Novak Djokovic fell to seventh in the ATP rankings on Monday – his lowest position in four years – as a consequence of the removal of ranking points from this year’s Championships, despite his winning a fourth consecutive men’s Wimbledon title less than 24 hours earlier.
Emma Raducanu, meanwhile, has risen one place to a career-high ranking of No 10, breaking into the WTA top 10 for the first time despite losing in the second round.
Having entered Wimbledon as the world No 3, Djokovic has fallen four places, only the second time he has been outside the top five since 2007. He had started the season as the clear No 1, initially losing his top ranking shortly after failing to defend his Australian Open title because of his deportation from the country. Then, in April, came Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The ATP’s and WTA’s response – the removal of ranking points – followed in May.
Throughout the Championships, players reflected on competing without points as they moved through the rounds. Under normal circumstances, the first-time champion Elena Rybakina would have risen from No 23 to a career-high ranking of No 6 but instead she remains . It means that, despite achieving a lifetime dream, her far more modest goals from the beginning of the year are unchanged. “The goal for this year was to be top 10 and it’s still the same goal,” Rybakina said, smiling sheepishlyafter lifting the title at Wimbledon.
Before enjoying the fortnight of his life at Wimbledon by reaching the semi-final, Cameron Norrie had never passed the third round of a grand slam tournament. The British No 1, though, was unfazed by not receiving the boost to his ranking that normally accompanies such a run. “Changes nothing,” he said. “I’m still going to be seeded highly and still going to be in every tournament. What’s really tough is the players just outside the top 100 and guys like Liam Broady who made the third round, and Alastair Gray, who would now be in slam qualies.”
Ranking points are their own currency on the tennis tours, allowing players an objective measurement of their form and results. They are also essential for lower-ranked players, whose rankings determine which level of event they can enter and, therefore, the amount of money for which they can compete.
Ons Jabeur, who has fallen from No 2 to No 5 despite a career-best run to the final, said the lack of points is a greater concern for lower-ranked players, such as the surprise semi-finalist Tatjana Maria, who would have risen to a career high inside the top 40 but is instead ranked 98th.
“I’m not going to lie to you. The more you do good, the more you regret not [having] any points,” Jabeur said. “Honestly I don’t just look at myself. But I look at also Tatjana, because she struggled with her ranking to come back. She always wanted to have a wildcard, but it’s never easy. Now she makes a good run and she doesn’t have points.”
Ajla Tomljanovic reached her first career grand slam quarter-final at Wimbledon last year and she returned this year to achieve her second. Such a result would have normally stabilised her ranking for another year, but she has instead fallen from 44th to 71st this week.
Like many others, Tomljanovic shrugged off the missed opportunity for her ranking but she said it had complicated her schedule as she looks to make up for the significant amount of points she lost. “The only reason why I’m just a little bummed out about the points is maybe there’s more thinking,” she said.
“For example, I entered the next two events in Budapest and Palermo. I don’t like chasing points. I entered that just because if I had gone down early here, I would have played because I felt hungry and ready to play.”
Despite her frustrations Jabeur, who is £1,050,000 richer after her run to a maiden grand slam final, also offered some perspective. “It is what it is. We stop focusing on the points and maybe see the money a little bit is good,” she said, smiling.
Broady, who reached a grand slam third round for the first time in his career and earned £120,000, concurred: “I’d play Wimbledon for no points and no prize money,” he said as a smile spread across his face. “At least I get the prize money.”