Novak Djokovic's fall in the rankings is starting to set precedents that have not been set for years for the former World No. 1. The Serb, according to the July 31st, 2017 rankings for ATP tennis, is now the 5th-ranked player in the world. You actually have to go all the way back to 2007 to find a time when he was ranked so low. Before today, Djokovic was the longest-serving player with an active streak in the ATP's top four. All of Andy Murray, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal had fallen out of the top four in recent seasons.

It was the June 25th, 2007 rankings when Djokovic last found himself outside of the top four.

Those rankings would have carried for one week into early July of that year. At that point in his career, Djokovic was just 20 years old. He was also about 7 months ahead of winning his first Grand Slam title at the 2008 Australian Open, an event he won through Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final. On that date in tennis history, the Serb found himself looking up at Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, and Nikolay Davydenko. Djokovic looks up at two of those players again while Roddick and Davydenko have long since retired.

Will get worse before it gets better

Djokovic announced that his 2017 ATP season was over earlier this month, thanks to an elbow injury. That is a big reason why he is currently dropping in the rankings.

But specifically, the factor that caused his ranking to drop on Monday was that the drop date for the ranking points associated with winning the 2016 Rogers Cup in Toronto arrived. Djokovic had won the tournament last season and so he lost the 1000 points associated with the 2016 title today.

Djokovic will still lose ranking points for four other tournaments before the start of the 2018 season.

Those tournaments, in order of drop date, are the 2016 Us Open, the 2016 Shanghai Masters, the 2016 Paris Masters, and the 2016 ATP World Tour Finals. In those events combined Djokovic will lose 2740 ranking points for finishes last year in the semifinals and finals. He projects to fall outside of the top ten on tour before being expected to stage a comeback in 2018.

On that matter, the 2018 Australian Open will be a big tournament for this player. Djokovic, who has won the Aussie numerous times, was last ranked outside of the top ten in March of 2007.

ATP's current top five

The player that supplanted Djokovic in the rankings was Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka. He now has roughly 450 more ranking points than the Serb, in part due to the Swiss' victory over Djokovic in the 2016 US Open final. The current top five in men's tennis is as follows:

  • Andy Murray at No. 1
  • Nadal at No. 2
  • Federer at No. 3
  • Wawrinka at No. 4
  • Djokovic at No. 5