New ATP Rankings: How can Rafael Nadal become world number one in Cincinnati?

Rafael Nadal, Cincinnati August 2011 for Nike.

This week’s rankings are out and, as expected, the point difference between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer has gotten smaller. Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev switched places and now young German has risen to a career-high No. 7 after capturing his second ATP Masters 1000 title in Montreal.

Either Rafa or Roger will replace Andy Murray at the top of the standings on 21 August.

UPDATED: Rafa will replace Andy as the new world No. 1 next Monday as Roger pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters.

# Name Nationality Points Tournaments
1. Murray Andy United Kingdom 7750 19
2. Nadal Rafael Spain 7555 16
3. Federer Roger Switzerland 7145 15
4. Wawrinka Stan Switzerland 5780 19
5. Djokovic Novak Serbia 5325 16
6. Cilic Marin Croatia 5155 22
7. Zverev Alexander Germany 4470 24
8. Thiem Dominic Austria 4030 28
9. Nishikori Kei Japan 3285 21
10. Raonic Milos Canada 3230 22

The ATP site has an article up about how the rankings could look by the end of Cincinnati Masters.

Rafa and Roger’s potential points in Cincinnati:

Cincinnati DNP 2R 3R QF SF Final Title
Nadal 7,465 7,475 7,555 7,645 7,825 8,065 8,465
Federer 7,145 7,155 7,235 7,325 7,505 7,745 8,145

Rafa has spent 141 weeks at No. 1 (seventh most weeks all-time). He has three times finished year-end No. 1, most recently in 2013. He would already be No. 1 had he advanced to the semi-finals at either Wimbledon or Montreal.



  1. Rafa – so gorgeous, humble, nice and sweet as always.

    The best of luck in Cincinnati Champ #1.
    [Above plagiarized from a diehard fan.]


  2. It’s just a pity that some Rafa fans don’t like to hear the truth! It’s fine to praise Rafa and say how much we love him, but as soon as anyone looks any deeper and gives some honest critique some people don’t like it and turn it into a negative. No one is denying that Rafa has had a brilliant year so far but it’s not over. Of course I want more for Rafa and so does he!!

  3. I just listened to the interview posted by RNF in which Rafa discusses his return to No. 1. He is thrilled. As he stated, he has been in injury mode so many times. THAT’S SPORT. I hope he enjoys being No. 1 no matter the duration. We will never know how much more Rafa might have achieved had he not suffered so many injuries. It’s a guessing game. I am just happy to have him back and competing at a great level.

    To quote RNF, “What a great and sensational this season is for Rafa and all his fans. Too bad some people are never satisfied and always want more.

    Let’s try to enjoy in the moment, Rafa is not 20 anymore.”


  4. Rafa is numero uno . He has won 47 matches this year !!! 1 GS , 2 ATP masters titles & has had a brilliant year . Mind boggling indeed. So fully deserves the No 1 ranking again . Thrilling indeed. Rafa rocks .

  5. I am very happy for Rafa that he will be no.1. By “default” I mean that Rafa will be no.1 mainly due to Federer being out injured. Like it or not, it is an honest fact!

    Rafa has worked hard to achieve what he has this year and all credit to him. I want to see him maintain his position at the top and be year end no.1, and the way to do it is to improve his hard court. He won’t have a better opportunity than now!

  6. Yes, Rafa will be world no1 as of next week. That’s great! However, I’d prefer to see him at the top on his terms rather than by default. C’mon Rafa step it up!

    • Rafa started the year at No. 9, no? So…if he didn’t have such a great season thus far he would not be in a position to be No. 1 as far as I am concerned. I can’t consider it a “default” No. 1.

      RAFA ROCKS #1

      • Thanks Tiggy. Rafa himself said a win is a win. This is a win for Rafa and fans alike. I hope he is thrilled at reaching No. 1 again and I won’t take that away from him. Hopefully this will give him a huge boost. But as Rafalite said, there are other threats and that’s what makes being a Rafan so exciting for me. Of course, a Rafa win is the ultimate excitement.

        Through my own experiences, I can understand Rafa’s loses and am not crushed when he loses. I.e., I type 90+ WPM without errors. BUT, some days I can’t type a sentence without multiple errors. Go figure.

        I am hoping Rafa had an off day. And should there is something troubling him, I hope he and his team address it and find a corrective salve. I cannot imagine being in his shoes [sneakers LOL]. He has many a heavy burden to shoulder.

        RAFA ROCKS #1

  7. Vamos Rafa tu eres un champion que consigues cada punto con sudor eres el mejor tu juego es increible, da la bola fuerte profunda Buena suerte mi heroe.

  8. Rafa is guaranteed to be #1 after Cincinnati Open 2017 since RF has withdrawn citing back injury ! Enjoy !

  9. No. 1 in the world is great, but I would rather prefer seeing Rafa playing with free abandon just hitting the ball with full confidence. He doubted himself at Montreal and that cost him the match ultimately. Strange as he has been merciless most of this year, not fearing anybody across that net and just pummeling the ball to his choice spots. I want to see that Rafa come back onto the courts of Cincinnati to rule there once again. It is his tournament to win this year. Vamos Rafa!

  10. Rafa all good things come to those that wait and with practice, determination, courage, and focus it will come to you. Your fans know it and we to wait patiently and when it comes we will Celebrate with you in our hearts and own homes. Stay Strong, Healthy and happy and Please keep playing. I love to watch you play it gives me great Joy and Happiness. Thank you from the bottom of my Heart for that.
    your Fan

  11. Rafa you will always be NO. 1 no matter what – love you till the end of time, your 70 year old fan. VAMOS RAFA.

  12. Rafa, as you wear your Nike sneakers remember who Nike actually is.

    Nike is the Greek goddess of victory, speed and strength. I hope she has great input during your Cincy and US Open tournaments.

    Roger is debating whether he prefers the year-end No. 1 ranking or No. 1 for only some weeks. He said he would prefer to be able to go on vacation [at year’s end] as world No. 1 but still has not decided if he will play Cincy. He wants to be in form for the US Open.

    Rafa, let goddess Nike be your guide. Shake off those “nerves” and do what you’ve trained all your career to do. Wishing you the best, as always.

    RAFA ROCKS 150%

    • @Rafalite [No reply button.]

      Enjoyed your post. I don’t usually read long posts. Yours flowed seamlessly.

      This is the only fan site I visit. Before becoming a RNF member, I may have visited one or two other Rafa fan sites but found them unacceptable. I love reading a Rafa or a team member’s interview. I don’t worry about the soi-disant fawning over Roger. I let Rafa’s record speak for itself. That’s just me.

      I agree re GOAT. I have always said not until both are retired will the topic of GOAT be valid. And to be honest, I think that discussion will go on for a very long time [years]. As you stated, slams are only a part of each one’s legacy.

      Regarding Andy’s No. 1 hold, I do understand the dynamics behind that but at the end of the day his stats will say how long he held the position without clarifying how or why he was able to hold it that long.

      I just hope Rafa is well prepared for Cincy and the US Open. Whenever he comes to NY he is busy running around doing promotionals for Nike and TH. That probably wears him out. Then there are the fans. As a NYer I am used to seeing celebrities. I would never bother him for an autograph. Also, if you read his book you would know he does not like that aspect of celebrity.

      Enuf! I’m off.

      RAFA ROCKS #1

      • Thanks Margo, for your nice reply.
        I think Rafa may surprise us at USO–in a good way! And yeah– the promotional obligations must be very wearing; when you think about it amazes me what they do–fly around the world, do umpteen other things, then go face a nemesis on the court who can end their run in an important tournament, deal with aches and pains, blisters, the press etc.

        This is such a crucial time for Rafa–Djok Murray Waw out, Fed injured, my god what an opportunity. I’m not sure he will ever see such an opportune moment again, on HC. ON clay, he rules, no matter who is there.
        If Rafa is on he can handle AZ in BO5, Zverev has been subpar at slams.
        The big question is whether Rafa can find his best HC game.

        It’s funny, as Rafa obsesses as I am, I never read the book. I feel like I already know him extremely well, I did hear 2nd hand about all of it–the thunderstorms, the dogs , the tomatoes etc.
        Fascinating man!

        After the Montreal loss he said something in his presser which was vintage Rafa–so funny and so wise. Asked about Denis’s lack of nerves, Rafa said something like “Of course it’s always that way when you’re 18, you have nothing to lose, I won Roland Garros at that age. It’s a familiar story–I just didn’t want to part of it.” LOL!!

        Do you go the USO?

      • You’re welcome.

        LOL I too cracked up when he said he “didn’t want to be part of it.” So truly heartfelt but hilarious nevertheless.

        Agree that this is a great opportunity for him and I hope Rafa’s best of five is in full bloom.

        I eschew crowds so no, I would not attend any sporting event.

        RAFA ROCKS #1

  13. That’s funny–you get one dislike and no likes for pointing out that Rafa has actually gone to #1, for breaking that news.

    And 4 likes for just writing “Vamos”

    What’s with this site? Are Fed fans lurking? Do people not like fantastic news about Rafa/

    • A different perspective may be that fans are more concerned with the outcomes of Cincy, and the US Open rather than No. 1. Year-end No. 1 would be phenomenal.

      RAFA ROCKS 150%

      • Yes, but for now this is a huge milestone, to my mind. Rafa has not been #1 since 2014.
        It may not stick but it will still go down in the record books for how many times he made it to #1.
        Based on what I saw from Fed Sunday, USO and Cincy looking better for Rafa now.
        There are other threats of course.

      • “Other threats” are part and parcel of the sport of tennis, most of the time: Fed before Rafa, Nole before his meltdown are exceptions.

        For me, I would rather Rafa get the year-end No. 1 ranking. It may be a big ask because Rafa has never won the O2. Nor has he won the Paris masters but maybe this year he will have a better year-end outcome.

        You comment brings to mind Andy. Sports writers and even a fan here doubted that he would hold on to the No. 1 spot for more than a few weeks. I was happy that he was able to keep it for almost a year. He deserved it because he won it. Remember that it’s number of weeks that one holds the No. 1 spot, not the number of times one makes it to No. 1. In all fairness to your perspective, Rafa has broken soooo many records that this could be just another record to break.

        Should Rafa make No. 1, I want him to keep it for some time because he would have earned it in contrast to some who feel he deserves it just because.

        I hope he does well at Cincy even though it’s not one of his better tournaments. I am in wait and see mode.

        RAFA ROCKS 150%

      • Replying here to your comment below as there’s no reply button there:

        Of course ending year #1 is more important, but that’s harder to do. One thing at a time.
        Also this puts Rafa in the records books, for returning to #1 a certain number of times; not sure but when I saw this before I think he has now returned to #1 more than any previous player. That’s a very significant record.

        Andy stayed #1 even as he continued to lose on a regular basis, all year, in early rounds to low-ranked players, because the #2, Djok was also slumping and incapable of overtaking him. It took the better part of a year for resurgent Fed and Rafa to catch up.

        That’s also how tennis works, at least now. One or two dominate for awhile, then get injured or burn out, and whoever is recharged and capable of top level takes over.

        My biggest concern is of course the level Rafa will be playing at in Cincy, and USO. Shap was an extremely tough opponent, but still, Rafa had regressed in his game. Maybe Shap was part of the cause…

        Also regarding records, I don’t know if you go on other tennis sites, that are not specifically fan sites. I do and they are overwhelmingly pro-Fed, they consider the GOAT thing a lock for Fed; the tennis media has been talking like that all year too. I consider the former too biased and the latter too biased and fickle and hyperbolic to take them seriously, but still: every added record Rafa accumulates is a counterargument to Fed GOAT and that interests me enormously. Yes I do care, and No I do not consider Fed GOAT, in case you’re wondering. I don’t consider Rafa GOAT either, though once it’s played out and done maybe one of them will be.
        For many many years now I have found the preferencing of Fed over Rafa by the tennis media galling and kind of disgraceful. So these records that will go down in the history books matter.
        Though, sadly, in this new world of lies equal truth, it probably won’t matter what Rafa does, unless he catches Fed’s slam records, because that’s a simple number anyone can understand. Though it isn’t even a third of the whole story.

        Sorry, long, no short version of this.

  14. Rafa I have great faith in you and you are sure to put in your very strongest effort.

    Love and prayers,


  15. No … the points are already off, and *drum roll* …………………
    RAFA IS #1 AGAIN!!!!!


    This is pasted in from live rankings MOnday morning
    1 CH Rafael Nadal 31.1 ESP1 7475 +1 -80 Cincinnati R32 – 7555 8465
    2 1 Roger Federer 36 SUI1 7155 +1 +10 Cincinnati R32 – 7235 8145
    3 1 Andy Murray 30.2 GBR1 7150 -2 -600 – – – –
    4 3 Stan Wawrinka 32.3 SUI2 5690 – -90 – – – –
    5 1 Novak Djokovic 30.2 SRB1 5325 – – – – – –
    6 NCH
    (7) Alexander Zverev 20.3 GER1 4470 +1 – Cincinnati R32 –

    • Amazingly enough, Sasha Z. defeated both of them. Every day is different, folks and the guys have been out there playing for a long, long time. Let’s be proud of all they’ve done. Vamos in Cincinnati, Rafa and see you in NYC.

      • No, Sasha has never beat Rafa. He’s 2 and 2 against Fed; 0 and 3 against Rafa.

  16. OK, so Cincy points don’t come off till the end of the tournament. That’s weird, usually the points are stripped at the start.

    Anyway, it’s clear Rafa goes to #1 unless Fed goes a few rounds past him.
    Based on what happened in MOntreal yesterday, I don’t think that’s likely.
    If Roger withdraws from injury, that’s that.
    And if he doesn’t, his level will be lousy. Meaning he played a terrible final, looked about 65 years old in the 2nd set, and it was hard to see any real effort in the 2nd set.
    No way he suddenly plays in form again a few days later.
    I have been saying this about Fed for some time–si9nce Halle, and even on the US HCs I didn’t think he looked that good, he almost got beat by Kyrgios and Berd in Miami. Ao was another story.

    As for Rafa, he has to get whatever demons creeped back into his head OUT for Cincy. Look now like the major threat is AZ (though now he may be tired). The faster court may force Rafa back into the more aggressive game that was working wonders for him.

    • If there is any Phoenix in the tennis world, it is RF. Remember AO 2017 his biggest comeback after his big break? Anyway, with entire ATP and media promoting him, a gigantic airbag of an ego, a wife who would do anything so her husband continues as GOAT, RF would likewise do anything to be forever applauded by the entire world. As for RF’s 2017 GS successes one is thanks to Rafa the other one because he was the only top player left in the compeition.

      I so wish Rafa’s self-confidence could be boosted, he could engage a coach that would believe in him, and be 100% beside him at crucial moments

      Until then WAMOS WAMOS WAMOS

      • I agree with everything you write until the end. Especially about the ego, I always thought Roger’s ego would surpass Rafa’s and Djok’s in terms of his need to keep ahead in the count.
        But maybe his body won’t comply. Already we see signs.

        About the coach, no, it’s rare coaches are there all the time, Moya has been fantastic for Rafa, if Rafa reverts back to old habits when Moya isn’t there, I’m putting that on Rafa, not Moya.

        Maybe if the entire tennis world wasn’t always singing Roger’s praises, no matter how not brilliant he sometimes is–Rafa wouldn’t have the confidence problems he often has. I’m not sure that’s the source, but it pisses me off, the massive media bias in favour of Fed.

        Yesterday when Fed was playing, I had the commie Jimmy ARias, a former #4. He was just dripping with adoration for Fed, he barely even mentioned Zverev, even as Zverev was cobbering Fed and winning a Masters 1000. All about Fed, all of the time.

        Over on, they haven’t changed the #1 to Rafa. He is #1 now, btw. If it was Fed, it would have been changed at 6 am. The favourtism is constant and relentless, from the crowds too.

      • So true about Moyá. It was agreed that he would be working at the academy and not traveling as much because of his family. You’re “putting it on Rafa” is 100% correct and a lot more diplomatic than what I had in mind to say. I would have been in the dog house.🤗

        Also, I recall an interview not long after after he joined the team where Moyá said “I know what was going on with Rafa.” Whatever it is is personal so no one knows if there is something else going on with Rafa that is causing his anxiety. I hope Carlos is able to address it in order to help our champion.


  17. Go Rafa it is yours .keep your head and nothing can go wrong .Good luck all got fingers crossed for you 👏👏👏👏👏

  18. Go Rafa, if you don’t make #1 this time. It’s going to be real hard in the future. We know you can do it. Focus, focus & focus. We love you in Florida.

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