(Hey y'all, please welcome author and fellow tennis freak Richard Dedor. He's a new contributor to Down the Line! and will be discussing rankings and points for the blog. Enjoy!)
Not much can change at the top of the ATP this week in Madrid. Nadal is the defending champion so 1,000 points are on the line, but with a cushion of nearly 3,000 points he is going to make it to Paris solid. Novak Djokovic, on the other hand, has the best chance of anyone to make a big move this week. He has zero, take that zero points to defend in Madrid so look for him to remain No. 2. Roger Federer is a little more than 1,000 points behind Djokovic and has 600 (finalist) points to defend. With his play of late, I would look for him to lose some points this week. Finally, Andy Murray, who is coming off an elbow injury has quarterfinal points to defend but his movement will be negligible no matter what happens.
The biggest change in the WTA in Madrid can come from Kim Clijsters' absence. Even though she didn't play Rome and, thus, won't lose any points, she could be passed by No. 3 ranked Vera Zvonareva. (Yes I said Rome ... due to a scheduling change, Rome points or 16th best come off this week.) Caroline Wozniacki can seriously pad her ranking with a good showing in Madrid; with an 1,800 point lead, a win, or just a strong showing (she only has 125 points to defend) in Madrid would make the No. 1 ranking going into Wimbledon almost a sure bet. The players ranked between 4-8 could see the most movement: No. 4 Francesca Schiavone currently has 4,892 points followed by Victoria Azarenka, Sam Stosur, Na Li and Jelena Jankovic who all fall between Schiavone and 4,235 points. A win or good showing by any of them could shake up the rankings heading into Paris.
About Richard: A life-long tennis fan, Richard offers thoughts on rankings for both the ATP and WTA. He runs a tennis blog, The Let Tennis, and is the author of two books, including his latest, Anything is Possible. You can visit his website at http://richarddedor.com.