(Reuters) – Russian world number eight Andrey Rublev has joined U.S. Open runner-up Alexander Zverev in criticising ATP Tour’s current rankings system during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the revised rules do not fairly reward performance.
Zverev, ranked seventh, said it was “absurd” he remained behind Roger Federer under the system having won two titles and finishing runner-up at a Grand Slam and a Masters 1000, given that the Swiss was out injured for over a year.
Rublev has won 16 of his 18 matches in 2021 and extended his winning streak at ATP 500-level tournaments to 21 on Tuesday after defeating Finnish qualifier Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4 6-4 in his Dubai opener.
“If we would have the normal system, I would be like No.4 in the world I think,” Rublev told reporters when asked about Zverev’s comments. “So what do you think is better for me, to be No.8 or No.4?”
The 23-year-old Russian has won his last four ATP 500 events, dating back to Hamburg last September, and only Federer has a longer winning streak at the level with 28 victories.
The ATP, which runs the men’s tour, froze the rankings last year during the five-month shutdown of professional tournaments, with countries imposing lockdowns and sealing borders to check the spread of the coronavirus.
When the tour restarted in August a revised system was put in place for calculating the rankings, which determine a player’s ability to enter events and receive seedings.
The revised system for calculating rankings was this month extended until the week of Aug. 9 and the ATP anticipates that the traditional process with points dropping off on a 52-week basis will restart after that.
“With the system that we’re having now, for me, it’s much tougher to be No.4, so here is the answer,” Rublev said.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Gareth Jones)