ATP Rankings 2014: Tennis World Tour Has Rafael Nadal No. 1 As Roger Federer 8, Stanislas Wawrinka and Del Potro In Top Five

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Jan 27, 2014 10:49 AM EST
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Rafael Nadal of Spain Stanislas Wawrinka
Rafael Nadal of Spain (R), Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland and Pete Sampras of the U.S. (C) pose during the prize ceremony after the men's singles final match at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 26, 2014. "

Rafael Nadal nearly made history at the Australian Open 2014 and after Stanislas Wawrinka won the tournament for his first grand slam title, the ATP World Tour rankings took a new shape, as Nadal is number one and the Swiss star is number three, pusing Roger Federer to 8, while Novak Djokovic is still second and Juan Martin Del Potro is now in fourth.

The top five has Nadal, Djokovic, Wawrinka, Del Potro followed by David Ferrer and after that has Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych as well as Roger Federer and the top 10 is rounded out by Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The top rankings have a brand new look to them and Federer is lower than he has been in a decade, while he is also no longer the top ranked Swiss player. Nadal was injured in the finals against Wawrinka, but he is expected to be healthy for his next scheduled tournament.

Here is a look at the rankings from Reuters.com after the Australian Open and how it shakes things up. Stanislas Wawrinka defeating Rafa Nadal to further undermine the superiority of the so-called big four in men's tennis. In reaching the final after missing last year's tournament Nadal has cemented his world No. 1 ranking and will be hard to shift from the summit but below him the landscape is changing.

Novak Djokovic, whose bid for a fourth consecutive Australian Open title was thwarted by the inspired Wawrinka, remains No. 2 but both Andy Murray and Roger Federer are falling, to numbers six and eight respectively.

There are mitigating factors in Murray's case because he missed the final third of last year because of a back surgery which, as proved in his loss to Federer, will require time before he regains his former strength and power.

Federer, who played beautifully to reach the semis, was outplayed by Nadal and the suspicion remains that while still majestic at his best, his chances of adding to his record haul of 17 grand slam titles are receding.

Wawrinka's wonderful fortnight in Melbourne has propelled him to third in the rankings, making him Switzerland's number one after a career spent in Federer's shadow.

At number four is burly Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, who before Wawrinka's defeat of Nadal, was the last player to muscle into the grand slam winners' club dominated for the past decade by Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and more recently Murray.

Del Potro's second-round exit in Melbourne can be seen as a blip and with his injury woes behind him he will be dangerous at all the remaining slams this year.

Melbourne semi-finalist Tomas Berdych, at number seven, will also take heart from Wawrinka's breakthrough after regularly reaching the business end of grand slam tournaments, only to fall short against the big guns.

Spain's David Ferrer will slip from three to five in Monday's ranking list and while he will continue to hustle and bustle, his career looks unlikely to include a major title.

Although the quartet of Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and Federer will, for now, continue to be the first names brought up when talking of the main challengers at the big tournaments, the gap between them and the rest is shrinking.

Wawrinka, still at the peak of his powers at 28, is the spearheading the assault with Del Potro and Berdych in close support but others are lurking in the undergrowth.

Bulgaria's 22-year-old Grigor Dimitrov will enter the world's top 20 for the first time and his run to the quarter-finals in Australia where he hade Nadal in all sorts of trouble could prove a pivotal moment in his career. Japan's Kei Nishikori is growing in stature and Canadian Milos Raonic has the serve and forehand to do damage.

They will all move on from Australia with an extra spring in their step, believing that they will not necessarily have to wait for the current golden generation to step aside before they can make their mark.

Former world number three Ivan Ljubicic summed up the mood.

"I wonder how many players went: "oh, so it can be done!" the Croatian said on Twitter following Wawrinka's victory.

The women's game has also been given a shake-up this past fortnight with Serena Williams surprisingly beaten by a rejuvenated Ana Ivanovic, Maria Sharapova losing to Dominika Cibulkova and Victoria Azarenka going out Agnieszka Radwanska.

China's Li Na is not exactly a new kid on the block but in winning her second grand slam title could well have an eye on the No.1 ranking this year, should Williams fall below the incredible standards she set in 2013.

Canada's Eugenie Bouchard, who reached the semi-finals in Australia, will lead the challenge from the next generation.

The Australian Open, far from being a predictable romp for the favourites, has breathed new life into the sport and the months ahead promise to be engrossing as the heavyweights try to stand their ground under fire from multiple directions.

(Reuters)

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