In one of the biggest changes in the ATP ranking structure, the men's professional ranking list has diminished from 2042 to just 679 names in a matter of a week, with the big majority of the players losing their ATP points earned on the Futures level to move to the ITF World Tennis Rankings instead.
This step was taken to distant the upcoming youngsters from the players who will hardly ever more from the entry level of the ITF Tour, allowing them to reach the Challengers main draw easily (from 32, Challenger draw have been extended to 48 places, with a few spots reserved for juniors and the best players from the ITF Rankings).
Thus, we have less than 700 players who have earned at list one ATP point on the ATP Tour, Challengers on the latter stages of the $25,000 Futures who are also offering points in 2019. The opening week of the new season saw three ATP tournaments and three Challengers and we have seen the first changes in the top-20 before more serious shifts after the opening Grand Slam of the season in Melbourne.
Novak Djokovic was beaten in the semi-final in Doha but he is still the leader of the pack ahead of Rafael Nadal who was forced to skip Brisbane in order to get ready for Melbourne. Roger Federer is another 1000 points behind Nadal and he will seek title defense at the Australian Open following the record-breaking third Hopman Cup crown in Perth.
The young German Alexander Zverev stayed fourth but he is in doubt for the Australian Open after suffering a hamstring injury during practice at the World Tennis Challenge in Adelaide, missing the rest of the week and hoping for the best before he takes a trip to Melbourne.
Juan Martin del Potro is still recovering from a knee injury that ruled him out from the opening Grand Slam of the year, standing 500 points clear ahead of Kevin Anderson who won the title in Pune after a great battle with Ivo Karlovic, who is the oldest-ranked player in the world on this reduced ATP list.
Marin Cilic was forced to withdraw from Pune with a knee injury and he is just 65 points clear of Dominic Thiem who is not playing in the opening two weeks of the new year. Kei Nishikori stayed ninth but he added more points to his tally after winning the title in Brisbane, his first in almost three years, creating a gap to John Isner who will try to reduce that this week in Auckland where he is the top seed.
There were no changes in the top-16 and the first player who gained the position is Milos Raonic, passing Diego Schwartzman together with Marco Cecchinato while there is no Grigor Dimitrov's name in the top-20 for the first time since October 2016.
Nikoloz Basilashvili passed the Bulgarian after a solid run in Doha where he almost defeated Novak Djokovic to enter the elite group for the first time in his career. Brisbane quarter-finalist Alex de Minaur is in the top-30 for the first time, hoping to add more points to his tally in Sydney this week but already securing the place among the seeds in Melbourne.
Nick Kyrgios has dropped out from the top-50 for the first time since February 2015 and the biggest mover in the top-100 is Pune finalist Ivo Karlovic who returns into the top-70. Top 20 ranking:
1. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 9135 2. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 7480 3. Roger Federer (SUI) 6420 4. Alexander Zverev (GER) 6385 5. Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) 5300 6. Kevin Anderson (RSA) 4810 7. Marin Cilic (CRO) 4160 8. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 4095 9. Kei Nishikori (JPN) 3750 10. John Isner (USA) 3155 11. Karen Khachanov (RUS) 2835 12. Borna Coric (CRO) 2435 13. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 2315 14. Kyle Edmund (GBR) 2150 15. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 2095 16. Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 2037 17. Milos Raonic (CAN) 1900 18. Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 1889 19. Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 1880 20. Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 1820