Andrey Rublev recently gave his thoughts on the controversy around the new COVID-affected ranking system. The changes implemented by the ATP to account for the pandemic have meant that Roger Federer is still at No. 6 in the rankings, ahead of Rublev himself and Alexander Zverev.
During the press conference after his win over Emil Rusuuvuori in the first round of the Dubai Open, Andrey Rublev was asked to chime in on Alexander Zverev's recent complaints about the seemingly farcical rankings. The World No. 8 sounded enthused by the question, and he replied that he would've been a career-high No. 4 in the world if the 'normal' ranking system was still in place.
"I mean, if we have normal system, I would be like No. 4 in the world I think," Rublev said. "So what do you think is better for me. To be No. 8 or No. 4? (laughs)"
The debate was started by Alexander Zverev on Monday, as he claimed he should have been in the top 5 of the ATP rankings right now instead of his current position of No. 7 (which is one spot behind Roger Federer).
"The ranking doesn't really matter to me and with the system we have now, I should be top 4 top 5 in the world in the normal system, but the system we have now is a bit absurd," Zverev said.
Zverev's Next-Gen compatriot Stefanos Tsitsipas, who himself displaced Roger Federer as the World No. 5 a week ago, also had a say on the topic. The Greek refused to blame the new system, instead asserting that the current top 10 players should have put in better performances in 2020 to improve their ranking.
If normal ranking system was in place right now, Andrey Rublev would have been No. 3 and Roger Federer outside the top 30
Andrey Rublev went on to double down on how the new system has hurt him, but he refused to take any names like Alexander Zverev did.
"I mean, it's much tougher for me now, with the system we have, to be No. 4, so here's the answer," Andrey Rublev said. "If there would be normal system I would be No. 4 in the world."
It was in March last year that the ATP rankings were frozen due to the COVID-enforced tour suspension. Play resumed subsequently in August, but with a revised points system.
The rankings traditionally work on a 'Best 18' results basis over a rolling period of 52 weeks. But from August 2020, the system was changed to cover a player's best results over a time-period of nearly two years.
This unforeseeable change in the rules helped Roger Federer the most, who was unable to compete in 2020 due to a double right knee surgery. At the same time, Andrey Rublev is the one player who would have justifiably felt hard done by.
Roger Federer would have been outside the top 30 by this point of the season, had he not retained his ranking points from both 2019 and 2020. On the other hand, Andrey Rublev accumulated 3,825 points in the last 52 weeks, which would have placed him at No. 3 in the rankings if the traditional system was still in place.
That said, Andrey Rublev himself has some benefit of the new ranking system too. The Russian will have added stability to his ranking in 2021, as his points will not drastically drop until the professional tour goes back to the system of defending tournament points week by week.