US Open Champion and World Number 1 Rafa Nadal with 9465 points has a comfortable lead over second ranked Roger Federer, who has 7505 points.
The two legends have won all the four Grand Slams of 2017, splitting them two each, virtually turning the clock back and making all feel its the year 2007 instead of 2017.
However, as both agree, there is unfinished business. There are still important tournaments left in the calendar year and the first of the three major ones is the Shanghai Rolex Masters.
Here is my preview and analysis of the same, giving you a historical perspective.
The Shanghai Rolex Masters is one of the nine ATP 1000 Masters tournament and the only one played in Asia. It is played on outdoor hard courts and was founded in 2009. It has been played eight times so far and the 2017 edition is the ninth
How have the big four fared here?
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have been the most successful champions here. The two former world number ones have each won here thrice. Novak won in 2012, 2013 and 2015 and the losing finalists respectively were Murray, Juan Martin Del Potro and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Murray, the defending champion who won against Bautista-Agut last year had earlier won in 2010 and 2011 by defeating Federer and Ferrer.
What about Federer and Rafa? Well, Federer has only won once here and that was in 2014 when he defeated Gilles Simon. He as mentioned earlier once lost in the final. Rafa has surprisingly not won here and he has lost in the final once, which was in the inaugural year in 2009 when Nikolay Davydenko got the better of him.
If one sees the short history of the tournament the oldest champion here has been Federer in 2014 when he was 33. At 36 and in good form, he has a chance to break his own record.
The youngest champion here was Murray in 2010 when he was 23 years old. That record has a chance to be broken by maybe Sascha or Dom Thiem. Murray is the only player to have featured in four finals here and he has also featured in the longest and shortest matches here. The longest was against Novak when he lost a three setter in 2012.
The shortest was a 6-3 6-2 demolition of Federer in 2010 itself.
The 2016 edition had seen an interesting controversy. Nick Kyrgios had been fined $17000 for throwing his match against Mischa Zverev.
Kyrgios, who is fast becoming one of the characters of the game, had even told the umpire “Can u call time so that I can go home?” He is also one of the most talented players around and his performance here will be eagerly looked forward to. So to will Zverev’s.
Overall it looks like the old firm of Rafa and Fed will dominate and one of them will win. Before the Shanghai Rolex Masters is the China Open. This tournament was upgraded to an ATP 500 in 2009. Since then Novak has won six of the eight with Berdych and Murray winning once each. Rafa has won it once way back in 2005.
The China Open with Rafa as Top seed, Zverev as second seed and Dimitrov as third seed will be looked forward to as well. Latest news is that DelPotro has got a wild card for the tournament and he will surely be a threat to all.
A win at the China Open by Rafa will make him firm favourite to lift the Shanghai Rolex Masters for the first time and cement his already huge lead as Number one in ATP Rankings.
Looking forward for two great tournaments, both for the China open and the Shanghai Rolex Masters. Let the best man win.
By Ritesh Misra, 30 Sep 2017 Ritesh Misra is a Roar Guru