The sight of Novak Djokovic at No 2 in the tennis rankings is a shock after his incredible reign at the top, but it may be a reality that becomes the norm sooner rather than later.
Djokovic’s achievement of staying on top of the ATP rankings for more than 100 weeks longer than any player in the open era may be an even more remarkable achievement than his record-breaking haul of 24 Grand Slam titles.
Yet at the age of 36 and with Djokovic playing an increasingly limited tournament schedule, he may struggle to hang onto the top spot in the official ATP rankings through to the end of 2024.
The Serbian’s stunning success in the biggest tournaments in tennis means he has managed to fend of his rivals in the rankings over the last few years, other than when he was banned from entering events due to his Covid vaccine status as Carlos Alcaraz took over as world No 1.
Yet the UTR rankings offer an alternative version of the current form in tennis and by their calculations, Djokovic’s reign as the best player in the world is already over.
Jannik Sinner’s Australian Open victory and, significantly, his win against Djokovic in the semi-finals in Melbourne ensured he would take over as the new No 1 in the UTR list with Djokovic sliding down to the No 2 spot.
That ranking has now been confirmed in the updated list, with Sinner heading into this week’s Rotterdam Open with a chance to confirm his status as the best player in the world.
SINNER ON 🔝🔥👑
Thoughts on our NEW men’s Top 10 Rankings? 🎾 pic.twitter.com/0bgYzrFiwD
— UTR Sports (@UTR_Sports_) February 12, 2024
The method for calculating the UTR ratings differs greatly from the rolling ATP list, which ranks players based on the points they collect over 52 weeks.
Victories against higher-ranked played are worth more in the UTR list than the official ATP or WTA ranking, meaning they offer up a more accurate reflection of the current form at the top of the game.
The UTR rankings are based on the current form from the last few weeks and months rather than reflecting results that occurred up to a year ago, with the system created to promote fair and competitive play across the tennis world.
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The UTR rankings are endorsed by Djokovic and he made these comments that suggest he believes they are more accurate to assess current form than the ATP list.
“The UTR Rating is the best way to measure yourself against all other players regardless of their age or skill level,” stated Djokovic.
Sinner has spoken about his desire to claim the world No 1 ranking at some stage of his career, with his rapid progress up the game’s ladder in recent months adding to the belief that he is on his way to becoming one of the leaders of the next generation after Djokovic.
“Let’s see. I don’t like to talk about ranking,” said Sinner earlier this week.
“I just try to be happy on the court and improve as a player right? That’s the only thing I can control. And then the rest you cannot control the uncontrollable.
“For sure, my dream is to become No 1 in the world, and I will work as hard as possible.”