By Jürgen Fritz, Mon 17 Mai 2021, Cover picture: © JFB
Rafael Nadal won the Masters tournament in Rome (C) for the tenth time with a final victory over defending champion Novak Djokovic. In the JFB 52 Week Tennis World Ranking, the clay court king rises from 6 to 4 with only 8 tournaments played, but Djokovic drops from 1 to 2. The new leader is ATP Finals champion Daniil Medvedev. And his compatriot Aslan Karatsev enters the top ten for the first time.
Nadal an Djokovic reign in Rome and have done so for the last 17 years, but the king of Rome is Rafa
The Rome Masters is the most important clay court tournament in the world after Roland Garros. For the 17th year in a row, we will see either Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic or both in the men’s singles final. Since 2005, either Nadal or Djokovic or both have always been in the Rome final, and this year is no exception, the 17th time in a row. This is the ninth time the two tennis giants have met at this tournament, the 57th time ever. Nadal beat Djokovic in Rome for the sixth time, and for the 28th time overall (head to head now: 28-29). In a high-class match, he prevailed 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 to win the Rome Masters title for the tenth time in his twelfth final, while Djokovic lost for the sixth time in his eleventh final.
Rom Masters: Final matches of the last 17 years
- 2005: Rafael Nadal – Guillermo Coria: 3-2
- 2006: Rafael Nadal -Roger Federer: 3-2
- 2007: Rafael Nadal – Fernando Gonzales: 2-0
- 2008: Novak Djokovic – Stanislas Wawrinka: 2-1
- 2009: Rafael Nadal – Novak Djokovic: 2-0
- 2010: Rafael Nadal – David Ferrer: 2-0
- 2011: Novak Djokovic – Rafael Nadal: 2-0
- 2012: Rafael Nadal – Novak Djokovic: 2-0
- 2013: Rafael Nadal – Roger Federer: 2-0
- 2014: Novak Djokovic – Rafael Nadal: 2-1
- 2015: Novak Djokovic – Roger Federer: 2-0
- 2016: Andy Murray – Novak Djokovic: 2-0
- 2017: Alexander Zverev – Novak Djokovic: 2-0
- 2018: Rafael Nadal – Alexander Zverev: 2-1
- 2019: Rafael Nadal – Novak Djokovic: 2-1
- 2020: Novak Djokovic – Diego Schwartzman: 2-0
- 2021: Rafael Nadal – Novak Djokovic: 2-1
Nadal’s 36th Masters win and his 88th tournament victory overall
This was also Rafa’s 36th Masters title. He thus caught up with Djokovic, the world record holder, in this category*:
- Noval Djokovic: 36 (more finals reached: 53)
- Rafael Nadal: 36 (finals reached: 52)
- Roger Federer: 28
- Andre Agassi: 17
- Andy Murray: 14
- Pete Sampras: 11
*The Masters tournament series has only existed since 1990.
The victory in Rome yesterday was also Nadal’s 88th tournament win overall and that earns him 400 points in the JFB Ranking.
Tournament wins of the top seven plus Federer
A tournaments: the four Grand Slam events – B tournaments: the Olympic Games and the ATP Finals – C tournaments: the nine Masters 1000 – D tournaments: the 13 ATP 500s – E tournaments: the 40 or so ATP 250s
- Roger Federer (39 years): 103 tournament wins ==> 20 A – 6 B – 28 C – 24 D – 25 E
- Rafael Nadal (34): 88 tournament wins ==> 20 – 1 – 36 – 22 – 9
- Novak Djokovic (33): 82 tournament wins ==> 18 – 5 – 36 – 14 – 9
- Dominic Thiem (27): 17 tournament wins ==> 1 – 0 – 1 – 5 – 10
- Alexander Zverev (24): 15 tournament wins ==> 0 – 1 – 4 – 3 – 7
- Daniil Medvedev (25): 10 tournament wins ==> 0 – 1 – 3 – 1 – 5
- Andrey Rublev (23): 8 tournament wins ==> 0 – 0 – 0 – 4 – 4
- Stefanos Tsitsipas (22): 6 tournament wins ==> 0 – 1 – 1 – 0 – 4
In terms of major tournament wins, Rafael Nadal has now narrowly overtaken Roger Federer with his two victories in Barcelona (D: ATP 500) and Rome (C: Masters 1000).
The JFB 52 Week Tennis World Rankings as of 17 May 2021
And here’s how the JFB 52 Week Tennis World Rankings look after Rome:
As you can see, the top seven are playing in a league of their own. They all have about two to three times as many points as number eight.
Novak Djokovic, who did not compete in Rotterdam (D), Dubai or Acapulco (D), Miami (C) and Madrid (C), was eliminated early in Monte Carlo (C) and Belgrade (E) and now could not defend his title in Rome (C), now drops from 1 to 2 in the 52-week ranking. Djokovic now has only two tournament wins in the last 52 weeks: Cincinnati (C) and the Australian Open (A).
Rafael Nadal, on the other hand, rises from 6 to 4 with only 8 tournaments played in the last twelve months or since the resumption of play in August 2020. Nadal has since lost the fewest matches of all Top 30 players (6) and has the best match record of all: 30-6 (5-1). With only eight tournaments played, he has scored more points than Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev, almost as many as Andrey Rublev, who have all played at least twice as many tournaments as Rafa. However, Nadal has to defend his title and thus 100 points in Roland Garros in June.
Daniil Medvedev is currently playing very moderately on clay, benefiting mainly from his successes at the US Open (semi-finals), his tournament victories in Paris-Bercy (C), at the ATP Finals (B), the ATP Cup (T) and in Marseille (E) as well as his appearance in the final of the Australian Open. However, since he has no points to defend in the clay tournaments, he cannot deteriorate, in fact he usually improves with every single match win.
Andrey Rublev has won the most matches and the most tournaments in the last 52 weeks, but his points will soon be deducted because he has already played 18 tournaments since August and has only one zero-point deduction. From then on, with every good tournament result, another tournament will be cancelled, while Nadal (8 tournaments played), Raonic (9), Coric (9), Djokovic (10), Thiem (11) and Berrittini (11), for example, still have plenty of breathing space and improve their score with every match win.
The new discovery of the year, however, is certainly the compatriot of Medvedev and Rublev Aslan Karatsev, who still played Challenger tournaments (F, G, H) last year. With his two victories in Rome, most recently in R32 against Medvedev, he climbs into the top ten of the JFB 52 Week Tennis World Ranking for the first time. And Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego, who reached the semi-finals in Rome after wins over Thiem and Rublev, rises from 22 to 17 to join the top 20.
Tsitsipas and Thiem, who both won only one tournament in the last 52 weeks, will start in Lyon (E) this week, Djokovic next week in his hometown Belgrade (E), so they can collect some points before the French Open. And Roger Federer will start the clay season in Geneva this week.
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