How Can Novak Djokovic Trump Rafael Nadal For Year-End World Number One Spot

November 6, 2019 9:18 pm

As Rafael Nadal commenced his rule on the ATP’s summit on Monday, the race to the year-end World Number one is heating up between him and Novak DjokovicAs the Serb lifted up the title at Rolex Paris Masters 2019, the ATP points difference between both of them has now reduced to 640 ranking points.

With a cut-throat competition for the World Number one position existing between Nadal and Djokovic, if Rafa happens to end the year as the Number one player, there will be a tie in the Big Three’s account as all three of them will hold a record of concluding the year five times as the Word Number one tennis player.

If Djokovic manages to knock down Nadal from the top, the Serb will be the first player (amongst the active ones) to conclude the year as World Number one for the sixth time. The Serb will be tying the ‘year-end World Number one’ record with the American legend, Pete Sampras, who previously did it six times.

With the ATP World Tour Finals 2019 being the last event on Nadal and Djokovic’s schedule and the year-end World Number one ranking can go either way and let’s see the possible scenarios.

If Nadal wins zero matches at ATP World Tour Finals 2019:

With his abdominal injury prevailing, if Rafa happens to be win-less in London, he will conclude the year with 9585 points and Djokovic needs to earn a minimum of 800 points (since he is 640 points behind Rafa) in order to ensure his World Number one ranking when the season curtains down.

For that, the World Number two, Djokovic needs to reserve his spot in the finals. He can afford to drop a match in the round-robin before he reaches the finals of the London event and the title victory would consolidate his year-end top ranking.

If Nadal wins one match at ATP World Tour Finals 2019:

The Spaniard, Rafael Nadal will compete against Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev if the top-seed pulls off a victory against them, his point tally will ascend to 9785.

To surpass that score, Djokovic needs to collect a minimum of 1000 points from the tournament, i.e., he needs to be present in the finals without dropping a match in the round-robin and the title victory would guarantee his stay on the ATP’s crest. 

If Nadal wins just two matches at ATP World Tour Finals 2019:

By winning two matches, Nadal’s points enumeration with reach a total of 9985. In that case, Djokovic needs to pull off the ATP Finals 2019 at any cost (with or without losing matches in the round-robin) and then he can resurge on the number one spot. 

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal

If Nadal wins three matches in the round-robin and then loses in semifinals:

By qualifying to the semifinals with three wins, Rafael Nadal will have 10185 ATP points and with that, Djokovic’s title victory (with two wins in the round-robin) can push him on the number one spot of the ATP roster.

If Nadal reaches the finals at ATP World Tour Finals:

The Spaniard, Rafael Nadal reserves a spot in the finals with just one victory in the round-robin will earn his 10185 points. In this case, the Serb also needs to reach the finals in London and has to defeat Rafa in the title match (provided Djokovic wins at least two matches in the round-robin). Under this scenario, Novak will have 10245 or 10445 total points while winding up the year. 

If Nadal wins two matches in the round-robin and then reaches the finals in London, his sum total of ATP points would escalate to 10585 points and in that case, it is impossible for Novak Djokovic to conclude the year as the number one tennis player, no matter what he does at ATP World Tour Finals 2019.

Nail-biting Scenarios: 

If both Nadal and Djokovic reach the finals of ATP World Tour Finals 2019, and Rafa has previously lost a match in the round-robin and Novak is undefeated in London, in this situation the final match will reveal the year-end World Number one.

Also, if Rafa lost two matches in the round-robin and Novak loses one before reaching the finals in London, even in this case, the final match will unveil the year-end World Number one.

An Interesting Season Finale: 

In 2018, Nadal withdrew from Rolex Paris Masters due to a knee injury and simultaneously he lost his World Number one ranking to Djokovic. Later, he withdrew from World Tour Finals due to abdominal and ankle injuries.

With Nadal’s absence in London, the thrill in the for the apex position race was diminished and clearly, Djokovic was the only contestant to conclude the year as World Number one. However, in the year 2019, tennis fans will get to see a riveting race between the two for the apex position of ATP.

Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic Year-End World Number One Scenarios:

Scenarios at ATP Finals Rafael Nadal Novak Djokovic
0 Wins in RR, Exit 9585 8945
1 Win in RR, Exit 9785 9145
2 Wins in RR, Exit 9985 9345
3 Wins in RR, SF 10185 9545
1 Win in RR, SF 9785 9145
2 Wins in RR, SF 9985 9345
1 Win in RR, F 10185 9545
2 Wins in RR, F 10385 9745
3 Wins in RR, F 10585 9945
1 Win in RR, W 10685 10045
2 Wins in RR, W 10885 10245
3 Wins in RR, W 11885 10445


RR – Round Robin

SF – Semifinals

F – Finals

W – Championship Victory

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