The claycourt season will begin soon after the 2022 Miami Open and will feature the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Alexander Zverev. All the top-ranked players are likely to play at least four tournaments during this period.
The results on clay are of utmost significance for all these players as they will determine the ATP rankings to a large extent. As of now, Djokovic, Medvedev, Zverev, Nadal, and Tsitsipas are ranked first, second, third, fourth and fifth respectively.
Let's take a look at the number of points each of them will be defending during the upcoming claycourt season.
#1 Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic has the maximum number of points (3,530) to defend during the claycourt season. The Serb won the French Open and Belgrade 2 last year, and finished runner-up at the 2021 Italian Open, losing to Nadal in the final.
Djokovic will be defending 90 points each at the Monte-Carlo Masters and the Serbian Open, 500 in Madrid, 600 in Rome, and 2,250 at the French Open. The Serb will be defending an additional 250 points at Roland Garros as he won the 2021 Belgrade 2, which took place during the same week last season in which Roland Garros is taking place this year.
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal, who failed to win the French Open last year, has a total of 2,860 points to defend on clay this season. The 21-time Grand Slam champion won his 12th Barcelona Open last year before achieving La Decima at the Italian Open. If the King of Clay sweeps all the Masters events, wins Barcelona again, and then wins the French Open, he could rise to the top spot in the rankings.
Nadal will be defending 180 points at the Monte Carlo Masters, 500 at the Barcelona Open, 180 at the Mutua Madrid Open, and 1000 each at the Italian Open and the French Open.
Unlike Nadal and Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev hasn't performed very well on clay. In fact, his 2021 French Open campaign, in which he reached the quarterfinals, was the best he has managed to date. The Russian suffered three back-to-back first-round exits in Paris before that. Medvedev has the least number of points (790) to defend during the claycourt season, improving his chances of reclaiming the No. 1 position.
The Russian will be defending 180 points in Monte Carlo, 150 in Barcelona, 90 in Madrid, 10 in Rome and 360 in Paris.
Stefanos Tsitsipas gained prominence during the claycourt season last year, succeeding at the Monte Carlo Masters and the Lyon Open. The Greek also finished runner-up at the French Open and the Barcelona Open. As a result, he has the second-highest number of points (3,355) to defend during the upcoming claycourt season.
Tsitsipas will be defending 1,000 points in Monte Carlo, 300 each in Barcelona and Madrid, 125 in Estoril, 180 in Rome, 250 in Lyon and 1,200 in Paris.
Alexander Zverev has a total of 2,160 points to defend during the claycourt season. The German won the Mutua Madrid Open last year and was a semifinalist at Roland Garros. Zverev will have to perform well on clay this season in order to remain World No. 3, since he will be dropping 490 points after his second-round exit at the 2022 Indian Wells Masters.
Zverev will be defending 90 points in Monte Carlo, 45 in Estoril, 1,000 in Madrid, 180 in Rome, 125 in Lyon and 720 in Paris.
Rafael Nadal is unbeaten this season
Rafael Nadal has gotten off to his best-ever start in the 2022 season, currently enjoying a 20-match winning streak on the ATP tour. The Spaniard has already won three titles, including the 2022 Australian Open.
Nadal is only the second player after Djokovic to win more than 17 consecutive matches at the beginning of a season. The Serb has achieved the feat twice, enjoying 41 consecutive wins to kick-off the 2011 season and a 26-match winning streak at the beginning of 2020.
Rafael Nadal is eying his fourth title at the Indian Wells Masters, where he will square off against Taylor Fritz in the final on Sunday.