ATP 1st Quarter Power Rankings

Novak Djokovic, leader of the ATP Power Rankings

With the ATP season now well underway, albeit currently suspended until at least April due to the coronavirus pandemic, it seemed an appropriate time to look back at how the tour’s best had started their 2020 campaigns. So, using predominantly their performances in the first seven tournaments of the year but also their past form and current ranking-point hauls, here are the leaders in Last Word On Tennis’ first quarter ATP power rankings:

ATP Player Power Rankings

16 – Dan Evans

A number of players have enjoyed good weeks on the ATP Tour without managing to convert that into a consistent string of results. But Britain’s Dan Evans, though he has not won a title this season, does not fall under that category. He’s climbed to a career-high ranking of world #28 and reached quarterfinals in Adelaide and Rotterdam as well as the last four in Dubai. His second-round loss at Melbourne Park keeps him from placing higher, but it has been a fine start to 2020 for Evans.
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15 – Roberto Bautista Agut

Roberto Bautista Agut enjoyed a magnificent 2019, highlighted by his run to the semifinals at Wimbledon (which caused the postponement of his bachelor party) and Spain’s Davis Cup Finals triumph. His efforts at the latter tournament were made all the more impressive by the death of his father just days before his first match in Madrid. So far in 2020, he hasn’t quite managed to back those results up, but his 9-3 record is respectable enough even if he has lost three of his last four matches.
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14 – Vasek Pospisil

After returning from injury in 2019, Vasek Pospisil has been working his way back to his best and the results are starting to come for the Canadian. He made a solid end to 2019 and has already reached two tour-level finals this season. His first-round loss at the Australian Open will doubtless be a disappointment, but the big-serving Ivo Karlovic is never an easy opponent. And whilst Pospisil is ranked 93rd in the world, with no points to defend until Wimbledon, don’t be surprised to see him climb the rankings quickly.
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13 – Cristian Garin

It’s hard to know exactly what to make of Cristian Garin. The Chilean has posted some very impressive results at some of the smaller clay-court events, even winning the ATP 500 Rio Open. But he has also, as of yet, failed to reach the third round at a Major and he has never won a title away from the clay, on the ATP Tour or at Challenger and Futures-level. So whilst he may be a threat during the truncated European clay-court swing, don’t expect him to offer too much threat on hard courts and the grass.
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12 – Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios remains a controversial figure, but he’s played some fine tennis in 2020, reaching the ATP Cup semifinals with Australia and the second week at Melbourne Park, where it took some of Rafael Nadal’s best tennis to stop him. He has been battling fitness concerns since, with his title defence at the Mexican Open ending in a first-round retirement. But the break in play should allow him to recover his fitness and the Australian could enjoy a strong second half to the season.
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11 – Stan Wawrinka

The scale of Stan Wawrinka’s achievements are sometimes overlooked. He is after all a three-time Major champion and although he may not be quite the force he once was, he remains a solid professional. The Swiss started his 2020 campaign with a run to the semifinals in Doha and he backed that up by reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals. If he can build up a head of steam when play resumes on the ATP Tour, don’t expect to find many players eager to face him.
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10 – Félix Auger-Aliassime

Felix Auger-Aliassime played some excellent tennis during the brief European indoor swing, reaching the final in both Rotterdam and Marseille. He will doubtless have been disappointed to lose both, taking his tally of final defeats to five, but it was nonetheless another mark of progress for the young gun. A deep run at a Grand Slam remains elusive, with Auger-Aliassime yet to progress beyond the third round at a Major. But the future is bright for the teenager, particularly if he proves able to learn from his mistakes.
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9 – Andrey Rublev

Andrey Rublev looked almost unbeatable in the first two weeks of 2020. In fact, he went unbeaten, winning titles at the Qatar Open and the Adelaide International. But he fell short at the Australian Open in the fourth round, losing in straight-sets to Alexander Zverev. Nonetheless, his efforts have earned him a place in the world’s top 20 and although his form stuttered in Rotterdam and Dubai, he could yet challenge Daniil Medvedev for the title of Russian #1.
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8 – Alexander Zverev

Zverev had a disappointing week at the ATP Cup, losing all three singles matches he played as Germany crashed out at the round-robin stage. But two weeks later, having offered to donate the entirety of his Australian Open prize money haul to the bushfire relief appeals, he ended up enjoying the best fortnight of his career, reaching the semifinals. He did follow that with a second-round loss at the Mexican Open, but it still seems certain that his efforts in Melbourne mark a major breakthrough for the German.
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7 – Stefanos Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas made a rather indifferent start to the season. He failed to lead Greece out of the round-robin stage at the ATP Cup and then lost in the third round at the Australian Open. But he turned things around in Marseille, winning the title at the Open 13 for the second consecutive year, and he then reached the final at the Dubai Tennis Championships. That said, the Greek still has his work cut out if he wishes to dethrone the Big Three and make an impact at the Majors.
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6 – Gael Monfils

For much of his career, despite his abundant talent, Gael Monfils failed to consistently challenge the very best in the sport. That was in part due to a succession of injuries, but the Frenchman also appeared, at times, to be more interested in appearing on the highlight reel than breaking into the winner’s circle. This season, however, he has won back-to-back titles in Montpellier and Rotterdam, as well as reaching the fourth round in Melbourne and the semifinals in Dubai, all without losing any of his trademark qualities as a shot-maker, with his partner Elina Svitolina perhaps a calming influence. But it is still hard to see him winning that elusive Major title.
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5 – Daniil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev enjoyed a career-best year in 2019, highlighted by a magical late season run that took him to back-to-back Masters 1000 titles in Cincinnati and Shanghai and the US Open final. Heading into 2020, he looked well-placed to offer a serious challenge to the hegemony of the Big Three. But although he played well at the ATP Cup, where Russia lost to the Serbians in the semifinals, he has failed to live up to those expectations so far this season. That said, form is temporary but class is permanent. Expect the Russian to bounce back before too long.
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4 – Roger Federer

By Roger Federer’s lofty standards, it has been a disappointing start to the year. The Swiss did reach the semifinals at the Australian Open, battling hard to do so, but was dispatched relatively comfortably there by his great rival Novak Djokovic. And his exertions in Melbourne saw him pick up a knee injury, which required surgery and has ruled him out until the grass-court season. But with play now suspended on the ATP Tour until at least late April, Federer’s timing may well have proven as good as ever.
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3 – Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem played some fine tennis at the back-end of 2019, winning titles in Beijing and Vienna before finishing as runner-up at the ATP Finals in London. And although he failed to fire at the ATP Cup, he was excellent at Melbourne Park, where he reached the final, scoring wins over Monfils, Nadal and Zverev en route. He ultimately fell just short there against Djokovic, despite leading two sets to one, but it was an impressive fortnight for the Austrian all the same. It increasingly feels that it is a matter of when, not if, Thiem wins his first Major title.
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2 – Rafael Nadal

Nadal was not at his very best at the Australian Open, losing in the quarterfinals after a good showing at the ATP Cup. But he rebounded from that disappointment swiftly at the Mexican Open, where he won the 85th title of his glittering career. He may well be frustrated by the dent placed in the European clay-court swing by the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen play suspended for six weeks, but if he does get onto court on the terre battue, expect him to be a hard man to stop.
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1 – Novak Djokovic

Only one man could occupy top spot in these rankings and, unsurprisingly, it’s the same player who occupies the ATP rankings penthouse. Djokovic has not yet lost this season in singles, posting an 18-0 record that has taken him to titles at the Australian Open and in Dubai, as well as spearheading Serbia’s successful ATP Cup campaign. And whilst he may not be as revered as Federer and Nadal, he is fast closing in on them in terms of on-court achievements. Perhaps with the exception of on the clay, he looks likely to be the favourite at every tournament he enters.

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