Now it’s official: From Monday there will be a new number one in men’s tennis; however, it is not yet certain who that will be. Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud will play in the final on Sunday for both the US Open victory and the lead in the world rankings – a real showdown, like the duel between two pistolos on the main street of a western town.
Alcaraz could replace Lleyton Hewitt as the youngest number one in history. He is 19 years and 129 days old on Sunday, while the Australian was 20 years and 268 days old. It will also be the number one with the fewest points since the scoring was introduced. Djokovic had the most in June 2016: 16950; the new leader will have around 10,000 fewer – this is also due to the chaos of scoring this year (there were no points in Wimbledon), the non-admission of Djokovic in Melbourne (justified) and New York (unjustified), but also because something has happened in men’s tennis.
At such moments, Americans like to say, “There’s a new sheriff in town,” and in this case, there couldn’t be a more apt analogy than that of the lawman in a western town. For two decades, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic contended for this role. They chased numerous desperados out of town, even if every now and then someone won a gamble in the saloon (i.e. a Grand Slam tournament), such as Stan Wawrinka or Andy Murray – who, by the way, was also the sheriff for 41 weeks is.
Overall, it’s worth savoring, the Big Three have been at the top of men’s tennis for 17 years and eight weeks, and there may be a little more to come: Djokovic will be considered a favorite wherever he gets to go; And for the sake of completeness it must be mentioned: Djokovic was not only missing in Melbourne and New York, he did not get any points for his Wimbledon victory because the organizers excluded Russian athletes, but the association had therefore not awarded any points.
Nadal is also likely to return after recovering his body and the birth of his first child and playing for titles. Only Federer is clearly riding towards the sunset.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t boring, there weren’t any bales of hay flying through town like it was in heavyweight boxing during the Klitschko brothers’ reign, for example. This was due to the escalation of these triangular duels, but also to how the big three protected this Western town – with great respect, as keeper of traditions and at the same time curious promoter of new ideas: Federer as inventor of the Laver cupsDjokovic as a source of inspiration in tariff debates, Nadal as someone who is trusted to promote young people together with his uncle Toni.
The best in the industry set the tone for everyone else, dealing with peers, fans, judges. In the best-case scenario, they don’t do this with sheriff’s stars or revolvers as legitimation, but with natural authority based on success and their infinite respect for this game. If you look at the US Open looked around: everyone who is trying to succeed as sheriff seems to get what that means.
The tone that the new people in tennis set makes you want more
So there is no fear that chaos will break out in this west town, although around ten players are likely to regularly compete for victories in the saloon or this office of sheriff in the coming years. You can look forward to numerous thrilling duels in the midday sun, and if this US Open has shown one thing in men’s tennis: It’s a thriving city with lots of great law enforcement officers and hungry gold diggers like Frances Tiafoe or Jannik Sinner, and really every western needs exciting ones too Desperados like Nick Kyrgios. The tone that the new people set makes you want more.
The next big meeting on the marketplace is foreseeable, it will be about the position of sheriff at the end of the season: the finals in Turin, where the top eight of the ranking list will meet from November 13th. To get in the mood, you could watch the best western pistolero duels (High Noon; Silverado; Blazing Saddles; and of course The Good, the Bad and the Ugly), but if this US Open has shown one thing: The tournament in Turin should be at least as exciting become like these movies.