Since February 2004, only four players have been able to sit on the ATP throne. Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray have dominated the rankings like every other segment of the men's tennis in the past 16 years, with no one standing close enough to battle them for the top of the standings.
That could change in 2021, with Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev announcing themselves as Novak Djokovic's and Rafael Nadal's main rivals for the no. 1 spot in the season ahead of us. Thiem claimed his first Major crown at the US Open and reached the ATP Finals title match, barely missing a chance to move in front of the Spaniard and finish the year inside the top-2.
On the other hand, Medvedev had a stellar ride in 2019 that led him towards almost 60 wins and four ATP titles, including back-to-back ones at the Masters 1000 level. The Moscow native couldn't repeat that in the opening months of the crippled 2020 season, heading to the Paris Masters with a mediocre 18-10 score and no top-10 wins under his belt.
Saving his A-game for the closing stages, Medvedev conquered the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals, earning 2500 points and rattling off seven top-10 triumphs to finish the season in the top-4. In the French capital, Medvedev defeated Diego Schwartzman, Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev in the last three encounters, losing the opening set against the German but playing better and better as the match progressed to lift the third Masters 1000 crown.
A year ago, Daniil stayed without a win on his ATP Finals debut, changing all that last week to overpower all five rivals and earn the most significant title of his young career. The Russian wrote the record books as the fourth Open era player with a victory over all three world's leading players in the same tournament, following Boris Becker, Novak Djokovic and David Nalbandian.
Daniil Medvedev won his first ATP Finals crown over Dominic Thiem.
Daniil was the player to beat in the round-robin stage, defeating Alexander Zverev, Novak Djokovic and Diego Schwartzman to advance into the semis with 600 points on his tally.
In the semis, Rafael Nadal was a game away from beating Medvedev in straight sets before the Russian raised his level to claim a 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 win and set the clash against Dominic Thiem. The season's final match lasted for two hours and 42 minutes, and Daniil prevailed 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, winning three points more than the Austrian and passing all the obstacles to lift the trophy.
The Russian stayed alive in the last moment of the second set, gaining momentum and playing well in the decider to celebrate his career's fourth notable title. After the match, Medvedev said he would give his best to challenge Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in 2021 and become world no.
1 at some point. "It's still a long way to get to the top of the ATP rankings. You have to complete the season ahead of all the others to earn the year-end no. 1 honor; sometimes it takes 8,000 points for that task, and in other years, even 12,000 is not enough.
It all depends on me, and if I play more tournaments like in Paris and London, I will have the opportunity to take the ATP throne. It will not be easy to achieve that goal with Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic still looking strong on the court, but I will give my best," Daniil Medvedev said.