Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Dominic Thiem are all exceptional players, the three best the men’s game has to offer right now.

Each of one of them has the chance to finish 2020 as the top ranked player but which one of them will close the year with the most points?

We’ve looked at what can happen between now and December 31st and make our prediction for who will clinch the 2020 year-end No.1.

How many points do the three players have?

It’s impossible to talk about who will be the end-of-year number one without looking at where Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Dominic Thiem currently sit in the ATP rankings.

This is how the table stands:

1. Djokovic: 11,260 points
2. Nadal: 9,850 points
3. Thiem: 9,125 points

Djokovic has a healthy lead over his two rivals, 1,410 points ahead of Nadal and 2,135 in front of Thiem. But can the challengers overtake him? It’s possible.

There’s still a grand slam to be resolved, an ATP final to be played, and two 500 Series events on the cards. These tournaments alone account for 4,500 points, so there is hope for Nadal and Thiem.

The French Open is crucial for the No.1 spot

The French Open is the final grand slam tournament of 2020 and it will play a crucial role
in how the rankings close the year.

If one of Djokovic’s rivals beat him to the title they’ll get at least 800 points closer to him.

Thiem fell at the quarter final stage, while Nadal and Djokovic secured a minimum of a semi final appearance. This means it’s game on for Nadal, but Thiem may have too much ground to make up to get to the top spot.

The question then is whether people believe Nadal can outperform Djokovic.

History is on Nadal’s side here. He’s the most decorated French Open champion in history, with 12 titles to Djokovic’s solitary win. This means you’d be fair to assume he’s the favorite.

What do the odds say about the French Open?

Past performances are a great way to get a gut feel for how the French Open might play out, especially with the Spaniard being the greatest clay player of all time.

The problem with just making gut decisions is that it fails to account for how Nadal and Djokovic are actually playing right now, something that’s much more important than who has historically had the better of this grand slam.

We looked at the predictions being made by online casinos to see if you would indeed be right to pick Nadal as the French Open favorite. This is what we found:

– Oddschecker: Nadal at 21/20 and Djokovic at 5/4
– Bet365: Nadal at 1/1 and Djokovic at 6/5
– Paddy Power: Nadal at 11/10 and Djokovic at 5/4

They’re all slightly different but each casino site believes Nadal is the most likely winner — it’s just a case of how strongly they’re tipping him.

However, unlike past game results, the odds offered by these sites are constantly changing. For the latest figures we recommend checking the best sites for sports betting. These are updated frequently, giving you a clear picture of whether Nadal can be expected to beat Djokovic.

But even then, sports are incredibly difficult to predict because sometimes players just have a bad day. With all this in mind, we think that it’s fair to say that Nadal is likely to win the French Open and bring down Djokvic’s lead in doing so.

Hard court dominates the remainder of 2020

Let’s say that Rafael Nadal wins his 13th French Open and Djokovic falls at the semi final stage.

Taking into account Thiem’s quarter final loss, the rankings will look like this:

  1. Djokovic: 11,980 points
  2. Nadal: 11,850 points
  3. Thiem: 9,485 points

Djokovic’s lead has been trimmed to just 130 points.

Nadal then goes into the final part of the calendar knowing that outperforming Djokovic in the St. Petersburg Open, Vienna Open, and ATP Finals would make him a near certainty to end 2020 as the No.1.

Thiem would need to get the maximum number of points from those tournaments and hope that neither of his two rivals get any.

It’s game on for Nadal but Thiem is almost certainly out of the running.

However, even if you take such a rosy outlook on the French Open, there are two real challenges that Nadal will contend with.

Firstly, almost all of the remaining tournaments (including the three mentioned above) are on hard courts, Djokovic’s favourite surface and Nadal’s least favourite.

And this isn’t based on gut feeling. It’s grounded in cold hard information that comes from respected data collection sources. There are many places you can find the stats that back this up but the top option is Wikipedia, a source reliable enough that it’s the first page to appear in a Google search for “tennis open winners.”

Secondly, coronavirus could still cancel every remaining tournament on the 2020 calendar.

With all these things in mind, it’s a tough call over who will close the year as the No.1.

Conclusion: Djokovic will clinch the end of year No.1

Novak Djokovic has been number one for nearly 300 consecutive weeks and he won’t give up the top spot without a hell of a fight, not when he’s closing in on Roger Federer’s 310 week record.

We’re predicting that Rafael Nadal will win the French Open by beating the current No.1.

This will give him the belief that he can end 2020 as the highest ranked player, while Dominic Thiem will know that the top spot is beyond him.

What happens next? Djokovic clears up on the hard courts and retains his place as No.1.

Of course, we could be totally wrong and Thiem could (theoretically) finish the year as the number one. So, make sure you watch all the action to discover who comes out on top!

5 COMMENTS

  1. You have probably been told by now that your article is factually incorrect!! The points system for this year means players can only increase their points tally when they improve on their performance at the same tournament compared with last year (except for ATP Nitto Finals). Points don’t drop but only ratchet upwards. Thus, Nadal remains at 9,850 after Roland Garros and Djokovic improves to 11,740. (See for example https://live-tennis.eu/en/atp-live-ranking for accurate points). On this basis, Djokovic will almost certainly be year end number one!

  2. Thiem is out of contention for the year end Number 1 ranking even if he wins all the remaining tournaments he enters into. Djokovic even if decides not to play in any tournament for the rest of the year will still have 11,340 points. Nadal on the other hand can have a maximum of 11,590 points if he wins the Rolex Paris Masters and all of his matches at the Atp finals. 11, 390 points if he loses one match in ATP finals round robin but still wins the championship. Djokovic failed to snatch the year-end number 1 ranking from Nadal last year. Nadal has never won both the Paris Maters and the ATP Finals so the task of getting the year-end number 1 ranking is much harder for him this year than for Djokovic last year. But who knows?

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