How Rafael Nadal can replace Roger Federer as World No. 1 without playing at Indian Wells
It has been a remarkable and record-breaking return to world number one for Roger Federer, but his stint at the top could be short-lived if things don’t go well at Indian Wells this week.
The Swiss great became the oldest player to top the ATP rankings when he returned to number one last month at the age of 36.
Federer now heads to Indian Wells to try and defend the title he won there last year, but his success in the BNP Paribas Open in 2017 could be what costs him his lofty ranking.
Federer winning at Indian Wells last year saw him pick up 1,000 ranking points, he currently holds 10,060 points.
However, the way the ATP system works is a rolling one-year points system, in which points drop off throughout the year from the previous year’s tournament.
So if you win a tournament, the best you can do the following year is maintain your points total by winning it again, anything less and your overall points will reduce.
If Federer finishes as runner-up this year, he will lose 400 points, if he loses in the semi-final, 640 points will drop off his total, a quarter-final exit would see him lose 820 points.
All these scenarios would be good news for Rafael Nadal, who is not playing this year, but could overtake Federer without having to hit a ball.
Points distribution for Men's Singles at Indian Wells
Winner – 1,000
Runner-Up – 600
Semi-Final – 360
Quarter-Final – 180
R16 – 90
R32 – 45
R64 – 25
R128 – 10
Nadal lost to Federer in fourth round in 2017, picking up just 90 points, so even without playing, he can only see 90 points drop off his total.
The Spaniard is currently on 9,460 – 600 behind Federer in the rankings – and with the 90 that is automatically going to be removed, he is 690 behind the Swiss.
This means that if Federer fails to make the semi-finals (losing at least 820 points) he will slip behind Rafa in the rankings.
It’s all very involved, but that is what you need to remember – if Roger doesn’t make the semis then he is off the top of the rankings.
One man set to see his ranking fall dramatically this week is Stan Wawrinka, who lost in the final to Federer last year.
Wawrinka is out after knee surgery and will see 600 points drop off his total.
He is currently world number 11 but looks set to be out of the top 20 come the end of this tournament.