World No1 Daniil Medvedev Ushering In A New Era On The Court

Medvedev replaced Novak Djokovic at the top of world rankings after the Serbian's early exit at the Dubai Open
16:55, 25 Feb 2022

The tide is changing in tennis. A new era is being ushered in as an 18-year monopoly has finally come to an end. 

As Novak Djokovic was prematurely defeated in the Dubai Open, he lost the number one world ranking with Russia’s Daniil Medvedev claiming the prestigious spot. It marks the first time since 2004 that Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray have not been the sport’s head honcho.

Djokovic reluctantly lost his title, which he has held for two years, after losing to world no. 123 Jiri Visely 6-4 7-6 (4) in the quarter-finals. Medevedev’s move to the top of the pack is a significant one as he is not only the first player since Andy Roddick to hold the title outside the 18-year spell of dominance, but he has the honour of being the first person to dethrone the fantastic four. 

Djokovic spent an all-time record of 361 consecutive weeks at the top but the deportation debacle at last month’s Australian Open paved the way for Medvedev to snatch number one spot from him. It feels like the dawning of a new age in tennis which has long been thought about during those golden years that the big four have given us over the years.

Medvedev is the front-runner to become the leading man of this new period that looks to be edging ever closer with Federer and Nadal both battling Father Time and injury problems. Djokovic is looking physically capable of carrying on for longer, although he is also 34, and with his early exit in Dubai, questions will be raised about his rhythm being disrupted after the Australian Open. 

Daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev

The Serbian’s immediate future on court looks concerning as a result of his decision to not get a Covid vaccination. Earlier in the week, he said he could not enter the United States in order to compete at Indian Wells and Miami next month, and now his tournament experiences are now at the discretion of the laws of the countries where he wishes to compete. This could give Medvedev the platform to shine, especially for the foreseeable future.

The 26-year-old has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the last year by reaching three Grand Slam finals, albeit just winning one - the US Open, where he defeated Djokovic. His form in the last year has rightly propelled him to the number one spot and he now has the chance to start building on his own success, so that he can be the individual that fills the void that will be left by the four who have dominated tennis for nearly two decades. 

It is quite remarkable how far he has come in recent years, considering how far he rose up the rankings with far less scope than his peers, having broken through at a much later age. He has worked extremely hard to get to where he is now and he is reaping the rewards for his skill and determination.

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