With the top players on tour idle this week the ranking scenarios surrounding Wimbledon are a little easier to speculate on.
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer are the top three players on tour heading into Wimbledon 2011 and their ranking points totals are as follows:
Rafael Nadal: 12,070
Novak Djokovic: 12,005
Roger Federer: 9,230
None of the top three players have any ranking points scheduled to drop off with the June 20th update meaning that the above totals will be what they enter Wimbledon with.
Last year the three players earned the following ranking points from the All England Club:
Nadal: 2000 for winning the title outright (d. Berdych)
Djokovic: 720 for a semifinal appearance (l. to Berdych)
Federer: 360 for a quarterfinal appearance (l. to Berdych)
Those points will not be officially subtracted from their current total until July 4th, 2011 however adjusting the points off now does help illustrate what the players have to play for at Wimbledon, starting next week in terms of rankings.
Nadal: 10,070 (2000 ranking points adjusted off)
Djokovic: 11,285 (720 ranking points adjusted off)
Federer: 8,870 (360 ranking points adjusted off)
What they earn at Wimbledon this year will then be added on come July 4th.
With Nadal having won the title last season he is the player under the most pressure in terms of the race for top spot while Djokovic, somewhat like Roland Garros, can take over the top spot on tour should he make the final. That would be true even if the world number two were to lose to Nadal in that final.
The explanation for that is that, in this scenario, Nadal would stay at 12,070 ranking points for duplicating his result while Djokovic would have 12,485 as the Serb would improve on his performance from last season.
If Djokovic wins the title outright he would gain a comfortable lead over Nadal in the rankings as the Serb would turn a substantial net gain while Nadal would lose a great deal of points.
There are plenty of other scenarios where Djokovic would over-take top spot as Nadal can lose so many ranking points with an early round loss. For example if Nadal and Djokovic both suffered a third round upset at Wimbledon, Djokovic would still pass Nadal in the rankings as Rafa has more ranking points to protect.
There are no scenarios where Roger Federer could become the new number one after Wimbledon although there are plenty where he could become number two once again.
Federer, should he win the title, could catch Rafael Nadal in the standings if and only if Rafa loses before the final however there is no situation where Federer could catch Djokovic. Even if Federer won the title outright and Djokovic did not play in the tournament the Serb would be ahead of Federer in the rankings.
Grand Slams have so many ranking points associated with them that the number of scenarios involved is incredibly complex and breaking them down is always a bit of a logic puzzle. However to summarize the race for number one and Wimbledon 2011, Djokovic is the only player in control of his destiny.
Should Nadal desire to remain number one winning the title is definitely a necessary part of that but he will still have to hope that someone beats Djokovic before the final. Should Nadal not win the title, Djokovic would be number one under ALL scenarios.
If Federer wants to regain the number one ranking winning Wimbledon would be a huge step in the right direction but he would still need to play at the highest level on tour during the hard court season.