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Pete’s Power Rankings: Zverev making push after Olympic win

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August 3, 2021
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Karen Khachanov, Alexander Zverev, and Pablo Carreno Busta stand together holding their Olympic medals while wearing masks.

Photo : Kopatsch/Sato/Sidorjak

Welcome to Pete’s Power Rankings, where we paint a picture of the ATP Tour by looking at recent results and ranking players based on their current form, rather than the ATP’s point system.

The power rankings will be updated weekly all the way up to the National Bank Open.

For the first time in months, Novak Djokovic’s dominance actually looks… maybe not in doubt, but no longer absolute.

The Serb is still the man to beat on the tour, but the Olympics made him look vulnerable.

As the regular ATP schedule returns after the Olympics, there are a handful of players lining up now behind the world No. 1, believing that they can be the one to knock him off the top of the mountain.

Let’s break down who is nipping at Djokovic’s heels in our ATP Power Rankings:

PETE’S ATP TOUR POWER RANKINGS – Week of August 2, 2021

1. Novak DjokovicChange: –
2021 Record: 38-5 (4 Titles)Actual Rank: 1Last Week Result: Olympics – 4th

Despite his losing consecutive matches for the first time since 2019, Djokovic is still the clear-cut top player in the world right now and will be the favourite in every event he enters, including the US Open where he will go for the Grand Slam.

That being said, the signs of exhaustion he showed in Tokyo were concerning and his aura of invincibility is not as strong as it was before the Olympics. He is still the man to beat, but he does not look as untouchable as he did before.

2. Alexander ZverevChange: +1
2021 Record: 33-11 (3 Titles)Actual Rank: 5Last Week Result: Olympics – Gold

Which of Zverev’s wins was the bigger one this week? His gold medal victory over Karen Khachanov? Or his three-set comeback win over Djokovic in the semis.

Either way, those will both rank among the biggest wins in the German’s career to-date and his gold medal is by far the biggest title he has won yet.

We’ve known for years that Zverev can beat the best when on his game. He should have all the confidence in the world coming into the summer hard courts.

3.Daniil MedvedevChange: -1
2021 Record: 32-9 (2 Titles)Actual Rank: 2Last Week Result: Olympics – QF

The world No. 2 will probably be disappointed with his quarter-final loss in Tokyo, but the fact remains that he is one of the best hard-court players in the world, having reached at least the final of all three big summer hard-court events in the past, including a title in Cincinnati.

He had the best June-July run of his career so he should have some confidence despite his loss at the Olympics.

4. Matteo BerrettiniChange: –
2021 Record: 32-7 (2 Titles)Actual Rank: 8Last Week Result: DNP

It will be interesting to see what kind of level Berrettini brings to the summer hard courts after skipping the Olympics. He will be confident after reaching the Wimbledon final, but he has not played in several weeks so it could be tough to find momentum after this long.

5.Stefanos TsitsipasChange: –
2021 Record: 41-11 (2 Titles)Actual Rank: 4Last Week Result: Olympics – R3

Tsitsipas has never been a great grass player, so he will be looking to put Wimbledon behind him and get back to the way he was playing on the clay as the surface switches to hard courts, where he is much more comfortable. He made the final last time he played in Toronto.

6.Karen KhachanovChange: +4
2021 Record: 25-16Actual Rank: 25Last Week Result: Olympics – Silver

A Wimbledon quarter-final followed by an Olympic silver medal makes the last few weeks one of the best stretches of Khachanov’s career to date. The Russian is clearly in good form and feeling good, which should be a scary prospect for the rest of the tour given how well his game is tailored to quick hard courts.

7.Pablo Carreno BustaChange: +2
2021 Record: 28-10 (2 Titles)Actual Rank: 11Last Week Result: Olympics – Bronze

Speaking of players in good form, July was probably the best month of Pablo Carreno Busta’s career. First, he won his biggest title at the ATP 500 event in Hamburg, and then followed it up with a bronze medal at the Olympics, beating Djokovic to get on the podium.

Very few players will be arriving on the North American hard courts with as much momentum as Carreno Busta.

8.Hubert HurkaczChange: -2
2021 Record: 20-13 (2 Titles)Actual Rank: 13Last Week Result: Olympics – R1

Hurkacz finished the spring hard-court swing in top form by winning Miami. His return did not go very well at the Olympics, but he has shown that he is capable of making an impact on this surface when given the chance.

9.Denis ShapovalovChange: -2
2021 Record: 22-15Actual Rank: 10Last Week Result: DNP

Shapovalov will look to pick up where he left off at Wimbledon, and forget about Gstaad, when he returns on home soil in Toronto next week. The Wimbledon performance is probably more indicative of his form give the surface is probably closer to what the rest of the year will be played on.

10. Andrey RublevChange: -2
2021 Record: 36-12 (1 Title)Actual Rank: 7Last Week Result: Olympics – R1

Most of Rublev’s best results have come on hard court, so he will be happy to be returning to the surface after a very average clay and grass season. He will also want to put his surprising round one loss at the Olympics behind him quickly.

11.Rafael NadalChange: +1
2021 Record: 23-4 (2 Titles)Actual Rank: 3Last Week Result: DNP

The 20-time major champion returns to action this week in Washington, his first hard-court tournament since the Australian Open, before going for his first ever three-peat next week in Canada.

The muggy conditions are usually tricky in Washington so it will be interesting to see how Nadal fares in his first matches in two months.

12.Casper RuudChange: +3
2021 Record: 35-9 (4 Titles)Actual Rank: 12Last Week Result: Kitzbuhel – W

The only reason Ruud is not higher on this list is the surface shift. The Norwegian has won three titles in the last three weeks, meaning he is probably as confident as anyone right now. The catch is that all of those titles came on clay and his hard-court record is not as impressive.

13.Félix Auger-AliassimeChange: -2
2021 Record: 24-15Actual Rank: 15Last Week Result: Olympics – R1

Auger-Aliassime is also competing this week in Washington, hoping to quickly put his disappointing first-round loss at the Olympics behind him. The Canadian had a great grass swing, making a final and a maiden major semi, but his momentum may have been stumped by the loss in Tokyo.

He will have home-court advantage next week in Canada.

14.Diego SchwartzmanChange: -1
2021 Record: 20-13 (1 Title)Actual Rank: 14Last Week Result: Olympics – R3

Schwartzman’s third-round loss in Tokyo was quickly forgiven when Khachanov went on to win the silver medal. He is a capable hard-court player, you just have to wonder what kind of effect the lack of match play over the last two months will have on him.

15.Roger FedererChange: -1
2021 Record: 9-4Actual Rank: 9Last Week Result: DNP

Still waiting on an update as to Federer’s health. He cited injury in his Olympic withdrawal and there has been no word on him since.

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