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What does Novak Djokovic need to do to remain World No. 1 after Indian Wells?

  • Djokovic is currently 370 points ahead of Rafael Nadal.
Modified 02 Mar 2020, 13:09 IST

Novak Djokovic celebrates his 5th title at the Dubai Open in 2020
Novak Djokovic celebrates his 5th title at the Dubai Open in 2020

Novak Djokovic is the man to beat in 2020, having won all of his 18 singles matches across three different tournaments.

Having started the season by winning all 6 of his singles matches for Team Serbia at the inaugural ATP Cup, the 32-year-old followed it up by beating 6-time champion Roger Federer in the semifinals of the Australian Open. He then recovered from two sets to one down in the final against Dominic Thiem to win a record-extending 8th Australian Open title.

Following his success down under, Djokovic entered Dubai for the first time since a quarterfinal loss to Feliciano Lopez in 2016. Three straight-set wins over Malek Jaziri, Philipp Kohlschreiber, and Karen Khachanov ensured that the Serb would stay at the top of the ATP rankings after the Dubai Open.

Djokovic reprised his match-saving avatar in the semifinals. The 17-time Grand Slam titlist saved three consecutive match points against Gael Monfils to maintain his perfect record against the Frenchman and extend his spotless record for the season to 17-0 before beating returning finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to win his 5th title at the tournament.

Despite second-placed Rafael Nadal winning his first title of the season at the ATP 500 tournament in Acapulco a few hours later, Djokovic opened up a 370-point lead over the Spaniard in the race for the no. 1 ranking.

The season now moves to Indian Wells for the first Masters 1000 tournament of the season. After losing in the third round to Philipp Kohlschreiber last year, Djokovic will only be defending 45 points at the tournament as opposed to Nadal, who will be defending 360 points after making the semifinals last year (walkover against Roger Federer).

This gives Djokovic an overall headstart of 685 points (370 + 360 - 45) going into 2020 Indian Wells.

Djokovic has the race for no. 1 firmly in his own hands. He will retain the numero uno spot in the rankings if he makes the semifinals of the tournament or if Nadal doesn't secure his 4th title at Indian Wells.


By making the semifinals, Djokovic will add 360 points to his kitty which would give him an unassailable 1045-point lead over Nadal who can only earn a maximum of 1000 points by winning the title.

However, if Djokovic falls before the semifinals and Nadal goes all the way, the Spaniard will reclaim the no. 1 ranking he last held at the 2020 Australian Open.

Also read: 4 milestones Djokovic could achieve in 2020.

Published 02 Mar 2020, 13:09 IST
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