Former world no. 8 Janko Tipsarevic believes that Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will rule the ATP ranking again in 2021. The Serb is confident that his compatriot will secure the seventh year-end no. 1 honor this year ahead of Rafa, who should remain in front of Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Tipsarevic stated that he still considers Novak the dominant figure on hard, praising Rafa's records on clay but saying that Djokovic can beat him on the slowest surface. In the previous three years, Nadal and Djokovic finished in the top-2 to earn ranking records, standing second and third behind Roger on the oldest year-end top-2 list.
At 34 years and six months, Nadal is Federer's closest rival, securing the fourth consecutive top-2 season and the record-breaking 12th overall, leaving the Swiss on 11. Like in 2018 and 2019, Nadal spent the entire year in the top-2, losing the ATP throne to Novak Djokovic following the Australian Open quarter-final loss to Dominic Thiem but settling in the second place.
Rafa bounced back in the closing stages of the season and secured the 20th Major title at Roland Garros after defeating Djokovic in the title clash. Thiem had the opportunity to move in front of the Spaniard, but that didn't happen, leaving Rafa in the exclusive group and sending him closer to Federer's age record.
On the other hand, Djokovic became the third-oldest year-end top-2 player, passing Nadal after Melbourne and securing the sixth year-end no. 1 honor that moved him ahead of Federer and Nadal.
Janko Tipsarevic backs Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to stay at the top in 2021.
At 33 years and seven months, Novak will have the opportunity to chase Federer's record in the upcoming years, feeling eager to extend his career and pursue his greatest rivals in the GOAT race.
Djokovic currently stands on 17 Major titles, winning one trophy in 2020 and failing to repeat that in New York and Paris. Novak has a nice lead over Nadal, Thiem, and the rest of the field, preparing for the new season and seeking the ninth Australian Open crown in February.
"I would say that Novak Djokovic is still the dominant figure on the hard court, like Rafael Nadal on clay. In fact, Novak can beat Rafa on clay, and I can't say that Nadal would have had the advantage against the younger players at the Australian Open.
Still, Rafa has proved us all wrong many times, and we can't rule him out. If they avoid injuries, I believe they will finish the 2021 season in the top-2, Novak at the top and Rafa in second place," Janko Tipsarevic said.