Rafael Nadal holds year end number one as we speak.
Even if Novak Djokovic wins in Shanghai he still will be. The Spaniard is missing from action this week due to a wrist injury and of course gets married on the 19th.
If Novak does win Shanghai he will be 460 points off Nadal in first position.
Despite this gap I still only see one person claiming it, Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic looks very locked in at the moment. He barely broke a sweat in Tokyo and against Shapovalov gave him a good run around dropping 8 points on serve in the entire match.
The way he is hitting the ball to stop him you will have to play better tennis.
I know there is this shoulder/elbow problem which has been knocking around for a bit and bothered him in New York but he is smart and I doubt his team would allow him to play unless they were confident.
If anything the race for number one is going to come down to two events. Paris Masters and World Tour Finals.
Rafa has only played at five indoor hard tournaments since the beginning of 2015 (Laver Cup or Davis Cup doesn’t count.)
This is part of the reason I think Novak will claim the world No.1 end. Paris is indoor hard and with Rafa’s knees as well is this why he skips a lot now?
Rafa has more Masters 1000 titles than anyone at 35 but has never won in Paris. He has only featured there six times in his career and is the only Masters which is an indoor hard event. Six appearances is his lowest by six having played Cincinnati twelve times.
Of course the tour finals is indoor hard court. Rafa still hasn’t won in London but is a two time finalist who has skipped four of the last seven finals with injury issues with a career win/loss of 16/13 at the Tour Finals.
I saw Novak live for the first time in Madrid this year and he was great to watch. He has time on his side from now until the end of the season and maybe that early exit in New York will help finish the season strong.