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Wimbledon 2010 Preview Roger Federer And Ranking Implications

Grand Slams often lead to massive shifts in rankings as the ranking points associated with match-wins are not found to the same degree in any other tournaments. Here are the ranking points offered for singles results to the men at Wimbledon:

Winner: 2000 points
Finalist: 1200 points
Semifinalist: 720 points
Quarterfinalist: 360 points

R16: 180 points
R32: 90 points
R64: 45 points
R128: 10 points

Last year’s quarterfinalists were as follows:

Lleyton Hewitt
Juan Carlos Ferrero
Novak Djokovic
Ivo Karlovic

Each of these players earned 360 ranking points and they need to make at least the quarters again this year to defend those points. Karlovic and Ferrero will be in tough to do that.

The Semifinalists from 2009:

Andy Murray
Tommy Haas

They each earned 720 points from last year and Haas is in great danger of failing to defend those points and he may drop down to below 70th or so after Wimbledon 2010.

Finalist: Andy Roddick (1200 ranking points)

Champion: Roger Federer (2000 ranking points)

Of note world number 1 Rafael Nadal did not contest Wimbledon in 2009 due to injury. That means he has 0 points to defend this year and that means that any ranking points he earns this year will simply be added to his already existing total.

Roger Federer, on the other hand, has 8,525 ranking points and he WON Wimbledon outright last year. Of his current ranking points 2000 are at risk. With a hypothetical though unrealistic first round loss he won only defend 10 of those ranking points while 1,990 would fall off for a new total of 6,535.

Roger Federer cannot become world number 1 with another Wimbledon title – all he can do is remain the world number 2. Even if he wins outright at the All England Club his ranking points total will not go up – he’ll just retain the 2000 points he earned from last year.

Furthermore, Nadal cannot be caught at world number 1 by any other player. Should world number 3 Novak Djokovic unexpectedly win the title he would take down 2000 ranking points for an improvement of 1640 points from last year’s QF appearance. That would still not be enough to catch Nadal in the rankings even if Rafa went out in the first round.

Since Nadal was injured at this time last year he does not have many points to protect until the 2010 US Open. Nadal only contested the Cincinnati Masters and the Canadian Masters last year between Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows and he only earned 540 points from those two Masters events (at the US Open he earned 720 points). There are certainly scenarios where Federer, Djokovic, or Murray or others can overtake Nadal before the US Open, but they seem unlikely at this point and Rafa looks good, in my opinion, to retain the world number 1 ranking until at least Flushing Meadows.

Federer’s world number 2 is within reach of some players if Federer suffers an early or middle round defeat. Suppose Federer suffered another upset and went out of Wimbledon in the quarters. He would only protect 360 points of 2000 for a drop of 1640 which would bring him down to 6885.

Djokovic could surpass that total with a semifinal appearance although Murray could not, even if the Scot won the title. If Federer went out much earlier than he could be caught by others but an early round loss is very unlikely for the 6 time champion.

Tennis rankings aren’t terribly complicated but it’s still easy to make a mistake with so many players, so many ranking points, and so many events. I’m confident in what I’ve said here but I don’t have a computer doing this for me – it’s just me and my desktop calculator. If there is an error, accept my apologies.

However I believe the following to be true:

1. There is a 100% chance that Nadal will be number 1 after Wimbledon.
2. Roger Federer is very likely to be the world number 2.
3. Unless Nadal withdraws from Wimbledon unexpectedly he will have a bigger lead over Federer heading into the hard court season where Rafa has more room to grow because he was less productive at this time last year than Fed.

It all leads me to conclude that Federer will fall just short of beating Pete Sampras’ record of most weeks at world number 1. Federer is chasing Nadal with less room for growth andthe Swiss Maestro is only moving further away from his tennis prime.

Federer is the type of player that can win a Slam when everyone is starting to write him off and perhaps there are one or two more Slam titles left but I still don’t think he will ever be world number 1 again provided that Nadal’s body holds up until Del Potro makes his return to tour and starts blazing everyone off the court like he did at last year’s US Open.

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Ian goes back to the very early days of CrunchSports, having been tirelessly covering soccer for us for over 10 years.

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