The ATP500 tournament of Beijing has started today and the talk, this week, is whether or not Rafael Nadal will overtake the top of the rankings from Novak Djokovic.
Whether? No. When.
First of all, we have to make one thing certain: the change of the guard on top of the ATP World Tour rankings is only a matter of time. Nadal has, obviously, nothing to defend until the end of the season, whereas Djokovic still has 3,010 points to defend until the end of the season (500 in Beijing, 1,000 in Shanghai, 10 in Paris, 1,500 at the World Tour Finals).
Only 260 points separate the two players in the current rankings, and Nadal leads the Race (the year-to-date rankings) by 2,905 points.
In other words, the question is not whether there will be a change of the guard rather than when the change will take place.
How can Nadal take the number one spot in Beijing?
Rafael Nadal can overtake Novak Djokovic in the rankings as early as this week at the China Open, in Beijing.
In order to maintain his place at the top of the rankings for at least one more week, the Serbian needs to win the title for the fourth time, with Nadal not reaching the final.
Saying that Djokovic controls his destiny is true, indeed. However, if he is undefeated in Beijing, where he won every time he took part in the tournament, Nadal is, for his part, undefeated on hard court this season.
His fate in his hands… in a way
Djokovic, as we mentioned earlier, has 3,010 points to defend until the end of the season. He is thus condemned to win everything only to ensure himself of a chance to keep the top of the rankings, as the only tournaments he is scheduled to play are those in which he is defending points: Beijing, Shanghai, Paris, and London.
Nadal, on the other hand, can only make points between now and the end of the season, and he will make some, as he is scheduled to play Beijing, Shanghai, Basel, Paris, and London.
We know that the Serbian likes and works in order to finish the year number one. However, he has, right now, an immense load of pressure on his shoulders only to remain in contention for it.
Then again, even that might not be enough for the Serbian.
Get ready to see a “new” World n°1 within the next few weeks.
(Photos: Getty Images)