Hubert Hurkacz has delivered another death knell to Roger Federer, this time by knocking the Swiss out of the top 10 of the ATP rankings. Hurkacz confirmed his maiden entry into the top 10 by beating Frances Tiafoe in the third round of the ongoing Indian Wells Masters on Monday.
The Pole entered the tournament in the 12th spot, three rungs behind Roger Federer who was ranked nine. Casper Ruud, who was at No. 10 at the start of the event, had already ensured he would swap places with the Swiss by winning his third-round match.
World No. 11 Felix Auger-Aliassime (at the start of the tournament) also had a chance to go past Roger Federer. But the Canadian lost in his first match at the BNP Paribas Open, thus handing Hubert Hurkacz the opportunity instead.
Roger Federer had to defend 480 points over the last couple of weeks, from his results at Indian Wells and Shanghai in 2019. With the COVID-adjusted ranking system having been partially rolled back, points from 2019 no longer count towards a player's overall tally.
As such, Federer dropped quite a few points due to his non-participation at Indian Wells coupled with the event in Shanghai getting canceled.
Casper Ruud, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz were all within 400 points of the Swiss prior to the start of the Indian Wells Masters. And with the help of their good results, Ruud and Hurkacz are now guaranteed to go past Federer in the ATP rankings next Monday.
The Pole will have a minimum of 3,378 points in his bag, while Federer will be stuck on 3,285 points.
Felix Auger-Aliassime, Jannik Sinner, Diego Schwartzman and Denis Shapovalov are also hot on Roger Federer's heels in the rankings, and are likely to displace him sooner or later. With a flurry of tournaments coming up in the next couple of months, it won't be surprising if the 20-time Major champion falls out of the top 20 by the time the season ends.
This is the fourth time that the 40-year-old has dropped out of the top 10 in his career. The other three instances happened in 2002 (twice) and 2016.
Hubert Hurkacz had also brought an end to Roger Federer's Wimbledon campaign
Hubert Hurkacz had ended Roger Federer's 2021 Wimbledon campaign a few months ago by beating the eight-time champion 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-0 in the quarterfinals.
While the Pole played a pretty solid match on the day, Federer was considerably below his best. The Swiss even injured his knee during the second-set tiebreak, which rendered him a complete passenger in the third set.
With Roger Federer's knee failing him time and again, many feel that the match against Hubert Hurkacz may have been Federer's last at the SW19. But the Swiss has expressed his desire to return to the tour once again and even take part in the 2022 Laver Cup.
It remains to be seen if his fitness and form hold up for a return to the Championships next year.