Wow, you are getting spoiled these days, I’ve never made two posts a day on such a consistent basis With all the talk of the duel for the year end number one spot between Roger and Rafa, the fact that Djokovic can still overtake Nadal for the number two spot at year end, have been mostly overlooked. Djokovic have never been number two, because Roger and Rafa has pretty much monopolized the number one and two spots in the rankings for the last few years. Djokovic has been within one win of the number two spot on two occasions when Roger was number two, but on both occasions the moment proved too big for him. Djokovic has been in the number three spot since August 2007, but was overtaken by Murray in June, only to regain it again in October this year.
Of late Djokovic has been showing great form, while Rafa has been struggling. You have to believe that if this trend continues, that Djokovic will overtake Rafa, even if it doesn’t happen at the Master Cup. As you can see from the article, if Djokovic goes undefeated throughout the tournament, Rafa needs to win twice to remain number two. If Djokovic wins two matches in group play and wins the tournament, then Rafa has to win one match to remain number two. Now you would expect Rafa to avoid losing his ranking, but there is a real possibility that Djokovic could overtake him. It’s not impossible that Rafa will lose all his matches in the round robin, and that Djokovic will win the tournament. It’s also not impossible that Rafa will only win one match in the groups and that Djokovic will go undefeated.
With the conditions not suiting Rafa’s game(he has only won one indoor event), the fact that he has been out of form, and with players in his group who all know that they can beat him, it is even more likely that he will lose all his matches or win just one match. Then it’s just a question of Djokovic fulfilling his end of the bargain. I’d say the odds of Djokovic overtaking Rafa in the rankings is even more likely than Rafa overtaking Roger, with the most likely scenario being that the rankings will remain unchanged in the top three spots. If Roger does not win the tournament, I wouldn’t mind if Djokovic wins the tournament and overtakes Rafa in the rankings in the process. That would be another crushing blow to the Spaniard’s confidence, and the less confidence he has the better for Roger.
However if Rafa somehow manages to steal the number one spot from Roger, it would do his confidence the world of good, and he would still feel that 2009 was a pretty successful year for him. But if he loses his spot to Djokovic, we may just see him slip down the rankings even further come 2010. So clearly there is everything to play for in this Masters Cup. As I stated before, I think Roger and Rafa’s first matches will be key. The outcome of those matches could set the trend for the whole tournament, especially Roger’s match. If Roger beats Verdasco, he will have a much needed win under the belt and his chances to make the semi-finals will have improved greatly. If however he gets upset by Verdasco, it will be a great blow to his confidence, and Rafa will see it and get extra motivation to beat Soderling.
In the case of Roger beating Verdasco, and Rafa losing to Soderling, Roger will be very close to securing the number one spot. And again, if Rafa loses to Soderling, regardless of what happen to Roger, it will give Djokovic a shot in the arm to go for that number two spot as well. So as you can see there are many interesting scenarios going on, and then of course the Masters Cup title is at stake as well, which in itself is no small thing. Now let the games begin…
Video: Roger and Rafa had a rare practice session together today, which Roger won 6-3. Yay!