The updated ATP ranking list after Dubai, Acapulco and Santiago saw no changes at the very top, with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal taking 500 points to extend their no. 1 battle to Indian Wells and Miami. On the other hand, we have a new player in the top-3, with Dominic Thiem moving ahead of Roger Federer who is out from the mentioned group for the first time since May 2019.
At the age of 38, Federer is still among the best players in the world and will remain in the top-10 once he makes a return in Halle in June, suffering a knee injury and undergoing surgery that prevented him from playing in Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami and Roland Garros.
Losing 500 points from Dubai last year, Federer couldn't stay ahead of the Austrian anymore, with Thiem wasting a chance to pass him a week earlier after failing to reach the semi-final in Rio de Janeiro. The Swiss star had some notable results in the last 12 months, losing the final to Thiem in Indian Wells before winning the crown in Miami, extending his record as by far the oldest Masters 1000 champion.
Roger was also the semi-finalist at Roland Garros and the finalist at Wimbledon, losing those matches to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, squandering a massive opportunity to lift the ninth Wimbledon crown after wasting two match points.
The Swiss was also the quarter-finalist at the US Open, winning the title in Basel (another ATP 500 crown after Halle in June) and advancing into the semi-final at the ATP Finals for a strong finish of the season. Roger was the semi-finalist at the Australian Open at the beginning of the new season, struggling with groin and knee injuries and battling past John Millman and Tennys Sandgren before losing in the semis to Djokovic.
On the other hand, Thiem has been working hard in the past year to achieve this career-high ranking position and become only the 11th active player in the top-3, making the necessary corrections on hard court and claiming his first Masters 1000 trophy in Indian Wells last year, prevailing against Roger in the deciding set.
The Austrian was also the champion in Barcelona and the finalist at Roland Garros for the second year in a row, beaten by Rafael Nadal in four sets. Thiem won the title at home in Kitzbuhel in August but his game wasn't on a high level in those months, restoring it in Beijing and Vienna to add 1000 points to his tally and become a contender for the ATP Finals crown, experiencing a heartbreaking loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the deciding set tie break.
The Austrian won only one match at the ATP Cup, saving the best tennis for the Australian Open where he toppled Gael Monfils, Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev en route to the third Major final, opening two sets to one lead against Djokovic before losing in five sets.
With those 1200 points, Thiem became a favorite to pass Roger Federer sooner rather than later, achieving that on Monday to join the names like Andy Roddick, David Ferrer, Stan Wawrinka, Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov and Juan Martin del Potro to crack the top-3 outside the 'big 4' since July 2007.