Daniil Medvedev drops to four-year low as Rafael Nadal in danger
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Daniil Medvedev has fallen outside of the world’s top 10 for the first time since 2019 following his early Australian Open exit. The ATP rankings have seen a huge shift following the first Major of the year with Novak Djokovic overtaking Carlos Alcaraz to return to the No 1 spot after winning the title while Rafael Nadal has dropped four places and is in danger of falling further during his injury break.
Medvedev has struggled since losing last year’s Aussie Open final to Nadal from two-sets up and his dip has continued as the Russian finds himself outside of the world’s top 10 for the first time since he made his debut in July 2019. The 26-year-old crashed out in the third round to Sebastian Korda this year, falling by four spots to No 12 as a result.
And last year’s champion Nadal has also taken a dive from No 2 to No 6 after his shock second-round defeat to Mackenzie McDonald, in which he picked up a new leg injury mid-way through the match. The Spaniard is set to be sidelined for six to eight weeks which leaves him unable to compete in Dubai while it remains to be seen whether he will return for Indian Wells and Miami, meaning he could drop even further.
Although Nadal was not sent to defend his Acapulco title from last year, he entered the draw for the Dubai ATP 500 in the same week where he could have retained the same ranking points by lifting the trophy in the Middle East. And having made the Indian Wells final in 2022, he risks losing another 600 points if he does not come back to the tour in the Californian desert, as many believe he will likely wait until the start of the clay swing.
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While Nadal is guaranteed to lose more points and plummet further down the rankings, it’s Medvedev whose game remains a concern 12 months on from his heartbreak against the Spaniard in Melbourne. The 15-time title winner has noticeably not been the same player since and has become increasingly passive, even claiming late last year that he believes this is the way to go after putting his dip in form down to becoming more aggressive.
“I changed my game more because of the feeling of what works best,” he told Eurosport during the off-season. “There was a moment last year where I was like, I have to be more defensive, I’m too aggressive now and I felt my opponents actually liked it.
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“I would say both matches against Nick [Kyrgios, who he lost to in Cincinnati and the US Open] I was too aggressive. It’s tough to be defensive against him because you get aces and don’t have much to play with, but there were some matches in the year where I felt I had to be more defensive and that’s what I started doing at the end of the year, and I felt I was playing better.”
As well as Medvedev and Nadal, Matteo Berrettini has suffered a big drop down the rankings as he lost to Andy Murray in the first round after reaching the semi-final in 202, falling eight spots to No 22 in the world. Quarter-finalists Jiri Lehecka and Ben Shelton are two of the biggest risers with the Czech star rising 32 places to No 39 in the world while the American shot up 46 places to No 43, while this year’s champion Djokovic of course ascended to the No 1 spot.
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