The La Fontaine Tunnel isn’t the only place experiencing heavy traffic. In Melbourne, there’s some serious gridlock when it comes to deciding who will dominate the ATP rankings at the outcome of the season-opening Slam.
The fate of Carlos Alcaraz, the youngest year-end No.1 in ATP history, is in the hands of his fellow players. His withdrawal from the Australian Open due to a leg injury means he’ll be deprived of the 90 points he earned from his third-round appearance last year.
Three contenders could remove him from the throne.
The World No.4, who got as far as the semis in 2022, has 720 points on the line. He’ll have to seize the AO crown to ascend to the throne.
Notably absent from Melbourne last year owing to a particularly distracting antivax stance, the current No.5 has no points to defend. In 2023, he’s set his sights on a record-extending 10th Australian title and 22nd Slam to tie Rafael Nadal.
After being toppled from the summit last June, he’ll have to raise the winner’s trophy to float back up to No.1.
After missing his first opportunity to accede to the World No.1 ranking at the US Open last summer, No.3 Casper Ruud gets to take another stab at it.
The door is actually wide open: seeded second, he has a total of zero points to defend since an ankle injury forced him to skip last year’s tournament.
A win in Melbourne or an appearance in the final without being ousted by Stefanos Tsitsipas or Novak Djokovic will send him straight to the top.
Even though he sits at No.2 and isn’t too far behind Alcaraz in terms of points (5,770 vs. 6,820), Rafa definitely won’t be the new No.1 because he pocketed a gargantuan 2,000 points last season.
Despite his heartbreaking 2022 AO loss after leading eventual finalist Daniil Medvedev by two sets, Félix still managed to achieve a mammoth milestone in Melbourne: a quarterfinal berth that dispatched him to the Top 10 (No.9), where he remained for the rest of season.
With 3,895 points, winning the championship would punch his ticket to the Top 5.
IN THE WTA
On the women’s side, the stakes aren’t as high. Indeed, absolutely no one can outrun World No.1 Iga Swiatek.
The 21-year-old is so dominant that she has more than double the points banked by her closest rival Ons Jabeur (11,015 vs.5,180).
By virtue of her 37-match winning streak, Swiatek will remain at No.1 even if she loses every match between now and the French Open.
But we all know that’ll never happen.
DON’T MISS A MINUTE
With Melbourne 16 hours ahead of Montréal and the rest of the province, you’ll have to stay up all night to catch live AO action on TSN, RDS (in French) or your favourite streaming service.