Carlos Alcaraz is back to world No. 1, after earning his first grass-court title at Queen’s Club on Sunday.
It was only the third grass tournament of his career, after he played Wimbledon in 2021 and 2022.
And Alexander Bublik disappointed his lifelong pal Andrey Rublev, winning the Halle tournament in three sets and booking himself a spot as a seeded player at Wimbledon.
Which will probably make a number of his fellow seeds quite happy.
ON THE UPSWING
Carlos Alcaraz (ESP): No. 2 ======> No. 1 (With his lack of grass-court experience, it seemed clear Alcaraz was taking this Queen’s Club debut as a learning experience for long-term gain. But you could see him figure things out on the grass as the week progressed – once he got past a scare in the first round. And he won the thing, taking back the No. 1 ranking just before Wimbledon).
Alex de Minaur (AUS): No. 18 ======> No. 16 (De Minaur proved a worthy opponent to young Carlos Alcaraz in the Queen’s Club final. But it just wasn’t enough as Alcaraz won 6-4, 6-4. De Minaur does move up two spots – it would have been more, but his points from making the Eastbourne semifinals a year ago drop off at the same time. De Minaur, who was the No. 3 seed, was a late scratch from this year’s Eastbourne).
Sebastian Korda (USA): No. 32 ======> No. 25 (Korda showed some skill in making the Queen’s Club semifinals, losing to Carlos Alcaraz. En route, he beat Norrie, Evans and Tiafoe. Korda is into the top 25 for the first time at age 22, something many who are high on his talent thought would have happened by now. But after making the final in Adelaide and the quarterfinals at the Australian Open – where he retired against Karen Khachov – he didn’t play again until Madrid. And he didn’t win a match until the first round of Roland Garros.
Alexander Bublik (KAZ): No. 48 ======> No. 26 (Bublik was at 8-19 on the season when he arrived in Halle last weekend. And he ended up winning the tournament, nearly doubling his prize money for the eason to get close to a million, and leaping to a career high at age 26 that will also get him seeded at Wimbledon).
Yannick Hanfmann (GER): No. 53 ======> No. 48 (The wild card lost to Rublev in the second round of Halle, but the 31-year-old makes his top-50 debut Monday. He was at No. 153 at the end of February, so great work this year).
Sebastian Ofner (AUT): No. 81 ======> No. 69 (The 27-year-old makes the final in Ilkley. And because champion Jason Kubler was already in the Wimbledon main draw, he gets the main draw wild card reserved for that purpose. It’s another career high, and a plus for him after losing in the qualifying in his last four attempts. In his past is a third-round effort in his debut in 2017 – when he beat Jack Sock (then ranked No. 18) in five sets in the second round and lost to Alexander Zverev. Ofner qualified and made the fourth round at Roland Garros this year – beating Cressy, Korda and Fognini in five sets. But his ranking at the deadline – which was at the start of RG, was No. 118 so he needed a little help to make it to the AELTC).
Jason Kubler (AUS): No. 97 ======> No. 74 (Kubler was already in the Wimbledon main draw, so he didn’t need the wild card ticketed for the Ilkley champion. He makes a nice jump in the rankings, though).
Alexandre Muller (FRA): No. 103 ======> No. 82 (After being more or less stuck in purgatory for a few years, the 26-year-old Frenchman reaches a career high, at age 26, after winning the clay-court Challenger in Parma. He squeezed into the main draw at Wimbledon after the deadline, and will make his debut after losing in the first round of qualifying in 2021, and the second round in 2022).
Diego Schwartzman (ARG): No. 107 ======> No. 98 (Schwartzman won a round at Queen’s Club thus “improving” his 2023 won-loss record to 8-16. It’s been a struggle, but at least he gets himself back into the top 100 after dropping out for a couple of weeks. Schwartzman began the 2023 season ranked No. 25).
Francesco Maestrelli (ITA): No. 183 ======> No. 149 (Yes, another young Italian moves up as Maestrelli, just 20, made the Parma Challenger final. He has 22-year-old Francesco Passaro one spot ahead of him, and 21-year-old Flavio Cobolli one spot behind him).
Mariano Navone (ARG): No. 240 ======> No. 190 (The 22-year-old wins the Poznan Challenger and reaches a career high after leaping into the top 200 for the first time.
Federico Delbonis (ARG): No. 266 ======> No. 205 (The 32-year-old has fallen far from his career high ranking of No. 33 back in 2016. But he makes a big jump almost back into the top 200 after winning the clay-court Challenger in Cali. He’s taking a pass on the grass altogether, especially because he was ranked too low to even make the Wimbledon qualifying. Delbonis has won a total of three sets in his seven main-draw appearances at Wimbledon – two of them in a five-set loss to Fabio Fognini back in the day).
Leo Borg (SWE): No. 474 ======> No. 436 (The 20-year-old son of you know who lost in the first round of the Poznan Challenger, but moves up 38 spots by earning 15 ranking points by reaching the final of a $25K ITF in Denmark two weeks ago. It’s a career high for him).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Novak Djokovic (SRB): No. 1 ======> No. 2 (As has been his recent custom more often than not. Djokovic didn’t play a Wimbledon tuneup. He slips to No. 2 behind Carlos Alcaraz, who added 500 points in his Queen’s Club debut by winning the title. But it doesn’t change much in terms of the Serb being the big favorite to win Wimbledon).
Daniel Evans (GBR): No. 25 ======> No. 30 (Evans is 8-16 on the season, and probably would self-own his 2023 as “rubbish”. But he’ll still be seeded at Wimbledon).
Maxime Cressy (USA): No. 42 ======> No. 55 (Cressy, who notably upset Félix Auger-Aliassime in the first round of Wimbledon a year ago. He got to the Eastbourne final a year ago – beating Draper, Norrie, Evans and Opelka. But he lost in the first round of Queen’s Club, and so couldn’t defend those this week. He gets a qualifier in the first round of Eastbourne).
Jack Draper (GBR): No. 56 ======> No. 75 (Draper, a big, strapping lad who has been unable to stay healthy so far in his young pro career, is missing the grass-court season where a Brit, ideally, wants to shine. He made a splash a year ago by making the Eastbourne semifinals, and those points come off the charts).
Benjamin Bonzi (FRA): No. 78 ======> No. 93 (Bonzi lost in the first round of qualifying in Halle, and so drops the points he earned from making the Mallorca ATP semis a year ago. He’s not playing either Mallorca or Eastbourne this week).
Federico Coria (ARG): No. 90 ======> No. 104 (Coria lost in the first round of the Poznan Challenger, dropping the points earned a year ago from winning the Milan Challenger. Coria’s not too fussed, apparently, about grass-court prep as he’s taken a wild card into the Modena Challenger on clay, and is the top seed. Coria has been to Wimbledon four times – the last two directly into the main draw, and has only one one set. He did, however, pick up about 100,00 GBP for showing up the last two years).
Antoine Bellier (SUI): No. 205 ======> No. 291 (A nifty lefty serve-volleyer – even on hard courts – from Switzerland, Bellier didn’t play last week and so drops his points from his semifinal effort at the Mallorca ATP tournament a year ago. He was on social media decrying the fact that there wasn’t a place for him to play on grass, the week before the Wimbledon qualifying. And the man has a point; he couldn’t even defend his semifinal Mallorca points this year, because they’re the same week as Wimbledon qualifying).
Fernando Verdasco (ESP): No. 338 ======> No. 350 (Just in case you were wondering what the 39-year-old former No. 7 is up to, he lost in the first round of the Parma Challenger to another late-30s Spanish player, Albert Ramos-Viñolas, in the first round).
Ernests Gulbis (LAT): No. 385 ======> No. 403 (The former top-10 player was on the Challenger circuit for awhile, without making much progress. He hasn’t played since a couple of January Challengers and a Davis Cup match in early February, and drops some points from the Milan Challenger last year. The biggest chunk of his remaining points – 80 of 112 – come off at the end of July).
Feliciano Lopez (ESP): No. 630 ======> No. 634 (At 41, Lopez is wrapping things up. He has a wild card into the singles in Mallorca this week, along with one into the doubles with Stefanos Tsitsipas).
Liam Draxl (CAN): No. 546 ======> No. 637 (Draxl drops nearly 100 spots. But he is into the final at the $15K ITF in Santo Domingo this week – and won the doubles. When those points show up he’ll leap back up again. Draxl isn’t returning to Kentucky for a fifth college year so he’ll look to be a full-time aspiring pro now).