How Can Rafael Nadal Stop Novak Djokovic From Breaking Roger Federer’s World No.1 Record?




Novak Djokovic has been the World No.1 since February 3rd, 2020. Since then, Djokovic has surpassed the iconic mark of 300 weeks as World No.1. Now Djokovic is now chasing Roger Federer’s record of 310 weeks as the World No.1. Now only Rafael Nadal has the chance to dethrone him. So how can Nadal stop Djokovic from breaking Federer’s record?

As of 29th January 2021, Djokovic is in his 306th week as the World No.1. And now Rafael Nadal has a small chance of crossing Djokovic just before the Serbian’s stipulated date of breaking Federer‘s record on the 8th of March 2021.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates winning a point. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Now Djokovic won’t be losing any points as the ATP rankings have been frozen because of the coronavirus pandemic. Plus, Djokovic won’t add any points as well because he already has maximum points at the ATP Cup and Australian Open.

So Djokovic currently stands at 12,030 ranking points. And Nadal is at 9850 points. Now Nadal needs at least 2180 points to become World No.1.

How can Rafael Nadal save Roger Federer’s record?

Nadal has three tournaments to conquer in order to become World No.1 before 8th March. And the major chunk of points will have to come from the Australian Open and the Rotterdam Open.

Rafael Nadal last won the Australian Open back in 2009 against Roger Federer. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images for Laver Cup)

So the straightforward way for Nadal to reach Djokovic’s point haul is earning the maximum points he can earn at the Aus Open 2021, that is, 1640. Then 500 points from Rotterdam Open, and at least 40 points more than what he got from the 2020 ATP Cup.

Why winning the ATP Cup 2021 is important for Rafa Nadal?

The ATP Cup begins on the 2nd of February. But Nadal will need to better his 2020 points haul of 250 points to get more points, thus essentially meaning he will have to win 290 points or more.

The tournament has a very varied system to award ranking points, thus Nadal can receive a wide variety of points from the event. At the ATP Cup, players receive points depending on the stage at which they play their opponents and the ranking of their opponents. Right now the group stage opponents of Nadal are known, so the points to be earned against them can be determined.

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Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Rafael Nadal at the 2020 ATP Cup. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

In the group stage, Nadal’s Spain will play against Australia and Greece. Nadal will play 23rd ranked Alex De Minaur of Australia and 6th ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece respectively in the group stage. Winning against them will give him a total of 125 points. But earning 290 points or more is only possible if Spain reaches the final and Nadal wins the subsequent semifinal and final matches.

Rafa Nadal will have to achieve the double career Grand Slam at the Australian Open 2021 to dethrone Novak Djokovic

Nadal made it into the quarterfinals of the Australian Open 2020. Thus he earned 360 points. So if he wins the Australian Open 2021, he will better the 360 points earned in 2020, earning a further 1640 points and making a total of 2000 points.

Rafael Nadal of Spain returns the ball. (Photo by Jason Heidrich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The third and last event that Nadal has to win is the Rotterdam Open. Nadal returns to Rotterdam after 14 years and it is an ATP 500 event. Thus if Nadal wins Rotterdam Open, he gets 500 points.

So winning the ATP Cup, Australian Open, and Rotterdam Open solves the ranking jigsaw and gives Nadal the World No.1 ranking.

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