Madrid Masters - Screencap by elise
If you'd told any of us a year ago that we would be spending our time doing calculations to determine whether Rafa would be the year end number one ranked player, we'd have been beyond thrilled. But that is exactly where we find ourselves this week.
It's never easy to navigate the minefield of the ATP Rulebook so we have to make some assumptions. The main issue is the confusion surrounding zero pointers. If you look at the ATP Rankings and the Emirates ATP Race to London, Rafa has 11670 points. This includes points from all the tournaments he has played this year to date. The big question is whether he will be allowed to count all of these in light of his withdrawal from the Swiss Indoors in Basel. It could be that he has to discount his worst result in ATP 500 and lesser tournaments, in which case he loses the 150 points he got in Viña del Mar right at the start of his season. We won't know for sure until October 28 when the ATP post the list of rankings going into the Paris Masters.
Viña del Mar - Screencap by MAC
In any case, Novak Djokovic is the only other player who could take the number one spot. He has 9610 points in the year to date. If he wins Paris (1000 points), all his matches at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals(1500 points) and both his singles matches in the Davis Cup Final and Serbia win the tie(225 points), he'll end the year on 12335
Let's assume Djokovic does achieve this to give us a worst case scenario.
The Viña del Mar points make a huge difference to what Rafa has to do to secure the year end number one.
Rafa has 11520 points without Viña del Mar and 11670 with it.
That leaves Rafa with a shortfall of 815 without Viña del Mar and 665 with it.
To make 815 he has to
a) get to the Paris final (600 points) and win 2 matches at the WTF (400 points) - total 1000 points
b) get to the Paris semi (360 points) and win 3 matches at the WTF (600 points) - total 960 points
c) get to the WTF final (1000 points)
To make 665 he has to
a) get to the Paris final (600 points) and win 1 match at WTF (200 points) - total 800 points
b) get to the Paris semi (360 points) and win 2 matches at WTF (400 points) - total 760 points
c) get to the Paris QF (180) and win 3 matches at WTF (600) - total 780 points
d) get to the WTF final (1000 points)
2010 World Tour Finals - Screencap by rafafanatic
For the record, on the three occasions he has played in Paris he got at least as far as the quarter final. He has played at the World Tour Finals in London three times. It was not an auspicious debut in 2009 (we think he was saving himself for the Davis Cup final) but he made it to the final in 2010. In 2011 he won one match there despite suffering from a debilitating virus.
Of course, if Rafa could manage to win the Paris Masters he'd get 1000 points and Djokovic could only get a maximum of 600 points which would take him to a year end total of 11975. Rafa would have 12670 with Viña del Mar and 12520 without it so would be fine either way.
Considering his incredible comeback from a seven month layoff to win 10 tournaments (including 2 slams and 5 ATP Masters) and the fact that he has reached this position without competing in the year's first slam, it only seems fitting that he should take this year's crown.
Whatever happens, though, we'll continue to love and support Rafa.
And we'll always have shirtless pictures.
Rafa at the Davis Cup Playoff - ©Electricwitch
Buena Suerte, Rafa