Naomi Osaka’s Australian Open championship moved her up one spot to No. 2 in the WTA rankings on Monday, while men’s finalist Daniil Medvedev rose to a career-best No. 3 behind winner Novak Djokovic on the ATP list as Andy Murray said that the “young guns” on the men’s tour have not closed the gap on the “Big Three.”
Jennifer Brady, the 25-year-old American who was the runner-up to Osaka, jumped 11 spots to No. 13, her first time inside the top 20.
Aslan Karatsev’s historic run from qualifying to the final four before losing to nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic allowed him to vault 72 places from 114th to 42nd.
He is the first man in the professional era to reach the semi-finals in his debut in the main draw of a major tournament.
Despite winning the past two Grand Slam tournaments she entered, Osaka still trails No. 1 Ash Barty — who lost in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park — because of the way the tennis tours are calculating what they are calling “frozen” rankings following last season’s hiatus amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Essentially, for players’ rankings not to be hurt if they skipped events as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the WTA gives credit for someone’s best 16 tournaments since March 2019.
For example, Barty took nearly a full year off, but still has her points from winning the 2019 French Open and reaching the semi-finals at the Australian Open last year.
Serena Williams climbed four spots from No. 11 to No. 7 to get back into the Top 10 after making it to the semi-finals in Australia a year after losing in the third round there.
After her previous title in Melbourne, Osaka became the first tennis player from Asia to reach No. 1 in the women’s or men’s rankings.
Osaka swapped places with Simona Halep, who went from No. 2 to No. 3 after losing to Williams in the quarter-finals.
After beating Medvedev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 on Sunday for his 18th Grand Slam title, Djokovic is assured of remaining at No. 1 at least another two weeks, which will raise his career total in that spot to 311.
That means he will break Roger Federer’s ATP record of 310 weeks atop the rankings.
Rafael Nadal stayed at No. 2 after losing in the quarter-finals, while Medvedev’s second appearance in a Grand Slam final pushed him up one spot.
Murray said that he was not surprised that Djokovic won on Sunday.
“I expected the final to be closer, but I also know how good Novak is there and when he’s on his game and highly motivated,” Murray said.
“It’s different standing to return or to serve in a Grand Slam final, than a quarter-final or a semi-final, when you are coming up against someone who’s won 17 of them. It’s pretty intimidating and younger guys have not shown that they are particularly close,” he said.
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