The French Open draw has taken place and we now have a good idea of what the potential semifinals and final could be. The most likely scenario is one of Carlos Alcaraz or Novak Djokovic facing Daniil Medvedev in the final at Roland Garros. It should be noted that if either man wins the French Open, destiny is in their own hands and they will be the top-ranked player in tennis no matter what. But what if neither men win the Grand Slam and what are all the possible permutations that could see them become World No. 1 after the French Open?
In this article, we will go through all the possible scenarios that could see either Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz or Daniil Medvedev come out of the French Open as the World No. 1.
Before we get started, here's a quick reminder of the current ATP rankings going into Paris:
- Carlos Alcaraz – 6,815 points
- Daniil Medvedev – 6,330 points
- Novak Djokovic –5,955 points
Alcaraz is the current World No. 1 and the top seed at Roland Garros. The Spaniard went out in the quarterfinals to Alexander Zverev last year which means he's only defending 360 points. Essentially, that means a win in Paris will see him earn an extra 1,740 points which as aforementioned, would keep him as the World No. 1.
Interestingly, Alcaraz can remain at the summit even if he goes out in the first round to third round. In that case, he would just need Medvedev to not reach the semifinal, Djokovic to not reach the final or for Stefanos Tsitsipas (we'll get to him later) to not win the French Open.
The same applies if he bows out in the fourth round, but he would still remain No. 1 even if Tsitsipas emerged victorious. If the 20-year-old goes out in the quarterfinal or semifinal, he will stay No. 1 so as long as Medvedev doesn't reach the final or Djokovic doesn't win a third French Open crown.
Finally, he will remain No. 1 even if he finishes as a runner-up so as long as the winner of the competition isn't Medvedev.
Like Alcaraz, Djokovic also exited the French Open in the quarterfinals last year losing to eventual champion Rafael Nadal. That means a third French Open title would see the Serbian earn an extra 1,740 points which would see him jump from No. 3 back to No. 1 in the ATP rankings. However, given that he is currently third, he has far fewer scenarios of coming out of Roland Garros as the top-ranked tennis player.
The only other way Djokovic can become No. 1 is as a runner-up in the final provided Alcaraz fails to make the quarterfinals or Medvedev fails to make the semifinals. To sum it all up, the 22-time Grand Slam winner has to make the final at the very least if he wants to finish the clay-court season as the World No. 1.
Medvedev was sent packing in the fourth round at Roland Garros by Marin Cilic last year. That means the Italian Open champion stands to earn as many as 1,820 points should he win just his second Grand Slam title — enough to see him overtake Alcaraz even if the latter finishes second.
The Russian could also leapfrog Alcaraz to No. 1 if he finished as a runner-up in Paris, provided neither Alcaraz nor Djokovic win the title. Finally, Medvedev could reach the summit even with a semifinal finish so as long as Alcaraz doesn't make the quarterfinals or Djokovic doesn't win the title.
Tsitsipas is the wild card in all this as he is also in contention to become the World No. 1 for the first time in his career. However, unlike the previous three, it's not in his hands as he will require many things to go his way even with a first Grand Slam title. That's despite also having up to 1,820 points up for grabs considering he exited in the fourth round last year just like Medvedev.
And so, for Tsitsipas — who currently boasts 4,775 points in fifth — he not only has to win the French Open; he also requires Alcaraz to not make it past the third round or for Medvedev to not reach the semifinal stage. Medvedev not reaching the last four is possible, but Alcaraz not making it to the fourth round seems a tough ask. Not to mention, Tsitsipas is still yet to win a Grand Slam too, so all in all, this seems highly unlikely.
But then again, anything is possible in tennis. What is for sure is this year's French Open promises to be an exciting affair — even with the unfortunate news that Nadal will be missing out.