Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal continue to exchange the top ATP ranking spot, with Federer relinquishing it after a tough loss to young sensation Borna Coric, 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-2.
Rafael Nadal will be entering Wimbledon as the top-ranked male player again, even though Roger Federer will be seeded first. This is the downside of winning so much the previous year, you pay for it the next year if you can’t defend your titles.
Federer was able to wrestle the No. 1 ranking from Nadal just a week after the 17-time grand slam champ came off yet another phenomenal clay season, by making it to the Stuttgart Open final.
He increased his own tally of record weeks at No. 1, but two weeks into grass—and one week before Wimbledon main draw starts—he’s passed the baton back to his great rival by losing to 21-year-old Borna Coric, a phenomenon who is challenging Alexander Zverev for tennis wunderkid on the tour. In fact, he beat the German on the way to the final in Halle.
Federer’s loss to Cornic comes with several missed opportunities. There’s the world No. 1 spot, with the Swiss going back to No. 2 as of Monday.
But with the 20-time slam champ, there are a few important records that the GOAT is still trying to conquer while battling Father Time.
One is the all-time-ATP title record set by Jimmy Connors, who has 109, with the eight-time Wimbledon champ sitting 11 behind at 98. If he had won Halle, it would have been his 99th, with a possible trophy at the All England Club a magical 100th.
He is also two match wins behind Connors’ grass record of 174, although it is very likely he will soon remedy this at Wimbledon.
There is the end-of-year oldest world No. 1, currently held by Rafael Nadal.
And the final itself, where the sports legend had set point in the first tie break but allowed the Croat to reverse the momentum and push for the set by winning four points in a row.
But Roger Federer says there’s nothing to be concerned about. He is still the top contender to go for his ninth title at the grass grand slam, a potential 21st major.
“There is no need to worry regarding my fitness, I just need to rest next week,” said Federer in his press conference afterward. “[I] will probably practice in the second half of the week again, specific tennis training.”
The ATP 500 win for Borna Coric is a huge milestone in his career. Sitting just outside the Top 20—which is sure to change on Monday—at No 21, he along with Alexander Zverev are a signal that the next generation is coming and is hungry to beat the legends of the sport. The win over peer Zverev earlier in the week was the 21-year-old’s first win over a Top 10 player and Halle is his second ATP title.
Borna Coric is now one of the young guns in tennis who will challenge the old guard.