05:39 AM GMT April 01, 2019
Age is just a number, right?
It certainly seems that way for 37-year-old Roger Federer. Thanks to his victory at the Miami Open presented by Itau, Federer now leads the ATP Race To London, taking a 55-point lead over second-placed Novak Djokovic.
Entering the ‘Sunshine Double’ — the first two ATP Masters 1000 tournaments of the year in Indian Wells and Miami — Federer sat in ninth place in the Race with 680 points, having just moved up 39 spots thanks to his triumph at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, an ATP 500 event. The Swiss star has made a giant leap since, first earning 600 points for his runner-up showing in the California desert and then adding 1,000 points on Sunday after lifting his 28th Masters 1000 title in Miami.
ATP Race To London - 1 April 2019
|1. Roger Federer||2,280|
|2. Novak Djokovic||2,225|
|3. Rafael Nadal||1,605|
|4. Stefanos Tsitsipas||1,460|
|5. Dominic Thiem||1,145|
It is the third consecutive year that Federer has led the Race after the ‘Sunshine Double’. Prior to accomplishing the feat in 2017, he had not done so since 2007.
The 101-time tour-level champion holds an 18-2 record so far this year, earning more wins than anyone else on the ATP Tour. He is trying to qualify for the prestigious Nitto ATP Finals for the 17th time.
“These Masters 1000s are hard to win. They are really a test for me, especially later in my career,” Federer said. “I know these guys don't come around very often, so when they do, it's a bit of a surprise for me. That's why this one feels really cool in many ways.”
Australian Open champion and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is second in the Race with 2,225 points. Rafael Nadal is third with 1,605 points thanks to making the final in Melbourne and the semi-finals in Indian Wells.
But perhaps the biggest standout in the Race thus far has been reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek star was 76th in the Race this time last year, but he leaves Miami this season in fourth position.
Tsitsipas has 1,460 points, 1,231 more than he had on 2 April 2018. The 20-year-old is trying to reach The O2 in London for the first time, striving to compete at the season finale from 10-17 November. He remains eligible to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan for the second time.
Fifth-placed Dominic Thiem has put himself in good position early on in the Race, leaving South Florida with 1,145 points. The Austrian gave himself a major boost in Indian Wells, where he captured his maiden Masters 1000 title to earn 1,000 points.
Fan favourite Gael Monfils has made an early case to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the second time (2016), using an impressive start to the year to stand in seventh place with 995 points. Daniil Medvedev, who like Tsitsipas is a Next Gen ATP Finals alumnus, is currently on the bubble with 895 points.
The two #NextGenATP Canadians who made waves in Miami — Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime — are also in good position. Both semi-finalists in South Florida, Auger-Aliassime is No. 12 with 786 points, and Shapovalov is No. 14 with 675 points. It's an impressive effort by the teenagers, as Felix and Shapovalov were two and three years old, respectively, when Federer qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time.
They aren't the only Canadians who got off to a hot start in 2019, though. Former World No. 3 Milos Raonic is in 11th place with 855 points. Raonic competed at The O2 in 2014 and 2016.
Reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev will look to ascend the Race standings during the clay-court season. The German currently is No. 22 with 535 points. Zverev is trying to qualify for the third consecutive year. Right behind him in 23rd place, also with 535 points, is former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka. The Swiss made The O2 four straight times from 2013-16.