Now, a week later and movement in the men’s game continues.
Daniil Medvedev, the recent Australian Open finalist, and last year’s ATP Finals champion forged a career milestone when he reached a career high ranking of two in the world. The Russian displaced Rafa Nadal who slipped one spot to three; the last time Nadal was ranked three was exactly six years ago on 23 March 2015.
There is great significance in this because no player other than Djokovic, Roger Federer, Nadal and Andy Murray has been ranked two in the world since 25 July 2005.
“This is obviously a huge step for me,” Medvedev said to We Are Tennis. “As a junior, when you start to think about going pro, one does think about certain steps; Top 100, top 50, top 10. Now being No.2 is kind of a result of not just one or two good tournaments but really a good two years.”
The last non-Big 4 player to be ranked No.2 was Australian Lleyton Hewitt. He was ranked two the week of 18 July 2005 and the last time he held that position was 24 July 2005. It was Nadal who replaced Hewitt on 25 July.
That calculates to over 15 years or 793 weeks or 5,712 days, which further emphasises the incredible domination those four men have enjoyed in the game.
“It is incredible to realise that it took 15 years for anyone else than the big four to be in this spot,” Medvedev added. “At the US Open in 2019 I said, when they made the video of Rafa winning moments, it’s incredible and also shows how this next generation is only at the beginning.”
That US Open final for the Russian could be regarded as the start for the next brigade. Since then, there have been plenty of signs that the young ones are making inroads which shows there is more consistency in their games.
While the likes of Medvedev or Dominic Thiem or Stefanos Tsitsipas are not going to assume control in the next month or two, what they are doing is loudly announcing they are on the scene and ready to meet the challenges that will continue to see changes happening.
Medvedev being the new World No.2 is the perfect example.
That can only be exciting for men’s tennis. All these guys have the ability, the drive and determination and personalities to propel men’s tennis into the next era.
“I have such big respect for those guys winning all these Slams; I have now played two finals and can see, feel, and realise how tough it is to win Grand Slams,” Medvedev said. “The best part of the journey for me is that I am still improving. I am working hard and am hungry. So hopefully there is more to come. This is definitely a good confidence booster.”
Daniil Medvedev will be a great ambassador for men’s tennis when he does reach No.1, but for now breaking the quartet is not half bad at all.
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