Can Rafael Nadal be world no.1 again?
by LORENZO CIOTTI | VIEW 21117
If there was also the award for the best athlete of the month in tennis, surely the months of January and February would undoubtedly go to Rafael Nadal who took home all three tournaments in which he participated: the 250 of Melbourne Summer Set, the unexpected Australian Open with a finale worthy of a cinematic masterpiece and the 500 in Acapulco where he did not lose a single set by beating the current world number one Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals, twice and within a few weeks.
Speaking of the top of the ATP ranking, we know well that it is no longer a primary goal on the part of the Majorcan as he explained in one of the press conferences, during the Mexican tournament, that given his age and the problems his programming has had.
built week by week and there are not many tournaments in which he will be able to participate. Francis Roig himself, his long-time member of the staff, spoke about this aspect in an interview a few days ago: "Rafa will not condition his calendar to play more tournaments and look for the number one.
It's something that exists naturally, but it's not really the goal, it's more a consequence." Let us now try to understand what the consequences could be for this situation to develop and happen. Of the current top 5 in the world rankings, the one who will have to defend the most points from Indian Wells up to the Roland Garros, 4,060, is Stefanos Tsitsipas.
For the Greek, therefore, it seems very complicated that he can concretely fight for the first position in the world ranking. In the next two American tournaments Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic (who, however, should not participate due to the well-known events related to his non-vaccine at Covid-19), Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas will not have as many points to defend as none of them last season has collected a lot between Indian Wells and Miami, so much so that the Spaniard and the Serbian did not even participate.
The points that Nadal will have to defend
Let's come to Rafael Nadal: his presence at the Indian Wells is certain and could earn a nice hoard of points that could increase even more if he participated in the other 1000 in Florida but if the Majorcan arrives all the way in California the hopes of seeing him at Miami are almost non-existent.
On clay-courts, if it is true that Nadal will have to defend a good haul of points, it is also true that there are not so many compared to what he has accustomed us to in other years. To be exact, the points to defend are 2,860.
After the French open, the picture could be much clearer as the twenty-one time slam winner will have nothing left to defend and will have everything to gain as he had to stop last year with a foot injury and miss the second part of the season.
Whether Rafa can aspire to return to number one in the world at the age of 36, a lot will depend on what he will do on clay, where he has been nominated unanimously for some time ago for titles won and for the style of play the king of clay.