Wimbledon 2017 will start in early July and due to a huge potential swing in ranking points involving the World No. 1 and the World No. 2 players, the top ranking is on the line. Rafael Nadal, who won the tournament in both 2008 and 2010, will enter this year's contest as the World No. 2. However, should he win the title at Wimbledon he would become the top-ranked player.

There are two minor tournaments to be played before Wimbledon. Those will take place in Eastbourne, Great Britain and Antalya, Turkey. However, Nadal and Murray are not in either field. Accordingly, tennis fans can start to look at Wimbledon's ranking implications without factoring in other tournaments beforehand when it comes to looking at Nadal's and Murray's battle for the top spot.

Murray's lead looks big, but it isn't

Murray, who Roger Federer recently claimed has been injured in 2017, will enter Wimbledon 2017 with about a 2100-point lead over Nadal. However, Murray also won Wimbledon in 2016, meaning that he has 2000 ranking points to defend at the All England Club this season. Nadal, conversely, did not contest last year's draw, meaning that he can only gain ranking points. Ranking implications can be tricky because you have to think about what one player can gain versus what another can lose. With that in mind here are some scenarios in which Nadal could rank higher than Murray after Wimbledon.

  • If Nadal win the title he would get to No. 1, even if Murray finished as the runner-up
  • If Nadal makes the fourth round and Murray loses in the first round, then Nadal would rank higher than Murray (but there are other players in the mix for top spot)

Wawrinka, Djokovic could get to No.1

It has to be pointed out that there are other players in the mix.

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Stan Wawrinka could actually get to the No. 1 ranking as well at Wimbledon. The same could be said of Novak Djokovic, although Wawrinka and Djokovic are not strong candidates for the top spot at this point.

In regard to the first bullet, Nadal winning the title would see him gain 2000 ranking points. That right there would eat up almost all of Murray's lead on top of the ATP rankings. Of course, if Nadal wins, then simple logic dictates that Murray would not defend his title. A runner-up at Wimbledon gets 1200 ranking points, meaning that Murray would turn a net loss of at least 800 points. Nadal gaining 2000 ranking points while Murray loses 800 would mean that the Spaniard would gain a net total of 2800 on Murray. That would be enough to see Nadal regain the top spot.

In regard to the second bullet, if Murray loses in the first round then he would only gain 10 ranking points for a net loss of 1990. If Nadal makes the fourth round then he would gain 180 ranking points. Murray losing 1990 points and Nadal gaining 180 would see a net gain for Nadal of 2170 points.

That would be enough to see Murray drop down in the rankings and Nadal ascend.

There are other scenarios, so many that they can't all be examined without going into them at great length. However, if Nadal is to gain the top ranking then he needs to make at least the fourth round and then hope that the other results go his way. The Spaniard is guaranteed the top spot with a title, but there are plenty of other scenarios that would allow him to gain the top spot as well. The matter is complicated, especially because Wawrinka and Djokovic are in the mix.

From Murray's point of view, he could maintain the top spot with a title. Even if Nadal finished as the runner-up, Murray defending 2000 ranking points would make him impossible to catch. In that scenario, Nadal would have to target the hard court events over the summer to catch Murray.