Jannik Sinner To Replace Novak Djokovic As Unofficial World No. 1 Heading Into Roland Garros

by 24britishtvMay 13, 2024, 1 p.m. 23
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Novak Djokovic’s early exit from the Italian Open on Sunday paves the way for No. 2 Jannik Sinner to replace him as the unofficial world No. 1 heading into the start of Roland Garros on May 26.

Djokovic currently holds a slim lead over Sinner for No. 1, but his 2,000 points from winning last year’s French Open will drop off at the start of the tournament, moving Sinner into the No. 1 position.

Even if the 37-year-old Djokovic goes on to win a record 25th Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, Sinner could rise to world No. 1 for the first time on June 10 by reaching the championship match.

If Djokovic loses in the final, Sinner needs to make the semifinals to become No. 1.

The Serb needs to reach at least the semifinals to retain the No. 1 ranking, and would then need Sinner to get bounced early.

Djokovic lost Sunday in Rome to Alejandro Tabilo of Chile, 6-2, 6-3, in the third round. The loss to the world No. 32 happened two days after he was accidentally hit on the head by a water bottle while signing autographs in Rome.

He then returned to the courts the next day wearing a bicycle helmet over his cap.

“It was a very unfortunate, unlucky situation … that guy leaned over the fence, and the bottle dropped from his rucksack and landed on my head,” Djokovic said.

“It was unexpected. I wasn’t even looking up. Then I felt a very strong hit in the head. That has really impacted me. After that I got the medical care. Been through half-an-hour, an hour of nausea, dizziness, blood, a lot of different things.”

“I managed to sleep okay. I had headaches. Yesterday was fine, so I thought it’s okay. Maybe it’s okay. Maybe it’s not.”

“The way I felt on the court was just completely like a different player entered into my shoes. No rhythm, no tempo, no balance whatsoever on any shot. It’s a bit concerning.”

The 22-year-old Sinner, who skipped Rome with a hip injury sustained in Madrid, will be defending only 45 points in Paris but faces a race against time to be fully fit.

Djokovic had endured a bumpy season even before the bottle incident as the Serb’s bid for a record-extending 11th title at the Australian Open was snuffed out by eventual champion Sinner in the semifinals.

He then fell to lucky loser Luca Nardi in the Indian Wells third round before being outlasted by Casper Ruud in the Monte Carlo semifinals, sparking fear among fans that his aura of invincibility was slowly fading.

Despite winning three out of the four Grand Slams last year, Djokovic split with longtime coach Goran Ivanisevic and fitness coach Marco Panichi in a bid to rediscover his best form ahead of Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and the Paris Olympics.

Talk of terminal decline may still be premature and Djokovic could silence critics by winning a fourth title at the claycourt major, but he admitted things must improve fast after reaching May without a trophy for the first time since 2018.

“Everything needs to be better in order for me to have at least a chance to win it,” said Djokovic.

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