The recent US Open champion will overtake Rafael Nadal for the No. 2 spot in the FedEx ATP Rankings if he claims his first Roland Garros title. That would be a historic achievement. Since Nadal moved ahead of Lleyton Hewitt to become World No. 2 on 25 July 2005, only four players have held that spot: Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
“Honestly, I didn’t think about the ranking at all so far,” Thiem told ATPTour.com the day after he triumphed at Flushing Meadows. “I was just fully focussed on the US Open the past weeks, but now the goal is to hopefully rise even higher in the rankings, which is super, super tough.”
Nadal and Thiem could clash in the Roland Garros semi-finals. They have met in the final at the clay-court major the past two years, with Nadal emerging victorious on both occasions.
Active Players Outside The Big Four Who Have Reached World No. 3
Thiem is one of 18 players to hold World No. 3 since July 2005, but he will push to climb higher.
“We all know the two names who are in front of me,” Thiem said, referring to Nadal and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. “But now it’s time to enjoy this a little bit and then get ready for the French. It’s a great opportunity, two huge tournaments in a row and I’m looking forward to it.”
Eleven of the 18 players who have held World No. 3 over the past 15-plus years have peaked at that ranking. In order to break the trend, Thiem needs to win back-to-back Grand Slam titles.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, players can’t lose points they earned last year, but they can replace 2019 points with a better result. Therefore, Nadal’s tally will not change as he lifted his 12th Coupe de Mousquetaires (2,000 points) last year. Thiem can replace his 1,200 runner-up points if he wins the title, which would move him past Nadal by 75 points.
The Austrian will not be looking ahead of his first-round match, a blockbuster showdown against 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic. The first seeded opponent he could face is 28th seed Casper Ruud, who made the semi-finals at last week’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
Other dangerous players in Thiem’s section include 2016 champion Stan Wawrinka, former World No. 1 Andy Murray, #NextGenATP Canadian star Felix Auger-Aliassime and big-serving American Reilly Opelka. Rome finalist Diego Schwartzman and eighth seed Gael Monfils are also in the third seed’s quarter.