In an absolute stunner Novak Djokovic lost today in Dubai as a -2500 favorite to Jiri Vesely in straight sets. Not exactly a result everyone saw coming although Vesely is now an odd 2-0 versus Novak in his career. The loss confirms that Russia's Daniil Medvedev will jump to the world no.1 ranking on Monday morning. It's the first time someone not in the big four of Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, and Murray will be the top ranked player in the world since 2004 when Andy Roddick sat on the throne.
This turn of the tide really started at the beginning of last year and hit a high point at the US Open when Medvedev took down Djokovic in straight sets to win his first slam. That was the "woah" moment when everyone recognized there was a legitimate changing of the guard coming. Now it's official.
After losing in Dubai there's a genuine wonder what is next for Novak. Non-US citizens must be fully vaccinated to travel to the United States, according to the US Department of State. Well that ain't happening for him, which means he'll be missing two big tournaments coming up in Indian Wells and Miami. What's going to happen with Wimbledon and the French Open? Honestly who knows what the rules will be when that time comes. I honestly wonder if being number 1 even matters to him at this point? He broke Federer's record for most consecutive weeks holding the position so the incentive isn't exactly there anymore. The slam title should be the only thing he's chasing at this point in his career. I personally want to see him out there battling with Nadal. At the end of the day you want the best of the best playing in those major events no question about it. It would be awesome to see him go toe to toe with Rafa at Roland Garros in May.
On another note, what a fucking run for Medvedev over the last few years. Just a smidge over a decade ago he was posting on his Facebook status about how happy he was to win $150 in a futures event. Now he's the best player in the sport.
Medvedev is an awesome talent with an honest and funny personality. If he was American and at the top of the sport like he is right now I honestly think he'd be a house hold name. Good on him for getting to the top, I hope he stays there for a bit.