Roger Federer is back in the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings after winning his 18th Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open.
After missing the last six months of the 2016 ATP World Tour season to rehab his knee following arthroscopic surgery in February, the 35-year-old Swiss started the new year at No. 17, his lowest standing since May 2001. But his stunning triumph at Melbourne Park, where he beat Rafael Nadal in a five-set finale, saw Federer jump seven places to re-join the game’s elite.
“I think this one will take more time to sink in,” admitted Federer, who had waited almost five years to taste Grand Slam glory against after his 2012 Wimbledon victory. “When I go back to Switzerland, I’ll think, ‘Wow’.
“The magnitude of this match is going to feel different. I can’t compare this one to any other one except for maybe the French Open [at Roland Garros] in 2009. I waited for the French Open, I tried, I fought. I tried again and failed. Eventually I made it. This feels similar.”
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The 2017 Australian Open turned out to be a Grand Slam of fairy tales. Federer facing his great rival Nadal across the net was nothing short of remarkable, considering the way 2016 ended for Nadal, nursing a wrist injury and finishing his season early in October. The Spaniard’s run in Melbourne sees him return to No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
But no-one lit up Melbourne Park more than Mischa Zverev. At 29-years-old, the German stunned World No. 1 Andy Murray to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final (l. to Federer) and captured the hearts of the Australian public, who learned that just two years ago Zverev had been ranked outside the Top 1000. It has been a long road back for Zverev, who almost quit playing as injuries took hold. But he is now at a career-high No. 35 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, eclipsing his previous career-high of eight years ago by 10 spots.
“There’s a lot of positive things I can take with me, hopefully take with me through the whole season, use the confidence to do well in many more tournaments to come,” said Zverev.
“Half a year ago I was hoping I could maybe be in the Top 100. Now I’m ranked a lot higher. So you never know where the game’s going to take you. If I stay healthy, then a lot of things are possible this year.”
There is also a career-high position for Great Britain’s Daniel Evans, who backed up his Sydney runner-up finish by reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open, taking out Marin Cilic and Bernard Tomic before falling to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The 26 year old rose six spots to break into the Top 50 at World No. 45.
Three other notable leaps saw former World No. 18 Andreas Seppi rewarded for his fourth-round performance by rising 21 spots to No. 68; Novak Djokovic’s conqueror, Denis Istomin, surged up 37 spots to re-join the Top 100 at No. 80; meanwhile #NextGenATP star rose 32 places to No. 73 after winning his eighth ATP Challenger Tour title last week in Maui (d. Daniel).