Google Down the Line!: RICHARD'S RANKINGS: All eyes on Roland Garros

Friday, May 20, 2011

RICHARD'S RANKINGS: All eyes on Roland Garros

Roland Garros
ATP World Tour, WTA tour: Grand Slam
Defending champions: Rafael Nadal, Francesca Schiavone

Everyone wants to know what might happen during the French Open in the men's rankings. I've pored over the numbers so let me get this out of the way: If the “on fire” (can we even call it that anymore?) Novak Djokovic makes the final against anyone, including Rafael Nadal, he will secure the No. 1 ranking, whether he wins the title or not. This calculation diminishes their potential match-up a little bit, but the numbers don't lie. So why is it possible? Well, Nadal has 2,000 points to defend compared to 360 for Djokovic. Simple as that.

Moving on in the men's rankings, no matter what happens above or below him, Roger Federer will end the French Open as the No. 3 player in the world. However, if he is bounced in the first round and Andy Murray wins the entire tournament, only 35 points would separate them afterward. The most movement is likely in the 4th – 7th ranking spots, which represents Murray, Robin Soderling, Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer, respectively. For instance, if Murray is bounced in the first round and David Ferrer wins the whole tournament, he would leap into Murray's No. 4 spot. That's how close they are. The player who could take a big fall is Robin Soderling. He is currently at No. 5, but with 1,200 points to defend as last year’s finalist, he is in real danger of slipping out of the top eight.

For the women, there is a slight chance they could see a new World No. 1 in Paris. Caroline Wozniacki can hold the spot if: 1) she wins Brussels and reaches the RG quarterfinals 2) loses Brussels but reaches the semifinals in Paris. In any case, Kim Clijsters would need to win the title to have any shot of overtaking her. Vera Zvonereva will at least hold her No. 3 ranking; but, with a little luck, she could take back the No. 2 spot from Clijsters if the Belgian is out before the quarterfinals and Zvonareva reaches the final four.

Just like on the men's side, the 4th – 7th ranking spots, which includes (in descending order) Victoria Azarenka, defending champ Francesca Schiavone, Li Na and Maria Sharapova, could see a huge shakeup and it all begins with Schiavone. With her 2,000 points to defend, she could see a landslide out of the the top echelon if things go poorly in Paris; and Li, who currently sits less than 300 points behind her, has only 160 points to defend and would be the one most likely to move up. With her win in Rome, Sharapova brought herself into the No. 7 position and could strike as high as No. 4 if she were to win the title.

Needless to say, there are a lot of possibilities so enjoy the ride. If Paris has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected.

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

(CORRECTION: A correction was made to the chances of Caroline Wozniacki holding her No. 1 ranking. Initially, we stated there was no chance of her losing the top spot. But after recalculating the points totals there is a small window for Kim Clijsters to take it.)

[Photo(s): Getty Images]
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  1. Richard, I beg to differ on the women's side. Wozniacki currently has 10,105 points and her lowest point total in her calculation that could be replaced is 320 points. Therefor Wozniacki must win Brussels to gain any points, which at maximum would be 150 bringing her total to 10,255. Assuming she wins Brussels, she has 500 (QF) points to defend at Roland Garros (RG). Clisters did not play RG last year and has no points to defend and potentially can gain 2,000. Cljisters current point total is 8,115. Therefore, the potential does exist that Cljisters could be number 1, should she win RG and Wozniacki does not make the QF, although this is remote given the question marks around Cljisters injury and lack of clay court play. But given the toss up in the WTA right now anything is possible.

  2. Richard,

    If Wozniacki does not win Brussels, the she must make the SF at RG to prevent Clisters from potentially obtain the #1 rank. In any case Kim must win RG to have a chance to be #1. A tall order.

  3. Without checking you (but I trust everything is legit in your case) you are correct. It was my error due to the WTA's terrible points tracking system whereas the ATP is kick-ass when it comes to points and what is dropping off, etc.

    Thanks for the correction! I will strive to not have it happen again!

  4. You're right Richard, the ATP does the ranking breakdown better, that is why I keep a WTA spreadsheet.


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