No. 159 ===========> No. 138 (The 20-year-old Czech reaches the Pau final and jumps to a career high).
Stefan Kozlov (USA): No. 187 ===========> No. 159 (It’s a ways from his career high of No. 115. But at age 23, Kozlov wins the Champaign Challenger at the culmination of a great fall surge. And with that, he clinches the USTA’s reciprocal wild card for the 2022 Australian Open. It will be his Grand Slam main-draw debut, after only even making the final round of qualifying once – nearly four years ago, also at the Australian Open).
Michail Pervolarakis (GRE): No. 458 ===========> No. 426 (Pervolarakis’s ranking is always a subject of at least slight interest this time of year – especially as it relates to the possible qualification of a team from Greece piggybacking on Stefanos Tsitsipas for the ATP Cup. It’s a big payday for his teammates. Pervolarakis, who was ranked No. 456 at the end of 2020 and No. 487 at the end of 2019, made the final of the $25K ITF in Afula, Israel).
Ben Shelton (USA): No. 678 ===========> No. 568 (A career high for the 19-year-old lefty American, who went from the qualifying to the quarterfinals at the Champaign Challenger).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Félix Auger-Aliassime (CAN): No. 10 ===========> No. 11 (There are certainly matches over the course of the season that could have rendered this a moot point, had he won them. But Sinner’s win in Torino bumped the 21-year-old Canadian just out of the top 10 to end the season. By 42 points. We cannot emphasize enough what that cost him, in terms of potential bonuses from sponsors and the ATP’s bonus pool. But it will give him a very reachable goal for 2022).
Ilya Ivashka (BLR): No. 46 ===========> No. 48 (A bit of a drop after his points from winning a Challenger in Orlando, Fla. a year ago, but still a top-50 finish for 2021).
Brandon Nakashima (USA): No. 62 ===========> No. 67 (All in all, an excellent season for the young American despite the slight dip at the end).
Jozef Kovalik (SVK): No. 131 ===========> No. 148
Christopher Eubanks (USA): No. 149 ===========> No. 161 (Eubanks moved up nearly 30 spots last week, but slid back a little with the new rankings).
Constant Lestienne (FRA): No. 203 ===========> No. 225