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MONDAY MAILBAG: Can we trust ATP rankings anymore given Novak Djokovic drop

MONDAY MAILBAG: The rankings system in tennis has long been one of the best things about the sport, but can we trust them right now?
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In this week’s Monday Mailbag - the feature in which our readers set the agenda - we look at the ATP rankings right now and wonder if we can trust them given Novak Djokovic dropped in the standings despite winning Wimbledon.

Dear TennisBuzz

One thing tennis has always done really well is its world ranking system and it has proven itself something both fans and players can trust.

There is something very upside down about them now, though, with Novak Djokovic DROPPING to number seven despite actually winning a Grand Slam.

Obviously I know that the Wimbledon/Russia situation was unprecedented, so it's bound to have had an effect somewhere. My question is, though: Can we even trust the ATP rankings right now given they will be skewered all year due to all Wimbledon achievements not being recognised within them?


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Editor’s reply: This is obviously a situation we were expecting to happen in tennis ever since the ATP and WTA decided to strip Wimbledon of its ranking points.

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Despite that, it's certainly hard not to read the rankings in both the men's and women's games without doing a quick audit in your own head to adjust for any anomalies borne of the Wimbledon situation.

It's also true that Novak Djokovic has been especially hit hard this year in terms of the ranking. Assuming he doesn't play the US Open, that means he is dropping 5,200 points from three Grand Slams alone that he hasn't been allowed to defend for one reason or another.

We could debate until the end of time about how much of that is a position of his own making due to his vaccination stance, but there can be little doubt that it has all combined to skewer the world rankings.

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As for whether we can trust them... well yes, I think we ultimately can as long as we bear in mind that Djokovic should be higher. It is essentially similar to when a player is missing tournaments through injury. I mean, we all know that there are not 338 players on the ATP Tour better than Dominic Thiem, for example, but we just apply that context to his ranking. Ultimately, we will do the same with Djokovic.

Daniil Medvedev should be up there, though, and he is. He has reached the final of two of the last four Slams. Alexander Zverev should be up there on consistency alone, and he is. Rafael Nadal should be up there given he has won two of the three Slams this season, and he is. The rankings are, for the most part, just about where they should be.

The Djokovic situation is far from ideal, but we shouldn't be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as they say. The ATP rankings are still good and the system still works. We just need to add a little context into the mix whilst reading them.

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