How the tennis shutdown is aiding Ash Barty and Roger Federer

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

In a move that undoubtedly helps Ash Barty and Roger Federer, tennis officials have announced that ATP and WTA rankings will be frozen until the resumption of play.

The ATP and WTA extended the suspension of their tours until June 7 on Wednesday as the coronavirus pandemic continues to shred the sporting calendar.

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With no tennis for the next three months, players had been wondering what that would mean for the rankings.

Both ATP and WTA rankings work on a points system that requires players to ‘defend’ the points they earned at events the previous year.

For example, if Barty fails to defend her French Open title in 2020 she will lose points because she won the event in 2019.

Ash Barty and Roger Federer. Image: Getty

Barty was facing a tough task to retain her 2500-point buffer as World No.1 over the next three months after she earned around 40 percent of her ranking points throughout the same stretch in 2019.

After undergoing minor keen surgery last month, Federer was facing the prospect of dropping from World No.3 to the lower half of the top 10.

But with rankings frozen he will remain at World No.4 until he returns.

The battle between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal for World No.1 stays neck-and-neck as well.

Djokovic currently holds a 370-point edge over Nadal - 10,220 points to 9,850.

However Nadal would have been asked to defend 4260 points through June 7, while Djokovic was only defending 2635.

Coronavirus scuppers claycourt season

The clay court season “will not be held as scheduled” due to the suspension, the organising bodies of the men's and women's tours said on Wednesday.

“The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to professional tennis demand greater collaboration than ever from everyone in the tennis community,” the associations said.

“We are assessing all options related to preserving and maximising the tennis calendar.”

The tours had said last week they would suspend play until late April or early May.

The tournaments affected by the tours' suspensions include combined men's and women's events in Madrid and Rome.

Also being scrapped are upcoming WTA tournaments in Strasbourg, France, and Rabat, Morocco, along with ATP events in Munich; Estoril, Portugal; Geneva; and Lyon, France.

Both tours also said that their rankings will be frozen “until further notice.”

The International Tennis Federation also put a halt to its lower-tier events until June 7.

with AAP