February 27, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

ATP Rankings Report – As of Jan. 29, 2024

(AFP/Getty/Tennis Australia)

MELBOURNE, Australia – The men’s event at the Australian Open ran much more according to form than the women did.

So there certainly aren’t as many big jumps from lower-ranked players.

But things happened nonetheless.

Notably, there was a 1600-point swing at the top of the rankings – Djokovic dropped 1,200 points, Alcaraz added 400 – but Djokovic is still 600 points ahead of the young Spaniard in the rankings.

And Jannik Sinner, who won the whole thing and added 1820 points, didn’t move up from his current No. 4.

(For the complete, updated ATP Tour rankings for Monday, click here).

ON THE UPSWING

Taylor Fritz (USA): No. 12 ======> No. 9 (Fritz is back into the top 10 with a quarterfinal effort in Australia, somewhat defying the Netflix curse with the second season of the show just landed).

Frances Tiafoe (USA): No. 17 ======> No. 14 (Despite a surprising loss to Czech Tomas Machac in the second round of the AO – he made the third round a year ago – Tiafoe still moves up three spots. He’ll take it).

Adrian Mannarino (FRA): No. 19 ======> No. 17 (Another career high for the 35-year-old wonder, who won five-setters against Wawrinka, Munar and Bel Shelton before absolutely having zero gas vs Djokovic in the fourth round).

Cameron Norrie (GBR): No. 20 ======> No. 17 (The 28-year-old showed big flashes of his top-10 self with a win over Casper Ruud and a devastating match tiebreak loss to Alexander Zverev in Melbourne. He’s back in the top 20).

Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB): No. 60 ======> No. 41 (Ranked a career high No. 27 before the 2023 Australian Open, Kecmanovic had dropped down to No. 60. But he put a dent in that with five-set wins over Jan-Lennard Struff (11-9 in the match tiebreak) and Tommy Paul (6-0 in the fifth set) before being crushed by Carlos Alcaraz in the round of 16).

Nuno Borges (POR): No. 69 ======> No. 47 (The 26-year-old late bloomer moves into the top 50 for the first time in his career after making the fourth round in Melbourne. He made wins over Davidovich Fokina and Dimitrov look easy. And being in this tranche of the rankings is a game-changer).

Tomas Machac (CZE): No. 75 ======> No. 66 (Previous known more as the significant, slightly younger, other of top WTA player Katerina Siniakova, Machac comes to within two of a career best reached last October with a third-round effort in Melbourne. He also made the doubles semifinals with Zhang Zhizhen, a pickup team if ever where was one. They defeated Ram and Salisbury, Gille and Vlieven and Behar/Pavlasek before taking eventual champions Bopanna and Ebden to a match tiebreak in the semis. Machac hadn’t even HAD a doubles ranking for a full year, and had never been in the top 450; he’s only played 11 ATP matches in doubles. Now, he’s at No. 121).

Luca Van Assche (FRA): No. 79 ======> No. 68 (Less-heralded than vintage mates Cazaux and Fils, Van Assche defeated both Duckworth and Musetti in Melbourne before falling to Tsitsipas in the third round).

Gael Monfils (FRA): No. 76 ======> No. 70 (The 36-year-old lost to Etcheverry in Oz, but moves his ranking up six spots. He’s efforting as much as he can to qualify for the Paris Olympics. Which means he’s headed in the right direction but for country limits. That limit is four. He’s currently No. 5, one spot ahead of Muler but with Cazaux right behind them. Mannarino, Humbert and Fils look pretty set; the last spot will be a serious dogfight that may well come down to the results in their home major at Roland Garros, right at the Olympics deadline).

Alex Michelsen (USA): No. 91 ======> No. 73 (When the young American played the Indian Wells qualifying last year as a wild card, they had his name up on the practice board as “Nicholson”. They likely won’t make that mistake again. This year, he’s already qualified in Brisband and Auckland. And he defeated No. 23 Jiri Lehecka before losing to Zverev in the third round of the Australian Open.  A year ago, ranked No. 525, Michelson was playing and winning a $15K Futures event in Oklahoma.

Arthur Cazaux (FRA): No. 122 ======> No. 83 (A year ago, ranked No. 382, Cazaux was playing Challengers in Thailand during the Australian Open. He had to qualify for both, too. He ended up with one title and one final and moved up about 115 spots as a result. Fast forward, and with a reciprocal WC for the AO in hand, he won a Challenger in Nouvelle Calédonie as prep, thenn beaat Djere, Rune and Griekspoor in Melbourne before losing to Hubert Hurkacz. More than enough to fly into the top 100 for the first time).

Aleksandar Kovacevic (USA): No. 101 ======> No. 85 (A rare American with a one-handed backhand, the 25-year-old leaps into the top 100 after qualifying and winning a round at the Australian Open. It was the first time in his career that he played a Grand Slam main draw, a late start after he played collegiately at the University of Illinois).

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Brandon Nakashima (USA): No. 127 ======> No. 96 (The 22-year-old, whose career high ranking of No. 43 came in Oct. 2022, has struggled recently. But he gets himself back into the top 100 for the first time since he fell out last September with a semifinal effort at the Challenger in Louvain-La-Neuve Belgium last week, flying up there after losing in the first round of AO qualifying to Jakub Mensik. Already, Nakashima has gone from Canberra, to Melbourne, to the Canary Islands, to Belgium so far in 2024).

Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA): No. 252 ======> No. 167 (The former No. 36 from just four years ago fell into the abyss during the pandemic. And only now is slowly starting to get himself back to the player he was. He lost in the second-round of qualifying at the Australian Open to Canadian Gabriel Diallo, in a dramatic match tiebreak. But then he went to Quimper, France and won a Challenger there).

Liam Draxl (CAN): No. 306 ======> No. 298 (Draxl, 22, has been hovering around No. 300 for a few months now. and with a quarterfinal effort at a Challenger in Buenos Aires two weeks ago is back in. He was named to the Davis Cup squad that will play this weekend in Montreal after Denis Shapovalov withdrew).

Milos Raonic (CAN): No. 319 ======> No. 306 (The 10 points Raonic got for being in the Australian Open main draw were worth 13 spots to him. Although that’s sort of a drop in the bucket after hip spasms forced him to retire in his first round match against Alex de Minaur – after taking the first set. He, too, was named as a replacement on the Davis Cup squad this weekend).

Kyle Edmund (GBR): No. 537 ======> No. 410 (It’s crazy that Edmund is already 29, and that his career high of No. 14 is more than five years in the rear-view mirror. But a persistent knee injury has all but scuttled his once promising career. But he’s been hustling at the lower levels. And during the Australian Open he won a pair of $25K Futures in the U.K. that helped him move up over 100 spots).

ON THE DOWNSWING

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE): No. 7 ======> No. 10 (Tsitsipas drops 1,000 points by replacing his 2023 Australian Open final with a fourth-round this year. But he’s still in the top 10, even with a few players right behind in the rankings).

Sebastian Korda (USA): No. 26 ======> No. 33 (This one remains a conundrum, as the 23-year-old American was once spoken of in the same area code as Jannik Sinner, who won the Australian Open on Sunday. Korda hasn’t been able to break the top-20 barrier, with his career high coming last October at No. 23. He lost rather quickly in straight sets to Andrey Rublev in the third round of the AO this year).

Alexander Shevchenko (KAZ): No. 48 ======> No. 59 (Shevchenko’s big news last week was that he had switched his nationality from Russian to Kazakhstani, as many before him have done – including his doubles partner this week in Montpellier, Alexander Bublik. The interesting twist is that there’s no word (at least not yet) that his new bride, top WTA player Anastasia Potapova, has done the same. Interestingly, his coach is listed as Timur Maulenov, a Kakazh who is the same age but who is ranked 2006 on the ATP Tour).

Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN): No. 61 ======> No. 84 (Nishioka lost in the first round of the Australian Open in a tough draw against Holger Rune. So given he reached the fourth round a year ago, he drops a fair bit).

Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP): No. 72 ======> No. 101 (The 35-year-old veteran was in the top 10 as recently as a little over four years ago. But he drops out of the top 100 Monday after a tough draw and Ben Shelton in the first round. It’s been a remarkably consistent career; the last time RBA was outside the top 100 was the week before he first jumped in, in Aug. 2012).

David Goffin (BEL): No. 112 ======> No. 134 (At 33, Goffin is doing his best, playing Challengers when he has to to try to get his ranking back up. He did qualify in Melbourne, beating Diallo in three sets. But he lost in the first round of the main draw to Ugo Humbert. And last week he lost in the second round of a Challenger in Belgium to Abdullah Shelbayh. He mised the Australian Open a year ago. But then he won that same Challenger in Belgium – against, as it happens, Mikael Ymer, who is currently suspended for an anti-doping violation).

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Denis Shapovalov (CAN): No. 114 ======> No. 137 (Shapovalov was back for the Australian Open, which was very good news. But a first-round loss to Mensik meant no defence of his 2023 points. He’s skipping Davis Cup this week for the ATP 250 in Montpellier. And got off to a great start with an easy win over Hugo Gaston that featured a 237-km ace. He has Alexander Bublik next, which should be a show).

Nicolas Kicker (ARG): No. 508 ======> No. 566 (The 31-year-old’s career high of No. 78 came 6 1/2 years ago and was followed by a match-fixing suspension that kind of scuttled his career, and then some injuries. He got into the AO qualifying because he missed exactly six months – from a retirement in the RG qualies to a 15K Futures in early december – and his protected ranking was still in the top 200.But he lost in the first round and then in the first and second rounds of two Challengers in South America after he flew back following that defeat).

Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO): No. 595 ======> No. 647 (It’s not like tennis players and alleged domestic abuse hasn’t been in the news. But Basilashvili’s travails on that front have gone under the radar with news from Georgia a tough row to hoe on Google Translate, or nonexistent. It was 4 1/2 years ago when he was in the top 20. These days, he can barely win a match. He didn’t win back-to-back matches – at any level – through all of 2023, even as he started the year ranked No. 91. He had three retirements, and 12 first-round defeats. And he’s not starting 2024 any better).

Rafael Nadal (ESP): No. 446 ======> No. 649 (It was encouraging to see Rafael Nadal return in Brisbane looking in fine form. But the body wouldn’t cooperate, and he missed the Australian Open. Reports of his return during the Middle East swing feel … optimistic).

THE CANADIANS

DOUBLES RANKING

Rohan Bopanna, who turns 44 in March, is the new world No. 1 in doubles and is a Grand Slam champion for the first time in his long career. And it’s worth noting that a couple of other 40+ players have jumped into the top 10.

THE ROAD TO TURIN (Singles)

THE ROAD TO TURIN (Doubles)

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